2010-2020: 10 fashion moments that defined the decade

05 January 2020 | Posted by Zackary

First of all, I wish you an excellent year, hoping that this one will be the best you've had so far. May it be filled with money, alcohol and orgasms (in the order of your choice). Besides, don't bother making any good resolutions. Keep smoking, don't exercise, and dig your bank overdraft; World War III will break out faster than the ice cap.

A few days before New Year's Eve, some people thought it would be useful to offer us an Instagram compilation of their best 2019 moments. While I don't really care about my friends' vacation photos, or stories proving their complete lack of modesty after a few drinks — birds of a feather flock together? —, it is indeed time for a retrospective.

More than a new year, we are entering a new decade, marking the beginning of a new life cycle for fashion. On this occasion, we take a look at ten key events that have shaped the last ten years, from the catwalks to our wardrobe. I would have prepared an interactive timeline for you, but I'm not a graphic designer.

February 2010: Alexander McQueen will only dress angels now

Thursday, February 11, 2010, a seismic wave shakes the fashion world: Alexander McQueen has just committed suicide. Driven by a pronounced taste for transgression, halfway between obscure poetry and raw sexuality, he left his mark on the style of the 90s and 2000s. Courted by Givenchy, supported by Tom Ford, he was responsible for the popularization of (ultra)low-waisted trousers, menswear with gothic elegance, and a historical battle between LVMH and Kering. 

Five months before his death, he forever changed the concept of fashion week with his Plato Atlantis collection, the first runway show in history to be broadcast in livestream.

October 2010: follow / unfollow

(© Kylie Jenner via Instagram)

In the fall of 2010, a small application appeared on the Apple Store: Instagram.

Revealing the Narcissus that lies within each of us, turning complete strangers into gurus, it offers brands a new communication ground, and changes our relationship with consumption by the way. Ten years later, it has more than a billion active users every month.

April 2013: Rana Plaza, symbol of the excesses of fast fashion

(© Dhaka Savar via Flickr)

In Bangladesh, an eight-storey building collapses. Inside, garment factories working in disastrous conditions, for the benefit of many mass market brands: Mango, Gap, Benetton, Primark...

With a death toll of 1,138 and more than 2,000 injured (source: Libération, editor's note), the disaster has raised awareness about the true cost of a €5 T-shirt or a dress barely more expensive than a cocktail, thus strengthening the movement in favour of ethical fashion.

February 2014 : Hipster is dead, long live normcore

(© American Apparel)

Responsible for €10 beer bottles, proudly sporting a beard full of germs and a vintage bike to match his flannel shirts, the hipster is the stylistic figure of the early 2010.

Yet a single article in New York Magazine was enough to give him the coup de grâce, heralding the era of "normcore". Its principle? The basics are taken as a manifesto, like a millennial version of the anti-fashion movement...

December 2014: fashion has its detective

Lindsey Schuyler and Tony Liu, founders of Diet Prada (© Woolmark)

In a world where brands sometimes look a little too similar, one Instagram account is keeping an eye on things: Diet Prada. Initially dedicated to spotting designers steeling from their peers, it has eventually become a kind of watchdog committee, not hesitating to denounce sex scandals and racism in the industry.

October 2015: the VETEMENTS wave

VETEMENTS SS16 (© Yannis Vlamos for Indigital Images)

VETEMENTS is almost a textbook case. A group of unknown designers imagines a wardrobe at odds with the trends of the moment. Pieces strongly influenced by the style of the former USSR, unveiled in unlikely places, sold at such a high price that the chief designer himself admits he would not buy them.

Now out of breath, the phenomenon nevertheless leaves a certain legacy. With it, the West embraces Soviet-style streetwear, and an irony infused with nihilism. As for the group's leader, Demna Gvasalia, he now works for Balenciaga.

September 2016: Don’t touch my hair

Marc Jacobs SS17 (© Kevin Tachman)

New York. Marc Jacobs shows flamboyant outfits, enhanced with floral motifs, sequins and patchworks. Hair-wise, he opts for a rainbow-colored palette, styled in dreadlocks. Problem: most of the models are Caucasian. The black community protests, denouncing the purely mercantile use of his heritage, without even being included.

The designer ended up apologizing. And so, the fashion world discovered the principle of cultural appropriation.  

January 2017: the queen of collaborations

Louis Vuitton SS17 (© Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION)

In the middle of the SS17 men's fashion week, Louis Vuitton presented what would become one of its biggest successes: a line of pieces co-created with the Supreme streetwear label.

While the house was no stranger to collaboration, having already invited several artists, this was the first time it partnered with another brand — and not the least of which. The marriage between luxury and the street was officially pronounced, definitively blurring the line between the two. 

January 2018: the disgrace of the greats

(© Mario Testino)

In the wake of the Weinstein scandal, the fashion industry kept a low profile. Few testimonies were heard until the New York Times published an article incriminating star-photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino.

The "My Job Should Not Include Abuse" movement followed, with models speaking out via Instagram about the harassment they suffered. The industry finally had its "Me Too" moment.

Février 2019 : auf wiedersehen, Kaiser Karl

(© Karl Lagerfeld)

Larger than life visionary, unique, one of the best designers of all time... There is no shortage of superlatives to define Karl Lagerfeld, who passed away on February 19th. It is impossible to sum up in a few lines a sixty years long work. Chanel, of course, but also Fendi, Chloé, and the whole face of ready-to-wear.

Who knows, maybe this new decade will reveal the next great genius... •

Hugh Hefner's and Donatella Versace's love child, I am the visible half of the duo behind ZACKARIUM. Addicted to fashion and to Lucky Strike, my mission is to guide you smoothly through the jungle of brands and catwalks.

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