The bath towel v the bathrobe
It was a terrible year for famous men and bathrobes, but a great year for women and towels. Bathwear – or bath-leisure as one magazine called it – became a gendered battleground. With Rihanna in an Emilio Pucci head-towel on Paris Vogue’s cover and Rita Ora in Palomo Spain bathwear at the MTV Europe Music awards, women and towels tipped it away from the alleged bathrobed misdeeds of Harvey Weinstein, Dustin Hoffman and others.
A Doncaster fencing company
When the Heras T-shirt, designed and sold by London bootleg streetwear company Sports Banger, appeared online, it took a fair amount of Googling to reveal that it was the logo of a Doncaster-based company that makes the temporary fences seen at festivals. Sports Banger’s Jon Wright designed it because he was feeling nostalgic for his youth.
Ugly, expensive trainers
It is testament to the creativity of fashion that, in 2017, few could resist the expensive, ugly trainer. The best – and ugliest – were the Balenciaga Triple S trainers. Their appeal proved that fashion likes irony; by wearing them, you got the joke. Plus, in a sickly economy, there’s a certain visual diplomacy that comes with wearing a pair of £595 trainers that look cheap and crap.
Theresa May’s necklace
Our PM took her look in a new direction, with the almost permanent appearance of her “strong and stable necklace”. Essentially a massive silver chain designed to offset a boring outfit, it appeared whenever she was due to discuss the EU, quickly becoming as stale as the catchphrase.
Ivanka Trump’s mismatched earrings
Ivanka’s attempt to reclaim feminism hit a low point when she wore mismatched Marni earrings to a state dinner. This could have been stellar optics, were the fashion industry her target rather than the world. The result was simply to prove that she had read Vogue closely enough to heed its advice on how to wear earrings, but not closely enough to read its unanimously negative coverage of her father’s politics.
If Jeremy Corbyn’s silver shell suit caused hysteria in 2016, there was little hope that the fashions of 2017 could resist him. And so it proved as he ended up as the face of the British bootleg industry, appearing on all sorts of DIY T-shirts. The best was probably the Corbyn Nike one (now in the V&A), a mashup that replaced the “Just do it” slogan with the Labour leader’s name. And also worked as a pun on “Corbynite/Nike”. Sort of. Not.
A £145 paperclip
Prada usually takes a backseat when it comes to self-referential irony. This year, its £145 paperclip changed all that. It was a money-clip that looked like a paperclip. Pointless, weird and geared towards the 1%, it was also symptomatic of fashion finding joy, and profit, in the mundane. As we career towards a cashless economy, a money clip will become positively nostalgic.
Melania Trump’s wardrobe for the inauguration provided rich pickings for critics. But few pieces raised eyebrows like the Manolo Blahniks she wore to board the plane for Texas following Hurricane Harvey. The look came to symbolise the disconnect between the first lady and the rest of the world. By the time the plane landed, she was in trainers, but by then it was too late.
Steve Bannon’s triple-shirting
Breitbart may have its own fashion critic, but it was Bannon’s millefeuille of shirts (usually three, accordingsaid his spokesperson) that taught us most about far-right style. Theories abounded over the former White House strategist’s look: were they the layers of his nationalist ideology, his winter beach house look, or a cry for help? In the end, it turned out, no one cared.
The year’s biggest curveball came in the form of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign logo, which appeared on Balenciaga’s scarves and padded coats. The Vermont senator wasn’t keen, describing the collection as looking “very ‘wealthiest one-10th of the 1% to me’,” but no matter. Sanders keeping you warm in the impending nuclear winter is an enticing prospect.
The Love Island water bottle
In the fight against plastic pollution, it is satisfying to think that newly minted ecowarrior Michael Gove will cite Love Island as his ecospiration. Thanks to the show, luxe water bottles (chiefly, S’well bottles – affordable and slick) have gone from stealth symbols of wellness to environmental must-haves.
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