A look at the trends and people that made up 2012

It wasn’t the best of times. It wasn’t the worst of times. With 2012 flowing into 2013, there will be carry-overs, leftovers and makeovers. In fashion, it’s been a year of musical chairs, of trends that came in from last year, those that will make it to the next.


The peplum continues to enjoy the attention it grabbed in the autumn of 2011. What first came courtesy Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Giambattista Valli and Victoria Beckham is now everywhere. Indian designers, too, have taken to it with much enthusiasm.

Trend-setter Miuccia Prada set another trend, this time with the Fall/ Winter 2012 show in Milan in February this year. Purple became the code to adopt, and soon everyone from Christopher Kane to Roberto Cavalli went with it. The year’s hottest colour.

Big was better than better when it came to outerwear, read Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, DKNY, Vivienne Westwood, Pringle of Scotland, Phillip Lim, Diane von Furstenberg, and brocade got a new shine at Stella McCartney, Balmain, Jonathan Saunders and Osman. And with Versace and, oddly, Givenchy, ruffles are back.

Hot seats

Successors were brought in for lending new direction. After the seasons of drama that John Galliano brought to Christian Dior, Raf Simons, on immediate perception, seemed hardly the natural choice. The Haute Couture show in Paris in July was, therefore, THE moment; he walked that strange line where neither Dior nor he changed each other’s aesthetic. If there were bouquets at his last show at Jil Sander, here there were walls of flowers. The designer let in some fresh air into a stagnant label; there were the “mini gowns” in the couture show and, months later at the ready-to-wear show, the jacket dress became the silhouette to discuss.

Hedi Slimane’s ready-to-wear show for Saint Laurent - Paris was received in various ways. While there was a conspicuous back-to-basics simplicity, many felt an update would have made sense. (The pre-show invitee list chaos didn’t help.) More recently, Nicholas Ghesquiere left Balenciaga, with Alexander Wang filling the vacated spot in no time. Wang’s debut line for Balenciaga in 2013 will be the one to watch.

Star dust

Designers and muses got together at the annual gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, probably the year’s second most-watched fashion event. (The top spot being for the Academy Awards.) ‘Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations’ was this year’s exhibition theme. Who got more tongues wagging than a curvier post-baby Beyonce in sheer Givenchy was, however, a lace-clad Marc Jacobs. He’s worn a kilt often. This one put him right on top.

In a sea of ‘pretty’ gowns, Gwyneth Paltrow, in a white tailored gown and cape from Tom Ford, shone. Angelina Jolie, who seldom takes a wrong red carpet step, however, looked like something trapped in a large bat. (The much circulated one-leg-out stance helped no one’s cause.)

Jean Paul Gaultier angered Amy Winehouse’s family when he tried paying her a tribute in the couture week in Paris in July.

Back home

Indian fashion, as a semi-formal entity, is into its third decade. Abraham & Thakore completed 20 years, Suneet Varma 25. Ensemble, the multi-label store, completed 25 years too. Wendell Rodricks brought out The Green Room, the story of his journey in the industry and outside.

Manish Arora showed at the couture week in New Delhi this July after a three-year gap — it was more of a retrospective really, a fact that didn’t go down to well with a section of the Press.

Younger designers got fresh incentive. While Aneeth Arora bagged the Vogue Fashion Fund, the Woolmark Prize went to Pankaj & Nidhi.

Roberto Cavalli became the last of the big-name Italians to set foot in the country; this month the Robert Cavalli Boutique and Cavalli Caffe opened at DLF Emporio in New Delhi.

With What Not to Wear – India on TLC, Soha Ali Khan and Aki Narula became the new fashion police.

The South might emerge the market to tap into. In August Tarun Tahiliani opened a store in the posh Banjara Hills area of Hyderabad. Others are likely to follow.

On the downside, in August the industry lost Prabuddha Dasgupta, the guy who gave Indian fashion its most memorable and controversial images; news of his demise, ironically, came right during couture week.