PRINT December 2014

The Year in Fashion

Sarah Nicole Prickett

Jacky O’Shaughnessy in American Apparel’s 2014 “Meet Jacky” campaign. Photo: Marsha Brady.

RIHANNA wore a mammoth fur stole emblazoned with the four-letter word FEAR to Paris Fashion Week this past spring, and no one was confused about whether it was Rihanna or the rest of us who should be afraid. A new phase of radical invulnerability was announced. Also announced: the career of the stole’s designer, twenty-seven-year-old Hyein Seo. At the annual CFDA Fashion Awards in New York, where RiRi accepted the 2014 Fashion Icon Award, host John Waters unveiled his plan to make aging happen: “Go ahead—be daring,” said the sexagenarian director. “Draw on liver spots and wow ’em on your next red carpet.” Meanwhile, American Apparel was quietly making breath-of-fresh-air lingerie ads starring Jacky O’Shaughnessy, sixty-two, who’d been modeling for the brand since 2011, and less quietly—finally—firing CEO Dov Charney. September’s US release of the Advanced Style documentary, based on Ari Seth Cohen’s same-named blog and book, showed age alongside beauty in old New Yorkers, and Bruce LaBruce’s Gerontophilia—like a gay, sicker, and surprisingly soft Harold and Maude—got a DVD release in mid-October. At Spring 2015 Fashion Week in New York, Eckhaus Latta, the fraying-edge downtown fashion label, had several models over thirty in their best show yet, an orgiastic California dream reconstituted in cloud-white terry cloth, rust-dipped knits, and sky denim.

Remember when Britney and Justin wore quadruple denim to the 2001 American Music Awards? Thirteen years later, Katy Perry and RiFF RAFF showed up to the MTV Video Music Awards in throwback blue- jean ensembles. For a glittering second, it seemed as if, having run out of other people’s cultures to “borrow,” the likeliest unlikely duo had decided to appropriate whiteness (see also: Lana Del Rey’s life and work). Meanwhile, Karl Lagerfeld learned the word FEMINIST from Beyoncé, et voilà! His Spring/Summer 2015 ready-to-wear Chanel show had models bearing ersatz riot signs reading LADIES FIRST, HISTORY IS HER STORY, and, in a dichotomy as fake as a Chanel bag on Canal Street, MAKE FASHION NOT WAR. Given the Nazi-loving history of Chanel herself, a truer knockoff might have read BEWARE OF FASCIST FEMINISM. As the rise of facial-recognition software threatened to render “normcore”—or “dressing like one in seven billion”—obsolete and not just ridiculous, the artist Adam Harvey took his camera-blocking camouflage makeup, better known as CV Dazzle, to his very own pop-up shop at the New Museum in New York. “Like the original dazzle war paint,” explains DIS Magazine, “CV Dazzle is an unobvious style of camouflage because its eye-catching patterns and colors draw attention instead of hiding from it.” Never mind the Gap’s “Dress Normal” campaign—style is still a matter of hiding in plain sight, not in plain clothes. In fact, the year’s freshest T-shirt—designed by Vogue writer Katherine Bernard—is no label and all logo, listing in order each fashion brand, house, or designer ever to be named in a Jay Z lyric. Next, please: a Christopher Wool painting with the name of each artist or art personality who appeared in last year’s collectively embarrassing white-cube video for the rapper’s “Picasso Baby.” We won’t call it the apocalypse—yet.

Sarah Nicole Prickett is a writer living in New York.