Month: December 2020

2020: The year that changed fashion – and not just the look

By Jess Cartner-Morley

Coronavirus may have led to fundamental shifts after exposing industry’s outdated business models

Store closures, grounded flights, shuttered factories, employment insecurity. The first half of 2020 was, as Jean-Jacques Guiony of the world’s largest luxury brands conglomerate LVMH, said, “a perfectly negative alignment of planets” for the fashion industry. The cancellation of events, weddings and parties in every market created an economic, logistical and cultural worst-case scenario for fashion.

Even a strong bounce back in China in the second half of the year has not come close to helping the balance sheet. A recent report by the Business of Fashion website and the management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company marks 2020 as the worst year on record for the fashion industry, forecasting a 90% decline in profits and a 15-30% fall in sales, compared with 2019.

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LBD out, kitchen disco in: NYE 2020's pandemic party trend

By Jess Cartner-Morley

This year, cocktail frocks and heels are out in favour of fancy pyjamas, velvet slippers and sparkly knits

In any normal year the festive season is the dressiest period of the calendar. But in a party season with no parties, what becomes of the party dress?

With festivities curtailed by coronavirus restrictions and many families choosing not to risk gathering, and with bars and restaurants closed in many areas, this year’s new year celebrations will be small-scale and home-based. As a result, the LBD has been replaced by a new dress code: kitchen disco dressing. Cocktail frocks, tailoring and heels are out and fancy pyjamas, velvet slippers and sparkly knitwear are in.

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From Naomi Campbell's hazmat suit to a floating catwalk: a distractingly difficult 2020 fashion quiz

By Jo Jones, Helen Seamons & Peter Bevan

From Beyonce’s many catsuits to the supermodel scion who walked in her first digital show, test your fashion nerd knowledge of this very strange year

Which designer spent lockdown at the Mercer Hotel in New York?

Marc Jacobs

Michael Kors

Ralph Lauren

Telfar Clemens

Donna Karan

Who was the first man to appear solo on the cover of American Vogue in December 2020?

Louis Tomlinson

Kerby Jean Raymond

Harry Styles

Timothee Chalamet

Kanye West

Which designer brand took to the Seine on a boat to show their haute couture collection in July?

Saint Laurent





Which Netflix series had its red carpet premiere at home?

Emily in Paris

The Crown

The Queen’s Gambit

Schitt’s Creek


Which brand are these two designers connected to?



Gabriela Hearst



What is one of the stars of the V&A’s latest blockbuster exhibition?

Naomi Campbell’s hazmat suit

Margaret Thatcher’s handbag

Bjork’s kimono

Floral trousers worn by Harry Styles in the video for Golden

Julia Roberts’s boots from Pretty Woman

Who designed this look for Beyonce’s Black Is King?




Marine Serre


Whose daughter made her catwalk debut in the spring/summer 21 Miu Miu show?

Kate Moss

Yolanda Hadid

Kris Jenner

Cindy Crawford


Which trend swept the nation in 2020?






Which famous star and their family starred in the AW20 Coach campaign?

Victoria Beckham


Kim Kardashian

Mariah Carey

Meghan Markle

Which brands announced a new creative director this year?

Givenchy, Chloe, Prada

Givenchy, Chloe, Valentino

Givenchy, Prada, Burberry

Givenchy, Prada, Chanel

Givenchy, Prada, Louis Vuitton

Tyler Mitchell photographed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the cover of which magazine this year?

US Vogue

British Vogue


Vanity Fair


11 and above.

Good effort. You can give Schitt’s Creek’s Moira a run for her money

8 and above.

Not bad. You can recite the ‘love it, couldn’t wear it’ meme

9 and above.

Not bad. You can recite the ‘love it, couldn’t wear it’ meme

6 and above.

Meh. You don’t know your cords from your co-ords

5 and above.

Meh. You don’t know your cords from your co-ords

1 and above.

Bad luck. You think Skims is an online banking scam

3 and above.

Bad luck. You think Skims is an online banking scam

2 and above.

Bad luck. You think Skims is an online banking scam

12 and above.

100%. Forget Princess Diana, a new fashion queen is crowned

10 and above.

Good effort. You can give Schitt’s Creek’s Moira a run for her money

7 and above.

Not bad. You can recite the ‘love it, couldn’t wear it’ meme

4 and above.

Meh. You don’t know your cords from your co-ords

0 and above.

Bad luck. You think Skims is an online banking scam

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Pierre Cardin – a life in pictures

By Matt Fidler

The fashion designer was born in Italy in 1922 but emigrated to France as a small child. He revolutionised fashion starting in the 1950s and becoming famous with his space-age design in the 1960s, before becoming a household name and a pioneer of fashion licensing

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Pierre Cardin helped define modernity in the 1960s and beyond

By Jess Cartner-Morley

Fashion designer will forever be associated with the decade that embraced his space-age aesthetic

The Beatles smiling for an early group portrait in 1963, their pixie handsomeness perfectly framed by four snappy collarless jackets. US first lady, Jackie Kennedy, unimpeachably elegant in a boxy scarlet wool day-suit on a visit to Canada in 1962. Marisa Berenson in a groovy sunset-hued kaftan, gazing through matchstick lashes at the lens of Irving Penn for a 1967 cover of Vogue.

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French designer Pierre Cardin dies aged 98

By Associated Press in Paris

Cardin, who upended fashion styles in 1960s and 1970s with futuristic looks, dies in hospital near Paris

Pierre Cardin, the French designer whose famous name embossed myriad consumer products after his Space Age styles shot him into the fashion stratosphere in the 1960s, has died aged 98.

A licensing maverick, Cardin’s name embossed thousands of products from wristwatches to bed sheets, and in the brand’s heyday in the 1970s and 80s, goods bearing his fancy cursive signature were sold at 100,000 outlets worldwide.

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Could the Covid pandemic make fashion more sustainable?

By Hannah Marriott

From advances in carbon-sequestering sequins to a boom in second-hand shopping, there have been chinks of light in 2020, despite the grim big picture

Even the most ardent fan of elasticated waistbands would have to concede that 2020 has been an ugly year for fast fashion. The industry’s environmental issues are well known. It emits more carbon emissions than all international flight and maritime shipping combined, according to UNEP, the UN Environment Programme. The UK alone sends an estimated £140m worth, or 350,000 tonnes, of used clothing to landfill. And 2020 highlighted the human cost of over-production, with grim reports from Pakistani factories supplying clothes to Boohoo topping off a year in which garment workers in Bangladesh, Cambodia and Vietnam were among the first to pay the price of the pandemic as western companies refused to pay for orders.

But there has been good news too, even within the limitations of this strange, sad year – sometimes because of them. Here are five promising developments – from mindset shifts to disruptive technology – which could help us emerge from this wearing something we can feel good about.

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Beyond the silk pyjamas: the style of Noël Coward

By Michael Billington

A new exhibition is devoted to the visual flair of a debonair playwright whose tastes are almost impossible to define

Noël Coward was the epitome of style. Fittingly that is the subject of a major exhibition opening at London’s Guildhall Art Gallery, containing costumes, set designs, paintings and production photos. Brad Rosenstein, its curator, says Coward is “especially celebrated for his verbal wit” but that the exhibition “will remind us that his original productions were also visual feasts for their audiences”.

That sounds tempting – but it raises several questions. What, actually, do we mean by style? And how has it changed over the years? In Coward’s case, style consisted of the effortless projection of a unique personality. You see that clearly on an album cover of a 1955 LP, Noël Coward at Las Vegas, where he stands in the Nevada desert immaculately clad in dark suit and suede shoes while clutching a cup of tea. I only saw Coward once in the flesh and that was at the first night of a compilation show, Cowardy Custard, at the Mermaid theatre in London in 1972. Although visibly aged, he seemed immensely debonair. But my chief memory is of how John Moffatt dried in the middle of a Coward song. With superb insouciance, Moffatt simply asked the conductor to go back to the beginning of the number. That’s what I call style.

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The fashion quiz of the year: from tie dye to Anna Wintour, put your style credentials to the test

By Priya Elan

Have you been watching fashion closely this year? Find out how much you really know

In January, at the Grammys, singer Billie Eilish wore all Gucci, in black and fluorescent green. But one item she was wearing stood out. What was it?

A pair of designer Crocs

Gucci X That Zara dress

A pair of earrings that said “Vote”

A face mask

Fashion’s buzziest night, the Met Gala, was postponed “indefinitely”, but on which book had the Met team based its About Time theme?

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brené Brown

The GC: How to Be a Diva by Gemma Collins

After 50 years, Jean Paul Gaultier held his final show. It was packed with celebrity friends, but who wasn’t there?

Yasmin Le Bon

Paris Jackson


Boy George

Tie dye was a big trend over lockdown, but which one of these natural ingredients didn’t work as a pattern helper?

Red cabbage




The fashion book of the year was André Leon Talley’s The Chiffon Trenches. Which of these quotes are not from that tome?

Anna Wintour “was never really passionate about clothes. Power was her passion.”

On Madonna: “She smiled warmly when she introduced herself and said, ‘Hi, I’m Madonna, you want a blow job?”

On Karl Lagerfeld’s carbs habit: “He would chew the bread, savoring every bite, and then spit it out into a napkin.”

“We nicknamed Grace Coddington ‘Mush’, after her habit of crushing Coke cans after she drank them.”

Speaking of Ms Wintour, the world got very excited in April when she debuted what on Instagram?

Cottagecore ringlets

A Black Lives Matter T-shirt

A chain like the one Connell in Normal People wears

A pair of tracksuit bottoms

Edward Enninful’s British Vogue had a great run of covers, but which of the following did not appear on one?

Paloma Faith hugging her nanny

Marcus Rashford and Adwoa Aboah

Key workers

Rihanna in a durag

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris became known for wearing what type of shoes on the campaign trail?

Vibram FiveFingers

Givenchy’s three-toed sandals


Flip-flops with a heel

For some of the fashion weeks, digital fashion shows replaced physical ones. Designers presented their projects in a variety of forms, but which of these wasn’t real?

Gucci’s haiku

Ahluwalia virtual exhibition

Bianca Saunders’ zine

JW Anderson’s short film

Chanel, Dior, Versace and more all featured in Emily in Paris, which had costume direction from Sex and the City’s Patricia Field. Emily in Paris became popular for its amazing dialogue, too. Which isn’t a line from the show?

“I feel like Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge”

“Paris is for cheese lovers”

“A little ‘bonjour’ goes a long way”

“C’est la va-va-voom, as they say”

10 and above.

100%! See you on the phygital frow.

7 and above.

Good! Although you could do with more time thinking about sleeve size and collar width.

0 and above.

Bad. You think Emily in Paris is a documentary series.

4 and above.

Meh. Your Zoom backdrop probably leaves a lot to be desired.

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Dress to thrill: Why fashion was the biggest star on TV this year

By Morwenna Ferrier

From street-savvy I May Destroy You to the polyester power of the Small Axe films, the costumes brought shows to life in 2020

On its hanger, the shearling coat wasn’t much to look at. It was made of “horrible, cheap offcuts”, and costume designer Phoebe de Gaye remembers buying it on sale at the “scuzzy end” of Oxford Street in 1980.

Worn by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses, it was reminiscent of the coats worn by the used car salesmen she’d observed. This, she says, lent verisimilitude to the character. “When he put it on over a Gabicci shirt – a red one with black suede pockets – it worked, but we really didn’t think more on it.”

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Mellow yellow: it’s easier to wear than you’d think

By Funmi Fetto

Give sunshine colours a whirl. Plus, an Alpha-H serum that won’t irritate, and three luxury scented candles

I owe yellow eyeshadow an apology. For years I’ve, eye-roll in tow, singled out yellow eyeshadow to symbolise duff, ridiculous bits of makeup that beauty people try to sell as “wearable”. This look (Richard Quinn AW20) debunks my theory and is easily achieved. Use a wash of watercolour pink over the lids, cheeks and lips; draw on a winged eye in black, and line half of your lash line in bright yellow. Although I don’t envisage full-on yellow eyeshadow becoming a classic, this modern take proves it’s not what you wear, but how you wear it.

1. Stila Lip and Eye Paint £21,
2. YSL Couture Colour Leather Clutch £100,
3. Ruby Hammer Precision Eyeliner £18,
4. Nars Single Eyeshadow in Douro £17,
5. Illamasqua Beyond Face Blush and Highlighter Palette £45,

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Fashion trawl: what to look for online among UK Boxing Day sales

By Guardian fashion

From proper boots to a design investment, five pointers to help make the most of festive discounts online

We will socialise again, though it’s likely we’ll stay outside for the foreseeable. If you’re itching to dress up, try something colourful – and without a waistband (it just looks less weird in a field or park). Ganni is a master at combining seersucker, prints and volume, and its checked dresses were already 50% off online, at around £100 each, at Liberty and Matchesfashion. For colour, try this burnt orange dress by season-less label Rika Studios which, at 70% off, is £81. Staud’s playful princess-seam dresses are also 50% off, if you liked the TV adaptation of Bridgerton, and this pink checked shirt dress by Kitri has a touch of the Dianas about it.

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Stella Tennant obituary

By Veronica Horwell Model who rose to fame in the 1990s, capturing the attention of Karl Lagerfeld and gracing the pages of Vogue

No one in fashion could guess what would succeed the smiling, buoyant healthfulness of the international supermodels who commanded catwalks and covers in the late 1980s and early 90s. The unexpected next big things turned out to be very particularly British: bad-waif Kate Moss, and cool aristo Stella Tennant, who arrived on the pages of British Vogue in 1993. She has died suddenly, shortly after her 50th birthday.

Tennant’s appeal had been prefigured in the release that year of Sally Potter’s film of the Virginia Woolf fantasy novel Orlando, its hero/heroine (nothing so simple as androgynous) played by Tilda Swinton; pipe-cleaner thin, tall, pale, unpainted, with a body language both male and female, and an ever-unready smile. Totally Tennant.

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Barbour jacket soars in popularity after TV exposure

By Priya Elan

The jacket – a favourite of the British upper classes – has been enjoying a moment, thanks in large part to The Crown

Despite the fact it’s been a year of economic deprivation for many, one of the most ubiquitous jackets of the year has been the Barbour: a symbol of wealth, and of the British upper classes.

The canvas jacket, made famous by Steve McQueen and, in more recent years, Daniel Craig’s James Bond, has been featured in many of the hottest TV shows of the year that have been eagerly watched on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Sales of fun Christmas jumpers turn ugly

By Priya Elan

With office parties off the agenda and so many of us working from home, the seasonal sweater is facing a moment of crisis

The ugly Christmas jumper is almost as ubiquitous as bad jokes in crackers, but with many of us working from home and office parties on hold, sales of seasonal sweaters have fallen for the first time in almost a decade.

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