If we had to throw some runway collections into a time capsule to define 2013, these would be the thirteen that would make it. These collections are important to this year’s fashion identity and were integral in shaping the ideas we’re all thinking right now going into the new year. In no particular order, here are the 13 most important collections of this year.
Although the collection is for next year, this Rick show was probably the event of 2013. The American designer worked with four step teams–The Zetas, Soul Steppers, The Momentums, Washington Divas–to present a show that shook up the conventions of Paris fashion. Criticized for exploitation and praised for inclusion, the show was the controversial centerpiece in the important discussion of race, body, fashion and its current modes of presentation. Designers often criticize the limiting and exhausting fashion system and do little about it, but this year, Rick Owens forced that conversation into the forefront.
2. Dries Van Noten Spring/Summer 2013
I still think the sheer floral overlayed over plaid is the most genius thing ever. This show is prime example of the comfortable, relaxed, chill vibes that you could feel rising throughout fashion in 2013. The “grunge” influences were simply starting points for Dries’ embroidery and textiles which together made the precious look accessibly everyday. The layering, print mixing, and silhouettes were important both to the fashion conversation and to people’s wardrobes this year.
3. JW Anderson Fall/Winter 2013
If Jonathan Anderson could attribute his current successes–new Creative Director of Loewe and British Fashion Award for New Establishment Designer–to one collection, this would be it. This collection sparked an industry-wide debate on gender rules in fashion, most of which was like really tired nonsense about how frilly skirts (but they were shorts…) and tube tops are the plague of our lifetime. Anderson likes mixed messages and he ignores the sensational response to this collection to explain the clothes as experimentation within the realm of traditional fabrication. I like that better. Still, both interpretations are essential in understanding 2013 menswear.
4. Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2013
Raf Simons last Couture collection for Dior was all over the place, but that experimentation makes it one of his standout important shows. This year saw Raf take on a global heritage French brand and three new seasons of shows (Couture, Pre-Fall, and Resort). While most of his reviews have been positive, there was some worry that he was stuck in a rut. This collection introduced another change in the Dior lineup: a more diverse cast in age and ethnicity which finally reinforced his message of injecting “reality” into Dior. Hopefully that choice continues throughout his future collections. Couture Fall/Winter 2013 had questionable moments in both design and themes–it was based off of four regions of Dior customers: America, Africa, Asia, Europe–but the change was welcome and the influences were fluid in Raf’s Belgian restraint.
5. Céline Fall/Winter 2013
Phoebe Philo’s exploration into plush textures and powdery colors felt extremely right for this year’s mood. A feeling I’m sure is shared with about every other publication and brand out there. This collection was featured heavily in editorial and copied repeatedly by Zara, etc. Both phenomenons aren’t unique to this collection for the brand but we particularly like the shapes proposed here and how comfy most of the coats look. Clothes you can use as pillows, biggest trend this year.
6. Proenza Schouler Fall/Winter 2013
One of our favorite shows by Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez so far. They had Sasha Pivovarova open the show after her pregnancy hiatus and she also starred in the campaign. This is their second show after the investment of Theory’s Andrew Rosen in the brand, and the new money shows in their explorations of laser cut leather. Proenza’s collections are often recognizable for their weird mix of texture, fabric, and color (their previous SS13 collection sourced unrelated mixed prints from tumblr) but this show goes in a different direction that typifies this year’s overall pared back mood.
If any designer ruled 2013, it was Miuccia Prada. Her business thrived where others struggled, and she still found time to make fashion statements that provoked, offended, and invited us to want more. For Spring/Summer 2013, Miuccia continued her move into adulthood for Miu Miu and showed perverse evening denim and garish patent leather in typical mid-century silhouettes. Exploring the 50s age of fashion isn’t new, but it’s increasingly important in today’s conversation and Miuccia does it with a sinister approach. The advertising campaign by Inez and Vinoodh was one of the best of the season, with its various sets and relaxed mood. Overall, this was a memorable collection that we’re still thinking about.
8. Narciso Rodriguez Spring/Summer 2013
This collection catapulted Narciso Rodrgiuez into the main fashion conversation this year. He consistently turns out great collections that are uniquely his brand of easy, restrained, comfortable clothing but there was something about the confidence of these languid, bias cut dresses and slouchy suits that really spoke to like the depths of my heart. This collection’s vibe was totally important this year in the sleek lines and stark color palette–largely black and white with pops of tangerine, coral, fuchsia, and teal. A lot of American fashion relies on athleticism or minimalism and becomes blandly forgettable, this collection manages to be both without any of the obvious tropes.
9. Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2013
The 1960s graphic bold stripes of Marc Jacobs’ SS13 (and his checkered show at Louis Vuitton) collection were unavoidable. But we want to talk about the re-introduction of the low hip, importance of the black and white outfit, and midriff. In fashion, nothing’s really new and a lot of what Marc did was derivative of stuff from seasons past, but it was so startlingly in contrast from what we’d seen directly prior that it embodies the fashion system’s easy acceptance of “newness.” Really cute anyways, like love it.
10. Christopher Kane Spring/Summer 2013
This year, Kering bought a majority stake in Christopher Kane which resulted in his monumental collections for Fall/Winter 2013 and Spring/Summer 2014, but we want to go back right before this announcement to his SS13 show. The rubber bows, electrical tape, and nuts + bolts were some of his funnest explorations in embellishment in a collection inspired by Frankenstein. Kane’s destruction of the saccharine pink suits and frilly white dresses brings to mind the importance of the “punk” throughout this year. The Met’s exhibition and Versace’s “Vunk” were standouts in that movement, and this collection was right there with them.
11. Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2013
Hedi Slimane pissed fashion off every single time he did anything in 2013 and this “grunge collection” was one of his top moments. It changed everyone’s life. Mostly, everyone freaked out that Saint Laurent was showing “Topshop Forever 21 clothes.” California Grunge. Basically, any plaid and floral collection is important to my life so like I wasn’t so offended. The collection created a weird mutual influence with the discount bin and the looks from both men and women’s were all over the place editorially and commercially. I think the sloppy sweaters, plaid shirts, and floral dresses are so relevant to my life and like every pre-teen getting into the grunge section at Forever 21. Suck it.
12. Kenzo Fall/Winter 2013
Instagram fashion. The graphic logo sweatshirt is a mainstay of Kenzo’s brand and their bold graphic prints on everything from trousers to collared shirts to varsity jackets was really important in 2013’s fashion message. Their Fall/Winter 2013 menswear show at Pitti Immagine in Florence was like the height of their menswear moments, and really cemented their influence from a commercial standpoint. You probably wearin’ a Kenzo sweater roight now.
13. Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2013
Not a favorite collection, and we’re probably more inclined to be thinking about Nicolas Ghesquière’s last collection for the brand when we’re thinking about anything, but Alexander Wang’s debut at Balenciaga emphasizes the current fashion disconnection more than any other show. It’s not horrible or anything, like actually it’s kinda cute (would wear), but you can just feel the funky vibes in the seams of these clothes. All of the weird designers moving houses and watered down explorations into ideas that happen because of that tiring system intersect at this collection. Hopefully the new year will bring a more optimistic attitude about fashion, we’re betting it will.