Saturday 24 August 2019

2016: Celebs at the height of fashion

Vicki Notaro reflects on the show-stopping looks, beauty crazes and defining trends that broke the mould over the past 12 months

Bella and Gigi Hadid
Bella and Gigi Hadid
Best stage look: Beyonce
Singer Lady Gaga
Actor Rami Malek
Rihanna
Model Bella Hadid
Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid
Michelle Obama
Blake Lively
Hillary Clinton
Michelle Obama
Saoirse Ronan
Kim Kardashian

Vicki Notaro

There are some years in fashion best forgotten (approximately 1999-2002), but 2016 has been a standout year for style and beauty. We worked athleisure into our work outfits, adopted the best of the 90s and the 70s by embracing furry loafers and chokers, and returned to power dressing without the shoulder pads.

It's only with hindsight that we truly see the sartorial power of any era, but the latter half of the Teenies got off to an interesting start. This year, we had unisex catwalk shows at Gucci and increasingly blurred gender boundaries in the fashion world, while older models dominated the high-end advertising campaigns. There was a return to bold animal prints in our every day wardrobes and it even became acceptable to wear our pyjamas to business meetings - albeit fancy, matching ones.

In 2016, Gigi Hadid became model of the year, just as Cara Delevingne was departing the catwalks, while British Prime Minister Theresa May emerged as an unlikely style icon thanks to her fondness for thigh-high boots and shiny trousers.

Plus-sized models became just as popular as slender ones for the first time in history and big bums got even hotter. Cut-outs and sheer fabrics dominated, everyone raved about lip liner (and even lip filler) and the contouring trend gave way to 'strobing', the art of highlighting cheekbones so they could be seen in space.

Kenzo's collaboration with H&M saw the high street go avant garde, while singer Rihanna's line for Puma flew off the shelves. Comfort and style finally collided, with those who can't wear six-inch heels rejoicing at the sight of high-fashion runners and sweatshirts in the best-dressed columns.

And as far as clothing clangers go, there have been several. Who could forget Tom Hiddleston's T-shirt, the one he wore on July 4 to declare his love for (now ex) girlfriend Taylor Swift? Or Madonna's butt-cheek and boob-bearing lace monstrosity at the Met Gala? Sometimes the worst looks of the year are the ones that live on in our memory, like Bjork's swan gown or Cheryl Cole's purple trousers.

Perhaps the biggest trend of the year though, was the re-emergence of the shoulder in womenswear. Everywhere you looked, Brigitte Bardot-esque off-the-shoulder tops and dresses dominated. If your shoulders weren't cold in 2016, then you simply weren't in vogue.

What we wore on the streets is one thing though - the true measure of a year's worth is the looks celebrities rocked on red carpets and on stage. With that in mind, turn over for a round-up of the most stand-out celebrity outfits of the year.

BEST EXPORT

Saoirse Ronan

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Saoirse Ronan
 

She was our greatest hope last awards season, a baton now passed on to Golden Globe nominee Ruth Negga, and while our Sersh did us proud on every red carpet, it was her Oscars look that really wowed. She looked every inch the superstar in a dazzling green sequinned gown by Calvin Klein Collection. The colour was perfect with her alabaster skin and her pared-back styling was chic and grown-up - spot on.

BEST EVENING WEAR

Michelle Obama

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Michelle Obama
 

She'll be sorely missed in 2017, not only in the White House, but in the fashion world. FLOTUS has rocked some incredible looks over the past eight years in the spotlight, but the rose gold Versace she wore for the Italian State Dinner in the autumn topped them all. She champions up and comers, knows how to dress her body, and always looks like the lady she is. Sob.

SEXIEST STYLE

Kim Kardashian

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Kim Kardashian
 

She's had her fair share of fashion disasters and body shamers, and a tumultuous year in her personal life, but it's definitely fair to say that 2016 was the year that Kim brought sexy back with a vengeance. Slimmed down after giving birth to son Saint last December, Kardashian worked hard for that bod and was going to show it off no matter what. She became very fond of sheer fabrics and short hemlines, exemplified by her vintage Galliano VMAs dress.

BEST RED CARPET DRAMA

Bella Hadid

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Model Bella Hadid
 

If you didn't know who model Bella was before her appearance on the red carpet at La Croisette in Cannes, you sure did afterwards. Her jaw-droppingly revealing Alexandre Vauthier dress seemingly defied gravity and showed off as much skin as was decent, making her look like a real-life Jessica Rabbit. A fashion star was born.

BEST STAGE LOOKS

Beyoncé

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Best stage look: Beyonce
 

She dominated the charts and the gossip columns when she released 'Lemonade', but the state of her marriage wasn't all we were talking about when it came to Beyoncé. In a year when she got both personal and political, her military-esque Superbowl costume drew attention to the Black Lives Matter cause, while her 'Formation' tour wardrobe was filled with show-stopping designs by the likes of Balmain, Gucci and Roberto Cavalli.

BEST MATERNITY LOOKS

Blake Lively

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Blake Lively
 

What do you do when you're promoting your film at the Cannes film festival in your second trimester? Well, if you're Blake Lively, you don a fairytale princess gown worthy of Cinderella and show off your burgeoning bump in all its glory. This is just one of several incredible non-maternity outfits Blake worked in the South of France, but it's simply breath-taking.

BEST DRESSED BLOKE

Rami Malek

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Actor Rami Malek
 

Our very own Darren Kennedy was a contender, as were Idris Elba, Eddie Redmayne and Ryan Reynolds, but the 'Mr Robot' star came out on top. The men really stepped up their game this year, and none moreso than Rami. His classic white tuxedo at the Emmys recalled Humphrey Bogart, he brought some colour to the Met Gala in deep blue Dior, and he can even pull off a non-ironic Hawaiian print shirt. More than ever, it's a treat to see our leading men breaking the mould.

BEST STREET STYLE

Rihanna

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Model Bella Hadid
 

There are few as daring in their fashion choices as Rihanna. Over the past decade, the Bajan singer has gone from an emerging artist to a veritable style icon with the most buzzed-about wardrobe in pop. While she brings unforgettable glamour to the red carpet and on her global tour, her street style really sets her apart. Whether she's in head-to-toe Marques' Almeida denim, or Saint Laurent's giant heart-shaped fur teamed with a baseball cap, no one does it better.

BEST HOMAGE

Lady Gaga

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Singer Lady Gaga
 

If anyone was going to attempt to emulate the late, great David Bowie, it was always going to be Gaga. Her tribute at the Grammys divided critics, but from a fashion point of view, her custom Marc Jacobs look was pretty spot-on.

BEST PANTSUITS

Hillary Clinton

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Hillary Clinton
 

She may not have been victorious with the Electoral College, but Hillary can be single-handedly credited with bringing the humble trouser suit back to the forefront of fashion thanks to her campaign styling. Everyone from Beyoncé to Melania Trump has been wearing one since, and many of us will have thanked Hillary this party season when our legs were nice and toasty.

HOTTEST COUPLE

Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik

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Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid
 

They're on, they're off, they're on again, but whatever their current relationship status, these two look dang hot together.

It takes a real man to stand a step above his girl so she doesn't tower over him on the red carpet, but former One Directioner Zayn refused to fade into the background, donning a pair of metal plates by Versace for the Met Gala.

Irish Independent

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