There are things that we adored about 2013, such as everything that Beyoncé did (and wore), the high camp of the Lifetime made-for-TV epic “House of Versace,” and British fashion photographer Tim Walker’s book of senior citizen chic, “The Granny Alphabet.” But when 2013 went bad, it went terribly bad. Twerking, the narcissism of selfie culture, Kanye West as a self-proclaimed style guru, Robin Thicke trying to be sexy while dressed as Jack Skellington. It’s time to put it all into perspective. Here are the highs and lows of 2013 style.
No, we weren’t looking for the return of Hannah Montana. But we also weren’t looking for a wrecking ball striking at the foundation of good taste. The cartoonish one-piece that she wore at the MTV Video Music Awards was just the tip of the omnipresent tongue. Cyrus wore whatever she could at red-carpet events and onstage to create a buzz. We get it, Miley, and the joke is on us because you’re getting attention. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Style and substance
Kanye West has an inflated sense of his importance, comparing himself to Shakespeare, to Warhol, to espresso. But the truth is, he’s talented and provocative enough to let his work speak for itself, as “Yeezus,” his sixth solo album, once again proved. As for style, he nails that, too. Maybe he can give fiancee Kim Kardashian a makeover in 2014?
Carey Mulligan and her costumes in ‘The Great Gatsby’
No matter where she showed up, Carey Mulligan exuded charm. On the red carpet she understood glamour (don’t get me started on her smart dress for the Met Ball). But her greatest stylistic feat of the year was playing the fashionably carefree Daisy Buchanan in “The Great Gatsby.” Mulligan was the picture of fragile beauty in an incredible Prada chandelier dress. Runner up: Ginnifer Goodwin.
The Drop Crotch Pant
Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber could not abandon his drop-crotch pants in 2013, despite the ridicule continually flung his way. And similar pants even started showing up in fast fashion stores (shame on you, Zara). Here’s a tip Justin: If you look incredibly young, do not wear drop-crotch pants, because people will accuse you of wearing a diaper. Are you wearing a diaper? Please note that your competition, One Direction, wear tailored, slim fit pants. Hint, hint.
Chanel opens a flagship Boston store
After 15 years of being squeezed into a 2,000-square-foot store in a hotel lobby, Chanel opened a palatial 10,000-square-foot boutique on Newbury Street in December. For a company that puts out six seasonal lines, two haute couture lines, and a sleek and never-ending parade of shoes, purses, sunglasses, and jewelry, it’s a welcome addition.
‘Future Beauty: Avant-Garde Japanese Fashion’ at the Peabody Essex Museum
The Peabody Essex has suddenly turned into the go-to destination to see fashion retrospectives in the Boston area. “Future Beauty” was one of the most innovative, stunning, and surprisingly dark shows of 2013. Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, and Yohji Yamamoto’s stylistic perspectives are refreshing, but the show doesn’t stop at the high-end. We see Japan from the street up. You can see it through Jan. 26.
Liberace: still glittering
Go ahead and scratch your head at this one. The man passed away 25 years ago, but in 2013, his ruffle- and sequined-covered ghost floated back into pop culture thanks to the HBO film “Behind the Candelabra.” His pricey and occasionally questionable taste was also highlighted in the coffee-table book “Liberace Extravaganza.” “There’s techniques and things that are done in these costumes that are disappearing,” explains author Jan Jewett. “It’s like old artwork. It’s stunning and brilliant.”
The mystery of the disappearing peplum
Isn’t it wonderful when a horrible runway trend arrives, and then disappears as if David Blaine waved a magic wand over it? After gaining traction in 2012, the peplum was threatening to become one of the biggest trends of 2013. But wise women of the world adopted this curve-enhancing ruffle for about 15 minutes before realizing they really didn’t want their hips to look any bigger. Thank you, mysterious forces of the fashion universe, for erasing this faux pas so promptly.
Chanel resurrects Marilyn to shill perfume
It’s a decided improvement over the incoherent philosophical babbling of Brad Pitt’s Chanel adverts in 2012, but Chanel’s use of Marilyn Monroe as its spokeswoman for 2013 (she once said that Chanel No. 5 is the only thing that she wears to bed) feels a tad exploitative. Would Marilyn have signed on? Unfortunately, she never had the opportunity to decide.
Riding boots with skinny jeans/riding boots with leggings
They were the Ugg boots of 2013. Suddenly, every woman under the age of 40 was wearing knee-high boots with their jeans or leggings tucked inside. Ladies, the advice I’m about to offer comes from a place of caring and compassion. First and foremost: Leggings are not pants and should not be worn as such. Second: Unless you are planning a day of equine activities, leave the riding boots at home. Hear that, Gisele?
The costumes of “American Hustle;” laser-cut geometric shapes on white dresses; the explosion of leather and denim; the documentary “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel”; the movement to get more models of color on the runway.
The very messy opening party of Restoration Hardware; the movie “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s”; the wedge sneaker; the cowl neck; the waterfall sweater; the bad graphic sweatshirt.
Boston Fashion Week loses its Tent
Credit Boston Fashion Week founder Jay Calderin for coming up with creative alternatives to help the city’s fashion followers find new ways to see work by local designers, but without a central location, Boston Fashion Week flopped around the city and into random hotel lobbies, restaurants, and clubs. The Tent, which had been located in the courtyard behind the Prudential Center, helped give the week an anchor. But without sponsorship, it disappeared, as did an opportunity for a city with an exciting new breed of designers to enjoy a week of glitz.
The crop top that won’t go away
Note to fashion designers everywhere: Please stop making these. Right: actress Kristin Cavallari.
Red carpet recall
It’s not often that I have the luxury to go back and reevaluate my red-carpet choices after frantically trying to pick the best and worst frocks as award shows are under way. I’m going to remedy that right now. In hindsight, here are my favorite and least favorite red carpet looks of 2013.
BEST, GOLDEN GLOBES:
Anne Hathaway in Chanel
Claire Danes in Versace
Julianne Moore in Tom Ford
WORST, GOLDEN GLOBES:
Jessica Chastain in Calvin Klein
Halle Berry in Versace
Lucy Liu in Carolina Herrera
Jennifer Lawrence in Christian Dior Couture
Kerry Washington in Miu Miu
Sandra Bullock in Ellie Saab
Jennifer Aniston in Valentino
Kristen Stewart in Reem Acra
Helena Bonham Carter in Vivienne Westwood