Year in Review: 16 Fashion Stories That Had Everyone Talking in 2019

This year was filled with some truly jaw-dropping headlines in the fashion industry. There were plenty of red carpet looks and new trends to fawn over, but that was just the start. Just consider Rihanna’s quest for world domination by adding a new luxe label to her Fenty empire. From major chains filing for bankruptcy to another round of designer musical chairs, sometimes it was hard to keep track of all the changes going on. We also suffered some losses, including the passing of Karl Lagerfeld. See below the fashion stories that defined 2019.

Timothée Chalamet: Fashion Icon

The actor made a strong sartorial statement at the very beginning of the year with a custom Louis Vuitton by Virgil Abloh ensemble at the 2019 Golden Globes. An intense debate followed about whether he was sporting a vest, harness, bib or some post-modern hybrid. Regardless, his look spawned countless memes. Cut to the end of the year when he carried a tiny Eiffel Tower key chain to the Paris premiere of Little Women.

Image: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Calvin Klein Leaves the Runway

This year saw some major changes at Calvin Klein. After Raf Simons parted ways with the brand, Calvin Klein was a no-show at New York Fashion Week Fall 2019 in February. In March, the label announced it was closing its high-end designer collection business, aka Calvin Klein 205W39NYC.

Image: Imaxtree

Gigi Hadid Saves the Day

Gigi Hadid proved she’s just as good of a bodyguard as she is a model during the Chanel Spring 2020 show. French comedian and YouTuber Marie Benoliel, better known as Marie S’Infiltre, tried to blend in with the models on the runway wearing a houndstooth suit. Proper security was slow to react so the supermodel escorted the gatecrasher off the stage. Hadid earned major praise and even inspired a Halloween costume or two.

Image: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

No Offense Intended?

Burberry was called out back in February for sending a hoodie with a braided knot drawstring down its Fall 2019 runway that many branded a “noose hoodie.” The brand apologized and said it would focus on diversity initiatives. But that wasn’t the only fashion-related controversy. Gucci was put on blast for releasing a “blackface” turtleneck and Katy Perry came under fire for two “racist” shoe designs in the same month.

Image: Imaxtree

The Resurgence of Bottega Veneta

Daniel Lee breathed new life into Bottega Veneta, putting it on par with brands like Gucci and Chanel. How’d he do it? Accessories. Everyone carried the brand’s Pouch bag at fashion week. And then there were those now ubiquitous square-toe sandals. Lee capped off an amazing year by cleaning up at The Fashion Awards.

Image: Imaxtree

Lady Gaga’s Camp-tastic Met Gala Performance

Lady Gaga slayed the gala’s campy theme with not one, not two, but four outfit changes. Now that is how you make an entrance.

Image: John Shearer/Getty Images for THR

Billy Porter Rules the Red Carpet

Billy Porter solidified his status as a major fashion player with dazzling appearances at fashion week and on red carpets. From his tuxedo gown at the Oscars to that extraordinary entrance at the 2019 Met Gala where he was decked out in a bedazzled “Sun God” look by The Blonds and carried in by shirtless men.

Image: Dan MacMedan/Getty Images

Fenty Goes Luxe

No year is complete without a game-changing launch by Rihanna. This year RiRi partnered with LVMH to produce her own luxury brand, simply called Fenty. She made history as the first black woman to head a luxury label for the company. From reimagined cameos to puffer boots, the new label was constantly in the headlines.

Image: @fenty

The Meghan Markle Effect

The Markle Sparkle is real. Meghan Markle boosted many designers’ profiles and sold out outfits with almost every appearance. After all, the duchess is the reason everyone is wearing belted dresses, J.Crew and Madewell.

Image: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images

Barneys Files for Bankruptcy

Barneys filed for bankruptcy for the second time in its almost 100-year history. When the news broke in August, many people took to social media to share their feelings. After some drama, a buyer was found and promises of Barneys at Saks started. Liquidation sales began in November, but for many the 5 to 10 percent discounts just added more salt to the wound.

Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Zac Posen Shutters His Label

The fashion industry went into shock in November when Zac Posen announced he would be closing his namesake label after almost 20 years in business. The New York designer had dressed everyone from Michelle Obama to Katie Holmes to Oprah Winfrey. R.I.P.

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Is Officially Canceled

Image: Jeff Neira via Getty Images

Many saw it coming, but it became official in November when news broke that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was canceled. Not surprising given the controversy, low ratings, etc. Rihanna’s epic Savage x Fenty show during New York Fashion Week was the proverbial nail in the coffin.