IT was a year of statement-making runways, uplifting campaigns, and a few exciting firsts in the fashion industry. As 2017 comes to an end, we take a look back at the moments that really shook up the industry.

NEELOFA’S FASHION SPIN
It was April and the award season kicked off with Anugerah Meletop Era where Neelofa was the only female host alongside renowned comedians, Nabil and Johan. She dazzled everyone with an unconventional combo of tulle skirt, statement logo tee and embellished sleeves.

Literally, not the usual ensemble for hosting a grand awards show but she put a spin towards what’s trendy and applied it modestly. Everyone either went ga-ga or hated it, but shortly after the iconic look, we saw the phenomena of hijabi rocking statement tees everywhere, and many brands followed suit with their own version of statement tees.

To quote the designer of that most crazed look, Fizi Woo, “We have to think globally, what is the impact to the industry? We can’t always play safe in terms of fashion and always have to go all out for her!”


Neelofa doing it her way.

REVIVAL OF TOM ABANG SAUFI
I was at the Zalora Raya 2017 fashion show, and as soon as Tom Abang Saufi’s collection went on the runway, everyone was in awe, some of them even applauded certain looks. Everyone seemed excited and in love with the remarkable pieces.

They should be, I was! Because the last time we witnessed Tom’s collection was in 2014! Designed with a fuse of ethnic motifs in bold colour combinations, the dynamic styles ranged from flowy kaftan pieces to kimono sleeve wrap tops something that Camelia would wear throughout Raya.


The return of Tom Abang Saufi.

THE SUPERS AT VERSACE
Versace’s Spring 2018 show paid tribute to the fashion house’s late founder, Gianni Versace, 20 years after his tragic death. Along with a collection that brought back Gianni’s most iconic designs, pulled directly from the house’s archives, Versace showed replicas of pieces and prints from its early days (while some models wore the exact pieces from way back then).

The special show reunited the original ‘90s supermodels on the runway. Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer, Carla Bruni, and Helena Christensen all walked hand-in-hand beside Donatella for an epic finale, wearing glittering gold lame gowns reminiscent of that seminal moment when they lip-synced to George Michael’s Freedom! 90 as they walked the runway at the brand’s Fall/Winter 1991 collection.


The OGs at Versace.

ELLA STUNNED AT THE 2017 SEA GAMES
When the rock legend appeared on stage during the Sea Games closing ceremony, the whole stadium cheered and sang along throughout her rendition of Standing In The Eyes. It was one of those iconic throwback moments when she relived the joyous atmosphere of the 1998 Commonwealth Games.

Ella, who’s always in a classic rock look, stunned everyone with her fresh new take with a breathtaking ensemble designed by Blancheur. She’s proof that at 51, one can still rock latex and gold fingerless gloves. With her energetic performance and winning look, Ella shines above all!


Ella stuns in Blancheur.

HIJAB ON THE RUNWAY
Halima Aden broke the stigma of hijabi walking down a major runway at fashion week. When she appeared at the Fall 2017 Yeezy presentation in a fawn-coloured fauxfur coat, pointy heels, and jet-black hijab, she looked like the ruler of some futuristic civilisation that we’d all be lucky to join.

Strolling down the runway at Max Mara in a sumptuous camel coat and trousers, she looked like a tall glass of honey. And at Alberta Ferretti, she seemed right at home goofing around backstage with Gigi Hadid. Her “otherworldly” beauty has landed her on magazine covers such as Vogue Arabia, Allure, Grazia and Carine Roitfeld Fashion Book.


Aden helped break the hijabi stigma.

PLUS SIZE MODELS ON THE RUNWAY
2017 was a year of wins for Ashley Graham, but the model made major strides at New York Fashion Week where she became the first plus-size model to walk a Michael Kors show. Since the supermodel covered the 2016’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, she paved the way for other plus-size models or might I say the “real” size to appear on big campaigns, runways and magazines.

Ashley also stars in Swimsuits For All’s new “Every Body, Every Age, Every Beautiful” ad, which got a spot in the new Sports Illustrated magazine. This will be the first time that the cult magazine features everyday women living it up in their bikinis and one-pieces.


Major strides for Graham this year.

RIHANNA QUEEN OF THE MET GALA

The 2017 Met Gala was dedicated to Comme des Garcons and celebrated the avant-garde designs of Rei Kawakubo: Art of the In-Between. It was the first time the event had honoured a living artist since 1983, when it celebrated the work of Yves Saint Laurent. Of course we could count on Rihanna to slay, she showed up schooling everyone on how to dress for a theme wearing one of the designer’s Fall/Winter 2016 looks which was also featured in the Met exhibit; and let’s not forget the lace-up heels that tied up her entire leg — such an icon!


Bow to Queen Rihanna.

CELINE DION THE UNEXPECTED STYLE STAR OF THE YEAR
With the help of stylist Law Roach (who also works with Zendaya), Celine Dion spent the year reinventing her fashion image, attending couture fashion weeks and stepping out in head-to-toe designer outfits by the likes of Loewe, Vetements and, naturally, Celine.

Reigning as 2017’s most surprising breakout style star with her risk-taking, the high fashion chameleon attended her first ever Met Gala this year. Dion churned out look after look — leaving us waiting for the next one. The 49-year-old’s mind-blowing series of images and a video for Vogue that celebrated her new elevated image went viral. No one had more fun with fashion this year than Dion.


Dion had a surprising fashion turn in 2017.

FASHION ICON AZZEDINE ALAIA PASSES AWAY
Legendary couturier, Azzedine Alaia passed away at 77 in November, causing the industry to mourn the tragic loss. The revolutionary designer, often known as the “King of Cling”, left a mark on the fashion world and is responsible for helping launch Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford to international success.

In July, he showed his final couture show after a sixyear hiatus, which Campbell opened. Alaia was a master of creating dresses that fit and flattered the female form, worn by everyone from Grace Jones to Madonna. Following his untimely death, the Design Museum of London announced an exhibition dedicated to Alaia’s remarkable career, which the designer himself was helping to co-curate before his passing. I can’t think of a better way to honour his legacy than to see his creative process through his own eyes.


Alaia (left) with Campbell.

MODELS STAND-UP AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT
Following the countless stories that exposed the hideous truths of the entertainment industry, fashion was similarly exposed for its exploitation of those most vulnerable.

In October, model and activist Cameron Russell invited other models to share their own stories of sexual abuse, posting them anonymously on her Instagram. The industry quickly took note, with many others following suit by speaking out against sexual harassment by those in positions of power. Allegations against photographer Bruce Weber and Terry Richardson emerged.

They were difficult conversations to have, but also necessary. It was the wake-up call for the industry to prioritise the well-being and safety of young models and creatives.


Russell helps share modelling’s #MeToo moments on Instagram.

MALAYSIANS ON THE FASHION MAP
Year 2017 witnessed our homegrown stars flying off to fashion events all over the globe. Whether sitting on the front row or walking the fashion shows, they certainly put Malaysia on the fashion map! From London to Paris Fashion Week, Marion Caunter nailed every appearance at Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou and during the Louis Vuitton show, she was seated close to Will Smith.

Actress Nur Fazura was the only Malaysian seated on the front row with Emma Roberts and Selena Gomez at the Coach show in New York Fashion Week (NYFW). And Fyza Kadir was flown exclusively by Valiram to New York for the Michael Kors, Tory Burch and Kate Spade shows.

Malaysia’s Modest Fashion Icon, Neelofa graced the star-studded Swarovski Crystal Wonderland event in Milan in a deep-red dress that astounded everyone, including Boy George!

An international socialite, Datin Ezurin can be seen in the front row at Burberry and Giambattista Valli. Besides our darling stars, our local models also made us proud while strutting down major fashion weeks. Among them, Mika Jenewein opened the Zegna Couture show in Moscow, Yuen Sze Jia walked NYFW for Irina Vijtaz, Sherry Hill and Leanne Marshall, Atikah Karim excelled in Paris and London by walking for Liselore Frowijn, Each x Other, Faustine Steinmetz and Ashish, while Kea L booked a couple of shows in London, Milan and Paris.


Malaysians on the global fashion stage, (L-R) Fazura, Mika and Marion).

CULT CONCEPT STORE COLETTE CLOSES ITS DOORS
In July, cult concept store Colette announced it would be closing the doors to its Rue Saint- Honore store in Paris in December after 20 years. For the past two decades, Colette made a significant impact on the industry, offering an innovative way to create a retail space which has influenced numerous boutiques that opened subsequently, from ingenious collaborations to carefully curated edits. While everyone in the industry bawled their eyes out to see Colette go (it’s the end of an era!), we admire founder Colette Roussaux and her daughter Sarah Andelman’s decision to close the store on a high.


Bye Colette!

THE YEAR OF VIRGIL ABLOH
The Off-White designer accomplished and collaborated more in the past 12 months than many others do throughout their entire careers. The 37-year-old designer, creative director, DJ, visionary and Kanye West’s creative partner is easily among the most sought after talents in the industry, and aside from inspiring a whole new generation of streetwear fanatics to follow their fashion dreams, he’s completely won over the luxury space as well, thanks to his critically and commercially successful collections for Off-White.

In fact, Abloh’s name was tossed around as a possible frontrunner for the creative director positions at Givenchy and Versace, though those rumours were swiftly shut down. Beyond his work at Off-White, Abloh’s emerged as a prolific collaborator, and in 2017 alone, he’s teamed up with the likes of Nike, Warby Parker, Levi’s, Ikea, Umbro and Jimmy Choo on much-hyped products in a wide range of price points.


The man in demand.

Fashion stylist Min Luna can be seen regularly on local top celebrities IG stories because for them, she is a style magician. She styled two shows at KLFW 2017. She is currently shooting #klfashionpolice with Mr. Stailista for her upcoming YouTube project. Follow her on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/minluna/ for live show updates.

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