2018 was, by all accounts, a really insane year. Too insane, in fact, to adequately sum up in just a few paragraphs. But turbulence can lead to the desire to escape, and examining and reimagining cultural references to figure out who we are, apart and collectively.
We were all about western wear this year, and I think a lot about this quote from a textiles professor in a Fashionista article. “The times we tend to see cowboy dress appearing in fashion are times when America is either ultra-patriotic or under stress,” Dr. Laurel Wilson said.
I think the same can be said of things bodacious and glam—extra if you will. In times of duress, it’s fun and necessary not just to escape, but to say fuck it. 2018 was the year of hot pink, denim thongs, and a sexy, goddess-garden-party celebration, à la Rihanna. Here were some of the best, most extra moments in no particular order.
Dapper Dan’s First Collection With Gucci
Dapper Dan’s first collection for Gucci felt like a homecoming for the Harlem-based tailor whose designs incorporating bootleg logos shaped the hip-hop aesthetic of ’80s New York. The collection was a sumptuous homage to that time, from a double-G vinyl jacket to oversized sunglasses.
“We created this universe of culture that came out of Harlem, and it was parallel to this universe that was coming out of Europe,” Dan told the New York Times in March. “And then this amazing man comes along, Alessandro Michele, and because of him, because of his appreciation of culture and of everybody’s contribution to culture, he made it possible for these parallel universes to come together.”
Rodarte’s SS18 Show
Rodarte SS18 show was a resplendent garden party in a New York cemetery. It was rainy and romantic, creating as I wrote at the time, an “eighties-party-princess-meets-1940s-heroine swirl of a show.” It was all pink tulle and rose headpieces and turquoise eyeshadow, and it was perfect.
Hardeman’s Denim Puffer
Hardeman, the genderless jeans brand based in Amsterdam, might be one of the sexiest labels out there right now. Its Instagram is filled with models doing hot things—think assless denim chaps and thongs—but my favorite is the denim puffer jacket that could not be better built for my Texas-meets-New York self.
The Hot-Pink Party Dress
2018, by all accounts, was the year of hot, hot pink—“shocking pink,” as Elsa Schiaparelli once dubbed it. There was Tracee Ellis Ross’ radiant pink, Rihanna’s Calvin Klein ruffle gown, and most recently, J.Lo’s pink tulle dress at the Second Act premiere. That dress takes the cake (and, in fact, looked like a cake) for most extra party dress of the year. We have Giambattista Valli to thank for this return to DayGlo, “life-giving” shocking pink. It was certainly the year to wear it.
Rihanna’s first Savage x Fenty Show
Rihanna’s first fashion week show for Savage x Fenty was a true celebration of women. Reading that phrase normally would make my eyes roll a bit, but I’m not sure there’s a better way to describe it. There were all kinds of body types and ethnicities, and the neon-leopard bodysuits and fishnet catsuits were the kinds of lingerie that felt perfectly on-trend, but not at all tired. The Brooklyn Navy Yard turned into a biodome filled with tropical flora and greenery, giving the whole affair a beautiful, energetic sheen. The show was so electric, it even sent Slick Woods into labor.
Calvin Klein’s American-Apocalypse Show
While this may not qualify as glam at surface level, Raf Simons’ very American, very anxious FW18 runway show at the American Stock Exchange captured the national mood by way of haute couture. There were firemen’s jackets and hazmat boots, Americana quilt work, and popcorn everywhere. It was dystopian but oddly optimistic—as Simons said, “Less horror this time, more hope.”