REACH FOR THE STARS
The celebrity front row at the shows still rules.The big news: Ricky Martin at Giorgio Armani’s spring show and Camilla Parker Bowles at Stella McCartney’s fall Chloe collection. Camilla’s significant other, Prince Charles, also made an appearance at a charity event at Versace’s London store in June.
Over the Top
Nothing beats excess and extravagance like more of the same. Perhaps the wildest shows this year were John Galliano’s living Greek statues for Dior couture in January and for spring, Alexander McQueen’s Cirque du Soleil homage in New York.
That ’70s Show
Seventies fever showed no sign of slowing with looks ranging from haute-hippie coats to glitzed up halters and HotPants.
Class vs. Trash
The age-old good girl-bad girl debate reignited for spring, making for a diverse and exciting season. On one side, all those proper young ladies for whom propriety rules, and on the other, their fabulously wild and wanton sisters.
It seems the artsy, bohemian look is just too good to let go of. Patchwork skirts, crocheted and peasant tops were all part of the playful, hippie vibe this year.
There’s no denying leather’s staying power. And this year, it showed up in beautiful form on the spring ready-to-wear runways.
This year, fashion became fascinated with all things exuberant. And with color so important, for spring Donatella Versace revived the house’s scarf prints in her best collection yet.
Leggo My Logo
Why be subtle and put a logo on a belt or bag, when the real fun is to be had with head-to-toe prints? Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton, Dior’s John Galliano and newcomer Jeremy Scott were just a few of the notable logophiles of 1999.
Y2K was definitely a factor in the futuristic shapes, sparse colors and graphic prints on the runways this year.
The Cover Story
In 1999, readers wanted celebrities — and major fashion magazines delivered the goods. Many took their cues from the revenue juggernaut InStyle, putting actors in designer clothes on covers while focusing on their lives and personal styles inside.
Anyway you look at it, denim had a stellar year, from destructed jean skirts to fully stone-encrusted, embroidered looks.
While actresses took over the magazine covers, models invaded the theaters. Those to hit the big screen were Milla Jovovich in “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc,” Claudia Schiffer in “Black and White,” and Carolyn Murphy doing her best Grace Kelly impersonation in “Liberty Heights.”
In July, fashion lost one of its brightest stars of style, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, in a plane crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, John F. Kennedy Jr., who was flying the aircraft, and her sister, Lauren Bessette. A former public relations director for Calvin Klein, Carolyn put an international spotlight on Narciso Rodriguez when she wore his now famous — and highly imitated — wedding dress. Designers the world over called her chic and elegant, someone who looked great no matter what she wore.
Wedding bells rang loud and clear throughout the year. Models Mark Vanderloo and Esther Canadas tied the knot in June, and William Getty and Vanessa Jarmen in August. But the wedding of the year was that of Sophie Rhys-Jones and Prince Edward in June.
At the Oscars, Gwyneth was pretty and sweet in her pink Ralph Lauren gown, while Helen Hunt was nothing but sexy in a backless Gucci dress. And just about the only thing to create a bigger buzz than Roberto Benigni’s acceptance speech for Best Actor was John Galliano for Dior’s backward suit worn by Celine Dion — complete with sparkling sunglasses and exaggerated fedora. Galliano, however, did hit the mark with Cate Blanchett’s beautiful blue knitted gown.
Coming of Age
A number of young designers showed breakthrough collections. Viktor & Rolf duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren dazzled the fall couture with Swarovski crystals on burlap. In ready-to-wear, Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga and Olivier Theyskens refined their message, and with a savvy logo-centric collection, fashion’s latest enfant terrible, Jeremy Scott, showed he’s serious about the business. In New York, Miguel Adrover and the Bruce team of Daphne Gutierrez and Nicole Noselli showed plenty of promise.
Smart, good-looking clothes with a retro touch. Yes, as we move into 2000, all things bourgeois are chic again, and for spring, designers celebrated the anti-edge.
Romance swept the runways for spring with a host of gentle, fluttering looks.
I’m Too Sexy for . . .
The mantra on the runways this year was: The hotter the better. Basically, all was revealed — necklines plunged, hemlines and slits soared and clothes clung.
Is the suit dead? It had its trouble at retail, but in the hands of Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and Yohji Yamamoto, it looked as fresh as ever.
Snake charmers were everywhere for spring, on the runways and in accessories collections.
Girl of the Year
Everywhere you looked — magazines, runways, award shows — Gisele Bundchen was the center of attention. It seems that no one could get enough of her face, hair and, of course, her memorably curvy body.
The prom — a young girl’s fantasy night for personal style, a dream date and some designer labels. A few Manhattan schoolgirls gave WWD an inside glimpse.
There were plenty of high-profile pairings this year. Among the hottest were Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts and Benjamin Bratt.
April’s Sad Notes
Nicola Trussardi, the owner and pilot of the fashion house bearing his name, was fatally injured in an auto accident on the road between Milan and Bergamo, his hometown. Trussardi, 56, had brought the house his grandfather founded in 1911 from a quiet little maker of gloves to a $485 million powerhouse, with 125 stores and a broad range of leather accessories, ready-to-wear and fragrance.
Liz Tilberis, the elegant editor of Harper’s Bazaar, lost her six-year struggle with ovarian cancer and died at the age of 51. She published a book in 1998, “No Time to Die: Living With Ovarian Cancer,” and had been able to beat back the disease several times, in the process becoming a beacon for others affected by it. Bazaar dedicated its July issue to Tilberis, with all ad revenues going to ovarian cancer research. All the clothing featured in the issue was white, which was Tilberis’s favorite color.
In the Swim
Casual and sexy — a key message on the spring runways, designers drove home with a host of provocative swimwear.
Bed, Bath and Beyond
Cocooning came to fashion for fall, with multitask coats and wraps inspired by duvets and blankets.
The cozy side of casual chic — an abundance of fabulous knits.
The Sports Channel
In a fitness-obsessed age, no one was surprised to see athletic themes hit the runways.
The following people from the fashion and beauty industries died in 1999.
James C. Allison
William M. Batten
Juanita Diane Bostick
Robert J. (Bob) Brown
Eleanore Phillips Colt
Sylvia de Gay
Stanley C. Gillette
Ira J. Hechler
Clifford (Bobby) Horton
Jack B. Jackson
Robert N. Jacobson
Mary Kay Edwards Krauser
William T. Kretzer
Anthony R. Kupra
Albert W. Lutz
Eric Merck Sr.
Eva Shapiro Meyer
Doris R. Stillman
Stanley J. Winkelman
See You in Court
The following firms filed for bankruptcy protection or liquidated in 1999.
Blue Fish Clothing Co.
Caldor Corp. (liquidated)
Crowley Milner & Co.
Evans Inc. (involuntary Chapter 7)
Forstmann & Co. Garden Botanica Inc.
Just for Feet
Jumbo Sports (liquidated)
Renaissance Cosmetics Inc.
Sirena Apparel Group
Solo Serve (liquidated)
Starter Corp. (liquidated)
Accessories had a huge year. Not only did designers finally put them back on the runway where they belong, but there were numerous launches, from the feather-and-leather lineup of Prada-backed Helmut Lang to The Real Monica Inc., Monica Lewinsky’s made-to-order knitted bags sold over the Internet and shipped with the label, “Made especially for you by Monica.”