Was 2019 the most disruptive year in fashion so far?

2019 is not officially over yet. But, it is time to see what this year looked like for fashion. We have put together some of the biggest trends, memes, and break-the-Internet moments. From the demise of one of the biggest forces in the industry—Karl Lagerfeld—to some of the biggest brands finally stepping up to become sustainable in the time of climate crisis, here’s what transpired in 2019.


Rihanna made history with her label Fenty. The songstress became the first woman of colour to launch her eponymous brand with French luxury group Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). In November, The Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode announced that Rahul Mishra will be the first Indian designer to be welcomed as ‘Guest Member’ on the Haute Couture Calendar. Previously guest members included designers such as Iris Van Herpen, Georges Hobeika and Zuhair Murad.

Rihanna’s campaign for Fenty

Rahul Mishra’s Spring collection for Paris Fashion Week


Other than being the year of several firsts, this truly was the end of an era too. Karl Lagerfeld, the German designer who was known for creating some of the most outré moments in fashion, passed on in February 2019. Of course, Karl’s impact on fashion is insurmountable. He was also known for being deeply attached to his cat, Choupette Lagerfeld, and his ever-so-famous diet but he also defined the idea of a fashion designer for 20th and 21st century while resurrecting luxury houses like Chanel, Fendi along with his own label.

Karl Lagerfeld passed in February 2019


At ELLE, we dedicated our June cover to a cause that’s so important in an age where the environment is getting worse by the day. Our cover star for this issue was Kalki Koechlin. The importance of sustainability was, however, omnipresent in the industry. Certainly one can see it in Woolmark Prize-winning designer Ruchika Sachdeva’s work with Bodice but also with new-age labels like Ahluwalia Studio and homegrown brands like Pero, Doodlage, Eka, Nicobar and No Nasties. In fact, hemp became the choice of fibre for brands like Foxxy and BOHECO.

British designer Stella McCartney, a constant supporter of ethical fashion, signed a deal with LVMH, to “accelerate its worldwide development in terms of business and strategy” while representing a key change that will be driving some of the biggest fashion brands in the world. Plus, 150 Brands have joined French President Emmanuel Macron’s “Fashion Pact” to make the fashion industry more sustainable.

Kalki Koechlin for ELLE’s June issue on sustainability

Ahluwalia Studio’s SS 20 collection


Gone are the days when menswear was defined by a well-tailored suit. Luxury conglomerates like Gucci redefined what menswear looked like; now it’s soft, tailored and feminine. Bloomberg Businessweek estimated the value of global men’s make-up market at $1.14 billion in 2019. And, Actor Billy Porter wore a tuxedo gown by Christian Siriano to the Oscars. Back home, actor Ranveer Singh has always been sporting everything, from skirts and animal-print to furry slippers with Disney characters.

Billy Porter wore a tuxedo dress for Oscars

Ranveer Singh in animal print


Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 2019 collection went viral. And, you have probably seen all the memes featuring the tulle gowns emblazoned with ‘NO’ and ‘Leave me alone’. The ironical outfits were vibrant and showcased how visuals are getting transformed by the virtual in the world of fashion. The 2019 Victoria’s Secret show was officially cancelled as the lingerie brand announced it’s going to “re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.” And, last but not the least, was Lizzo’s micro-bag designed by Jacquemus that she carried with her orange dress to the AMAs 2019. In an Instagram post, she wrote, the bag was “big enough for my f***s to give.” Touché.

Viktor & Rolf’s couture collection

Lizzo’s micro-bag 

Photographs: Instagram

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