The Best Fashion Moments of 2020

Cover image by Holly Rose McClenaghan

2020 has definitely had its fair share of unprecedented moments, but what about those of the fashion industry?

Designers came up with inventive new ways to express their visions, from designer PPE to virtual runways. And as for us, whilst we sat at home, scrolled through TikTok and binged a whole season of Emily in Paris in one day, I’m pretty sure that we too weren’t being entirely unproductive (although it might have felt like it!) In fact, some part of us, perhaps subconsciously, was taking inspiration from the content we were seeing around us and applying it to our own personal wardrobes.

The year started off with a bang with Ariana Grande dressed in *that* Giambattista Valli gown. Her look consisted of a huge, fluffy, tulle skirt complete with her signature, slicked-back, high ponytail and a pair of opera gloves — which perfectly completed the Cinderella-chic outfit. The gown was also reminiscent of the baby-blue Zac Posen dress she was supposed to wear in 2019. 

Credit: Cosmopolitan UK/Wikimedia Commons

Talking of tulle, another one of 2020’s obsessions was Lirika Matoshi’s cult-favourite Strawberry Dress, aka ‘the dress of the summer’. The pink, strawberry-spotted dress went viral on TikTok around July and after that I’m pretty sure that nobody was able to escape it when logging onto any form of social media- I know that it was haunting me on Instagram!

So what was it that made this dress so different from any of the other trends of 2020, or from the polka dot Zara dress of 2018? The answer to that would be the feel-good factor that seemed to be stitched into the fabric of the dress: the idea of going out to the supermarket dressed like a modern-day Disney princess, or of simply owning such a statement piece. 

Credit: @sp0radical via Instagram 

TikTok not only birthed viral dresses but also gave us the opportunity to have a go at DIY-ing our favourite looks of 2020 (even if the results were sometimes unwearable!) Ever since Harry Styles was seen in a JW Anderson oversized patchwork cardigan, teens knew that they absolutely had to get their hands on one, except that one would have to be around one thousand pounds cheaper… So, with time to spare during lockdown, they set themselves on the mission of making their own, desperately trying to figure out the pattern until Anderson himself made it free to download, saying that “fashion today should be about inclusion not exclusion.” 

Credit: @annikanhall via Instagram 

This opportunity to create something, start a hobby or to find different ways to do something was not only grasped at by the knitters of TikTok, but by designers themselves. One of the most innovative moments of 2020 was Moschino’s 2021 Spring/Summer collection, where Jeremy Scott’s COVID-secure catwalk consisted of marionettes replacing models. You can even see a puppet version of Anna Wintour in the front row of the audience! 

Netflix has had a huge impact on our wardrobes and on the wave of trends in 2020: from Season 4 of The Crown spurring a long-awaited revival of Princess Diana’s timeless outfits to Emily in Paris sparking, well… a controversial response. After watching eight hours of Emily tottering around Paris in stilettos and brightly-coloured co-ords, I was left with the question: where are the stack of denim jeans and white sneakers, Emily? Being an Instagram connoisseur and presumably a Pinterest addict, surely Emily would know about Parisian influencers such as Jeanne Damas, or even more generally follow the likes of Bella Hadid and Hailey Beiber, so why is she so out of touch with 2020? One could argue that Darren Star and Patricia Field did this on purpose (they did produce Sex and the City after all) to simply spark a conversation, which I guess is the one thing they did achieve.

On the other hand, unquestionably one of the best fashion moments of 2020, was Princess Diana’s wedding dress in The Crown which, 14 weeks in the making, was an almost exact replica of the original.

At the long-awaited end of 2020, we were blessed with Harry Styles’ Vogue cover: the first ever man to be featured on the cover of Vogue solo. Dressed in a Gucci gown, Styles breaks down gender stereotypes and sums up the main themes and messages of 2020 in one image of individuality and equality. 

So, what can we expect this year? With trends forecasted to be filled with sorbet colours, checkerboard prints, and lace up pieces, we can expect our wardrobes to be filled with fun. And as for the next best moments themselves, from the new Gossip Girl reboot to the (highly anticipated) Met Gala, there is much to look forward to. However, if 2020 has proved anything, we can always expect the unexpected!

Article by Zainab Haji