A Year in Review: Culture, Fashion & the Arts
2016 was a standout year on various fronts, from political races and celebrity deaths that left us reeling to counter cultural movements across fashion and the arts that reflected our disenchantment with the current state of affairs. Included below are several of the highlights and low points across the fashion, beauty, arts and entertainment industries from this past year.
David Bowie's death left many saddened at the loss of such an unparalleled talent. Beyond his iconic status in the world of music and fashion, Bowie's nuanced portrayal and discussion of his own sexuality and spirituality proved inspiring to many; "that’s who he was to all of us. He was a piece of bright pleated silk we could stretch out or fold up small inside ourselves when we needed to" (Lorde).
The Oscars fell under scrutiny for the blatant lack of diversity in its nominations across various categories. #Oscarssowhite outrage sparked a series of important debates about diversity in the film industry, shedding light on the lack of recognition and opportunity afforded to non-white actors and directors. These discussions seemed to have generated tangible results, however. The BAFTAs recently announced that starting in 2019, "movies will only qualify to be nominated for two of the most coveted awards if they meet specific diversity standards" (Refinery29).
Anticipation for Game of Throne's sixth season reaches a fever pitch. The ensuing season does not fail to disappoint with its endless plot twists, untimely deaths and cinematically epic battle scenes. The show goes on to the sweep the Emmys yet again. Keep a look out for season seven, airing spring of 2017.
Many lost another hero following the announcement of Prince's sudden death. Countless accolades and achievements in music aside, to many, the musician represented hope and acceptance, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or upbringing. His credo of love and tolerance is important to keep in mind as we face political uncertainty in the coming years.
Beyoncé Lemonade craze hits full force following its surprise release, a string of successful single drops, a stint at the Super Bowl, performances at the BETs and MTV award shows and endless discussions about who Becky with the good hair could be. Queen Bey goes on to sell out her entire Formation World Tour, grossing $256 million worldwide.
Lin Manuel Miranda moved many to tears with his emotionally honest acceptance speech/sonnet at the Tony Awards this summer, reminding all of us that amidst a year of political turmoil, humanitarian crises, violence and injustice that "love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside... now fill the world with music, love, and pride.”
After a series of creative director shakeups at a handful of major fashion labels, Maria Grazia Chiuri was appointed Dior's first female creative director. Chiuri has taken the historical precedence of her role to heart; her debut collection for Dior had a decidedly feminist message, with bold statement looks and slogans emblazoned across t-shirts and dresses that underscored her commitment to empowering women.
Sports arguably served as our saving grace this year, with athletes from all corners of the globe donning medals emblematic of hope and human achievement at the highest of levels. Ryan Lochte drama aside, the Olympics were an important reminder of the meaning of good sportsmanship at an international level.
Kendall Jenner snags the cover of US Vogue's September issue, eliciting mixed responses from fashion world leaders and readers alike. Controversy aside, Jenner's rapid ascent into the upper echelons of the industry has solidified her status as a major force in the fashion world and beyond, alongside fellow social media born talents such as Gigi and Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, Cara Delevingne and Emily Ratajkowski.
High school senior James Charles is announced CoverGirl's latest ambassador and first ever cover boy. Charles' contract with the makeup behemoth is an important step towards diversifying the beauty industry. CoverGirl made headlines a second time after appointing fellow YouTube star Nura Afia as the company's first Hijab-wearing brand ambassador. View Charles' YouTube channel here and Afia's here.
To say supermodel and body activist Ashley Graham had a breakthrough year is an understatement. From hosting her own TEDxtalk, to landing the cover of Sports Illustrated and starring in DNCE's latest music video, Graham shows no signs of stopping her star trajectory. She also received her own Barbie doll, raising further awareness for body positivity. "This past year, along with creating dolls modeled after Beyoncé, Zendaya, and Ava DuVernay to add greater racial range, Barbie also released three new body types: curvy, petite, and tall in seven skin tones" (Forbes).
The fashion world bid farewell to Franca Sozzani, the revolutionary creative genius behind Italian Vogue. The editor-in-chief was renowned for her rebellious take on fashion and ready embrace of diversity in an industry infamous for its narrow perception of beauty. Most recently, she was the subject of her son's film Franca: Chaos & Creation, an intimate portrait of a woman fearless and endlessly forward thinking in her vision for Italian Vogue and the fashion world writ large. Read Anna Wintour's reflection on the iconic fashion figure here. Watch her son's full documentary here.
Featured image via