As part of the media’s annual year-end love affair with listicles (current company included), Eric Wilson and Cathy Horyn of the New York Times offered up their top ten fashion moments of the 2010 calendar year. And while both lists were filled with fitting (and somewhat predictable) pics — the death of Alexander McQueen and Carine Roitfeld‘s resignation come to mind — they both opened with surprising nods to pop culture and the changing face of the industry as a whole.
Looking back at what truly resonated with audiences outside of the fashion elite, it is tough to think of anything more substantial than the hullabaloo that took place this summer over a single dress — one that hardly anyone had a chance to get a good look at. That, of course, was the white strapless beaded wedding gown worn by Chelsea Clinton at a top-secret ceremony in Rhinebeck, N.Y., on July 31. As it happened, it was a dress by Vera Wang, seen by the public in only a handful of official portraits released by the Clinton family. The dress had some silvery belt thing at the waist and a very tight fitted bodice, and what looked like a rushing waterfall of tulle below the waist. To no small degree of dissatisfaction among the fashion press, Ms. Clinton’s gown was not destined to be hugely influential in the tradition of bridal gowns worn by glamorous members of prominent political or royal families (i.e., Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy, Princess Diana, Ivanka Trump). But frankly, she could have worn burlap and remained at the top of this list, since half the fun was in all the anticipation and speculation. You can only imagine what 2011 has in store for Kate Middleton.
I wouldn’t have picked Dior’s January couture collection as a major fashion moment (John Galliano punched an out-of-date ticket for the Gibson Girl), but the scene illustrated the tension between the weird and the wonderful that exists in fashion. Dior held the show in the house, so everything was creamy with intimacy — just what editors love as they plop down next to friends — but it soon registered that Tavi Gevinson, the 13-year-old blogger, was in the front row. Some of the editors really hit her with looks. At the Armani show that night, the stares were openly hostile. It was obvious the older Italian ladies didn’t care to see a child in their midst. And Tavi wore a big bow-shaped hat that pointedly emphasized her juvenile stature. The fact is half the people were still in the dark about what was happening. Blogs? Strange ruminations from a girl’s bedroom in Chicago? They were still politely applauding satin ball gowns that Charles James would have whipped up in his sleep at the Chelsea Hotel.
They’re both worth a read, but Horyn’s makes for a particularly biting and nuanced take on the year that was.
PHOTOS: Chelsea’s Gorgeous Vera Wang Wedding Dress
PHOTOS: 10 Most Controversial Stories Of The Year
PHOTOS: The 10 Worst Photoshop Offenses Of 2010
PHOTOS: A Look Back At Our Most Popular Posts Of 2010