The 15 Most Essential Trend Exhibits of 2020


To make the understatement of the century: this year in fashion was like no other. However, philosophizing about what 2020 means for the “future of fashion” is less interesting than just looking at the weird, beautiful, and chaotic present of fashion. The first two months of the year saw the normal onslaught of global fashion shows and then the world stopped – and in some cases designers too. The ongoing pandemic and protests of summer spawned Digital Fashion Week, a strange and dystopian experiment that nonetheless brought some joy, a lot of aspiration, and some pretty awesome clothes.

It may be an impossible task to say which fashion shows were the best or most important. But because anger is fun, I decided to rate it – admittedly, this is a moronly subjective exercise, and very likely I missed many people’s favorites. But in a year when the fashion industry contracted into a reflection of itself, a look back at these two seasons of fashion shows tells us a lot about what happened that year, what matters, and how things will be in a year could – or at least what we could wear.

Victor Virgile / Getty Images

15. Rick Owens Fall 2020 Menswear

Sometimes I think I don’t miss any fashion shows – the waiting, the weird weather (it’s always weird!), The traffic, the waste. But then I think of something like Rick Owens’ bombastic show in Paris last January, where two of the Migos poked their fists over a power shoulder coat, and I sigh with nostalgia. The invitations were a heavy piece of engraved metal that you really dropped onto the concrete floor in the quiet moment just before the show started, and everyone made fun of me for the rest of the week. It was exactly the kind of ignorant look at me, not me, that Owens parodied with those huge, pleadingly boisterous shoes and shapes – and the way of dressing as an achievement I suspect next year will be done in a man’s style.

Victor Virgile / Getty Images

14.Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2020 Men’s Fashion

That year I began to pursue what I had termed “Yohjissance” – both a renewed interest in the designer’s archival work and a new sense of energy from the brand and the man himself. It all started with this show in January, in who found the oversized, fluid tailoring and the mischievous sensitivity of the designer to be almost alien in our self-serious, exhausting fashion world. It was so subtle, so contemplative, and done with so much intellectual integrity that I was embarrassed to think about anything else. This was an unusually strong collection – the ragged, painted knitwear and the crispy-but-runny gabardine suits were some of his best pieces in years – but it also made me nostalgic for a time in fashion when you were a Yohji acolyte or were a Slimaniac or a Raf guy who swore allegiance to that person as if you were a saint or a knight. This is so attractive at a time when luxury brands are designing their logos in homogeneous oblivion – and cool in a way that may only be available to Yamamoto.

13th Maison Margiela Artisanal Fall 2020

Nick Knight has been preparing for this moment for the past two decades. As an early pioneer of digitizing the sluggish fashion industry with his ShowStudio platform, Knight created a video for Maison Margiela’s Artisanal Show that resembled his Magnum Opus: a postmodern, hour-long freak show about the process of creating a fashion collection that triumphantly created the One Kind of Storytelling, that opens the video medium for clothing and indulges in the chaos of digital communication.




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