While we are busy loving ‘Fashion’ even more so than usual, with Fashion Weeks launching this week in capital cities worldwide, we’re thinking back to some of the best moments to have graced the catwalks over the years.
From our favourite celebrities making special runway appearances, to designers making statements, these are 10 of the most memorable moments from Fashion Week’s history – have a look and see if yours made our list too;
1. The First Time Black Models Counted on the Catwalk
While the lack of diversity in top fashion shows has been a thing for decades, the first Fashion Week event recorded to have hit headlines with its inclusion of black models was held in 1973, when Eleanor Lambert – the founder of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and creator of New York Fashion Week – teamed up with curator Gerald Van der Kemp to create The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show.
An iconic fashion show oft recalled by industry experts, The Battle of Versailles was held as a fundraiser and saw established French designers like Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent ‘battling’ up-and-coming American talents like Oscar de la Renta, with the high-profile catwalk including a record-breaking 8 models of colour on the ramp – a note-worthy number especially considering there were just 11 models in total.
The lavish designs were caught looking luxurious and theatrical on models including Amina Warsuma, Charlene Dash, Norma Jean Darden, Bethann Hardison and Pat Cleveland, and fashion historian Barbara Summers has said the casting choice;
“…Caused a major reversal in how the fashion industry looked at black women…”
– hence we at SPICE have placed The Battle of Versailles show at number one on our list of most memorable Fashion Week moments.
2. When Philip Treacy Made His Point
Showing his support to black models in the diversity debate, milliner Philip Treacy brought his Michael Jackson-inspired collection to the catwalk at London Fashion Week, via black models only.
The showcase both marked his return to London and his thoughts on the pertinent issue of diversity on the catwalk, with the designer telling the London Evening Standard;
“The show was a homage to the African woman and their sensibility to dress up.”
Not only was the show amazing because of the magnificent pieces he’d put together, but because of his significant way of making a statement – hence we at SPICE have this Fashion Week Moment well-remembered on our list.
3. When Ashish Did All-Black Everything
And with yet another display of support for black models, our third moment of note came via Ashish’s London Fashion Week show in September 2014, for which the label also boasted an all black catwalk.
Promoting black culture in fashion further still though, the designer also put black faces on pieces like sequinned sweatshirts too, and weighed in on the diversity debate by telling i-D Magazine at the time;
“It’s all very well having a token black girl here and there, but I really wanted to make a statement.
You know, if a designer has all white girls in their show, nobody asks for the reasons behind the casting, which I think is really strange.”
An arguably iconic showcase that the industry as whole could do well to remember.
4. When Prince & His Heels Hit the Catwalk
From cultural issues to pop culture’s greats, top talent Prince, who is well known for his exuberant style and way with walking in heels, took to Matthew Williamson’s Spring/Summer’08 showcase, held in a tented venue at Berkeley Square, London, to the joy of everyone who was invited.
The surprise performance was arranged to celebrate the designer’s return to London and mark his 10 successful years in the industry, for which – as lovers of the little dude – we can’t think of a better celebration.
This moment was memorable not just because of the magnitude of awe we have for Prince in general, but also because as usual, his wardrobe was just magical.
5. When Grace Jones Jumped on a Limo
Also surprising guests by ‘gracing’ Fashion Week with her presence, style icon and singer Grace Jones made a special appearance at Philip Treacy’s Spring/Summer’01 showcase, wherein she danced for attendees on a limo.
The catwalk was held at Tiffany’s – the British milliner’s choice of venue – in front of editors, buyers and top celebs who couldn’t take their eyes of the spectacle that Ms Jones brings whenever she moves (see her recent movements at Afropunk Festival, here).
A truly memorable moment in Fashion Week’s history, but just another day in the rebellious life of Grace Jones.
6. Kanye Makes a Line
Also into surprises, Kanye West shocked the world with his leap into the fashion industry last year, revealing his Autumn/Winter’15 collection at New York Fashion Week.
The range, which included skin-tight, flesh-coloured mesh wear, leg warmers and slouchy jackets for men and women, met a varied response from the critics, and though this first attempt at a full, solo collection has made our list of memorable moments, we bet it’ll be forgotten the second Kanye decides to bring out a follow-up collection…
7. Beyonce Strutting for Fashion For Relief
Another singer invested in style, megastar Beyonce signed herself up for an appearance at Naomi Campbell’s annual Fashion For Relief showcase, back in 2005.
The well-known power walker was seen gracing the ramp with her signature strut, with the event aimed to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina – and, with Queen Bey’s body looking as #lawless as ever, and her model walk faultless, you can’t blame us for adding this moment to our list.
8. The First Time ‘The Supers’ Starred at Milan Fashion Week
For his 1991 couture fashion show, Gianni Versace pooled the power of the era’s top models – Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and the undisputed queen of the catwalk, Naomi Campbell.
The showcase has remained a noted moment in history, because it marked a pivotal stage in the fashion and modelling industry – the moment the world’s favourite models transitioned from print personalities to catwalk celebrities as a group, and also the first time a designer had harnessed the power of ‘The Supers’ for a live show.
The famed showcase for the “Freedom” collection took place during Milan’s Couture Fashion Week and was so epic that all the top industry pros can recall it in detail – as they have here in this video, which includes commentary from fashion expert, Tim Blanks.
9. Jourdan Dunn’s Baby Cone
Another standout, and this time from a modern day supermodel, Ms Jourdan Dunn, occurred in 2010, when the young and pregnant model hit headlines for walking Jean-Paul Gaultier’s show with a six-month-pregnant-sized baby bump.
Expecting with her son Riley, Ms Dunn took to the ramp rocking one of Jean-Paul Gaultier’s signature cone-bras, which was modernised to include a cone bump. Fashion’s never forgotten this moment, and I doubt Jourdan or her family have either.
10. When Top Model Naomi Took a Tumble
And rounding our list off with another moment from supermodel Naomi Campbell, this might be a memory she wishes she could forget – the time Naomi feel on Vivienne Westwood’s ’93 catwalk.
The disaster occurred at Paris Fashion Week, when Naomi took a tumble mid-ramp, having lost her stride in the infamous platform heels from Westwood’s Fall collection. But, with the charismatic beauty laughing her wobble off, bursting into giggles whilst sat square on her bottom, the whole thing only helped turn Ms Campbell into a household name, and the incident remain a moment that’s been talked about for years ever since.
We at SPICE happen to think the whole thing was pretty cute and that the young Naomi did a great job of styling her trip out – but what do you think of Naomi Campbell’s Fashion Week fail?
Tell us about it in the comments box below and let us know your most memorable Fashion Week moments here and online @SPICETVARICA.
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