Most memorable fashion moments of 2009!
They are the images that sear our brains. The iconic visual cogs in the zeitgeist that are impossible to forget. The flag at Iwo Jima. Winston Churchill’s black and white portrait. Jessica Simpson in mom jeans at a chili cookoff.
OK, maybe not that last one. But as we review the year, the Tabloid Jeans of Destruction are certainly a contender for most memorable fashion moment of 2009. Here’s the rundown of the most unforgettable fashion statements of the past year. Hint — Winston Churchill is not on the list, although his vest and pocket square are quite natty.
Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress
We watch every style move the First Lady makes, from her questionable salmon cape to her kicky purple Converse. But the white January inauguration ball dress, designed by Jason Wu, will be the one in fashion history books. It was flowing and funky with none of the old guard political wife starch we’ve come to expect at rubber chicken affairs. It was with this dress we knew — fans of traditional First Lady fashion were going to need some smelling salts.
Aretha Franklin’s hat
One way to upstage the new president at his inauguration? Wear a GIANT BOW on your head. Aretha Franklin caused chapeau hysteria by wearing designer Luke Song’s studded wool bow, which is big enough to gift wrap a military submarine. Not only did it garner praise for paying homage to the rich African American tradition of formal hats, it inspired a viral cadre of Schmoes to paste the hat onto their own Facebook photos.
Corey Feldman as Michael Jackson
Former child star Corey Feldman made everyone choke on their Pad Thai when he showed up to Michael Jackson’s July memorial service dressed like, well... Michael Jackson. Military jacket, fedora, stringy hair, shades. It was an alarmingly Single White Female move that was creepy, wrong, weird. There are a few simple rules to dressing appropriately for a funeral, Corey. The foremost? Don’t dress like the guy who just died!
Chantal Biya meets the Pope
Where have you been hiding all our lives, Chantal Biya? The fashionable wife of Cameroon president Paul Biya made a splash on everyone’s radar when she met Pope Benedict XVI in March. Her flaming hair was at least a foot high, which was either out of respect for his holiness, or out of respect for FIERCENESS. If Beyonce and the cast of Fraggle Rock got together in a lab and created a first lady, Mrs. Biya would be the product. And we’re totally down with that.
Lady Gaga meets the Queen
In chapter two of Uncomfortable Social Introductions of 2009, we give you Lady Gaga and Queen Elizabeth II at December’s Royal Variety Performance in England. Lady Gaga shot some much-needed caffeine into the music and fashion scene in 2009 with her outrageous looks, but this one had us scratching our heads. It was oddly conservative, which is good for meeting royalty. But it was red latex, which is best for porn. Either way, her majesty kept a poker face.
Jessica Simpson’s jeans
If this decade has been a body scrutiny stew, Jessica Simpson has been the feast. In January, she danced on stage at a chili cookoff wearing some terrifying high-waisted jeans. Jessica’s body was, by most standards, lovely. But the pants didn’t fit right, and very few people who aren’t a praying mantis can pull off that look. It spurred magazines and bloggers to call her fat, illuminating our unquenchable bloodhunt for imperfection. Poor Jessica. We want to take her out for margaritas.
Taylor Swift’s battalion of sparkle
We can’t single out one particular moment in which Taylor Swift wore a pale sparkly dress, because she wore them EVERYWHERE. The adorable country phenom has decided her signature look will be “Cinderella, Suckas!” We’re not saying we wouldn’t also wear glitter Monday through Sunday if we had unlimited funds, but it would be nice to see Swift step outside the predictable princess box in 2010. Start with some Kanye West glasses?
Gabourey Sidibe on the red carpet
When you star in a big movie, you have big red carpet expectations. Actor Gabourey Sidibe lived up to them with her promotional tour for the movie Precious. She appeared at events wrapped in a form-fitting purple chiffon gown, a sassy navy mini dress and an elegant red satin showstopper. It was a jarring change to see someone who is actually plus sized (not size 8, like the world would have us believe is plus sized), walking around confident, beautiful, and playing up her best features.
Kate Gosselin’s hair
Over the past year, Jon and Kate Gosselin have transformed from endearing and frazzled parents of a gagillion kids into sad caricatures (don’t get us started on Ed Hardy). Kate’s hair has done the same. In the early episodes of Jon and Kate Plus 8, she wore an unremarkable brown cut. That turned into short blond sass. And that turned into an enigma wrapped in a mystery, a porcupine water slide mocked on Saturday Night Live and Halloween costumes the world over. No surprise, she is growing it out now.
Alexander McQueen’s shoes
Runway fashion is historically — how to we say this? — on crack. Alexander McQueen maintained this fine tradition in 2009 with his Armadillo, a ten-inch stiletto that looks like a Ming vase with eyeballs. Lady Gaga and Daphne Guiness both sported the shoes, which is saying something for their toe strength. The Armadillos are apparently no cushioned walk in the park, proven when several runway models refused to wear them and were cut from McQueen’s summer fashion show.
Did we miss any, Diva fans?
Deal Diva Stephanie
Photos: Times files