Fashion came back bigger and better than ever — with Zendaya, Timothee Chalamet, Zoe Kravitz, and more!
2020 was not the best year for fashion — no prizes for guessing why.
Sweatpants and loungewear triumphed — in our more optimistic moments, activewear did too — but high fashion suffered. With no red carpet events, Zoom press tours, and online award shows, tie-dye hoodies were some of the most exciting sartorial choices of the year.
However, 2021 gave fashion its come back. After a year of wanting, wishing for something to dress up for, and pining for red carpet events to gawk over, fashion came back in full swing.
Finally, we got red carpet premieres, film festivals, and of course, the Met Gala! Designers were showing out with prints and bold colors galore!
Here are some of the most memorable fashion moments of the year:
Zendaya at the Venice Film Festival
It’s obligatory for this list to start with Zendaya. We can’t stop thinking, about, talking about, or wishing to be her (and also, admittedly, to have her, but that’s Tom Holland’s job … Siri play “Jealousy Jealousy” by Olivia Rodrigo).
With her stylist Law Roach by her side, Zendaya has always been a fashion icon. But 2021 saw her reach new heights. She started what would be a string of impressive looks with a custom Balmain gown. Form-fitted and molded to make her look like she was a Grecian statue, the dress looked as if it were dripping from her.
The piece was a feat of fashion and engineering, setting the tone for some of the best of the season: personalized pieces which felt new and nostalgic at the same time. It was constructed out of "sculpturally structured leather" using a cast of her torso. The folds and shape of the dress were inspired by the intricacies of Greco-Roman statues, making Zendaya look even more like a goddess than usual. Incredible. No notes.
Timothee Chalamet at the London Dune Photo Call
One of the other darlings of the fashion world is Timothee Chalamet. Our boy had a busy year! He co-chaired the Met Gala — in sweatpants no less! — and starred in not one, not two, but three of the year’s biggest films. All that and a parade of unmatched fashion looks? It’s hard to pick a favorite, but this custom, mushroom-printed Stella McCartney suit has a special place in our hearts.
SZA at the VMAs
The VMAs are always a spectacle — but sometimes not the good kind. While the chaos of the 2021 VMAs raged on, there were some bright spots — especially one which didn’t even make it to the red carpet. Though SZA missed the red carpet getting ready for the VMA's, her look was worth the wait. She wore a sculpted, 3D printed top by Nusi Quero with a sweeping champagne-colored skirt in one of the most ethereal, inventive looks of the night.
Bretman Rock at NYFW
Here’s the hard truth: New York Fashion Week was a little bit of a letdown. While many of the shows were extravagant, detailed, and stunning, lots of the looks fell short or felt repetitive. Youtuber Bretman Rock, one of the most likable stars on the internet, did not have this problem.
Rock was a breath of fresh air at a fashion week filled with many of the same concepts. This Robert Wun purple stunner was not afraid to play with texture, color, print, and gender, culminating in a risk that paid off.
Iman at the Met Gala
Iman displayed at the Met Gala exactly why she is so iconic. Wearing a feat of an outfit by new cult-favorite designer, 25-year-old Harris Reed, she donned a gold brocade jumpsuit with flared pants, which served as the base for the tiered feather skirt with a matching circular feathered headdress.
From the dramatic shapes, the golden details inspired by America's Golden Age, and the haloed headdress, Iman was the undisputed winner of the night by our count. The complexity showed off Reed’s principles: "fighting for the beauty of fluidity," playing with beauty and gender and playfulness — all of which came through in this incredible look.
Zoe Kravitz at the Met Gala
This year was full of sheer and semi-sheer looks. But amidst the crowd, Zoe Kravitz in YSL rose above the rest. The metal dress, the metal underwear, goodnight. The only thing more impressive than this look might have been the way she transformed Channing Tatum — but that’s tea for another article.
Troye Sivan at the Met Gala
Oh, the circle of life. First, the fashion elite sneered at YouTubers and TikTokers … now those internet stars are walking the Met Gala. But some with more pedigree than others. Troye Sivan, former YouTuber and current pop star, showed his strengths in one of the simplest but best looks of the night. The gown played with shape in the best way with its elegant circles and rounded cutouts. We love him, we love it.
Jonah Hill and Sarah Brady at the Don't Look Up Premiere
Jonah Hill’s best fashion moment might have been the Birkin and green juice combo his character sports in Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up, but his second-best was his blue Gucci suit.
Making his IRL debut with his girlfriend Sarah Brady, the pair’s matching Gucci ensembles were sleek and stunning. Doesn’t it sound nice? No shirts, just skin, and Gucci suiting? The powder blue power couple made headlines for their androgynous dressing and satisfyingly polished look — making for one of the standout red carpet appearances of the year.
Zendaya at the CFDA Awards
And we’re back where we started … with Zendaya. At the CFDA Awards, Zendaya was a vision in red, wearing a two-piece Vera Wang ensemble which made her look like the most gorgeous wedding topper. Giving his own awe-struck reaction, her boyfriend, Tom Holland (aka Spiderman) posted the look enthusiastically on Instagram with the cutest caption. So would we.