Ta da! The Katies – 2011

by Katie on December 30, 2011

Yes, it’s that time of the year again when Katie and sensational sidekick, Team Chutzpah, squeeze into their Tom Ford (borrowed) and Nicholas Kirkwoods (sample sale) and celebrate the hot and so not of the last 12 months:


Our Inspirational Icon of 2011: Hilary Devey from ‘Dragon’s Den’ – Hilary’s love of McQueen shoulder-pads and statement dressing somewhat detracted from her sharp-as-a-tack business brain and warm, empathic nature, yet her late entry into the Den proved to be one of 2011’s televisual highlights and we salute her.

The “Don’t call it a comeback” award for turning our opinions around – We’ve been vocal in our scepticism of Sarah Burton’s efforts since taking up the reins at Alexander McQueen, and some humdrum retreads of the McQueen archive and the safe, pedestrian gowns run up for Kate Middleton did nothing to dispel that, however a storming, nigh-on-perfect Spring/Summer 2012 collection has, frankly, shut us right up and we can’t wait for the next collection in February.
Our favourite trend of 2011 which we would actually wear – The Print. Never has there been a movement in fashion which allows a designer to express themselves whilst remaining firmly on message and, most importantly, on the right side of commercial. Holly, Mary, Jonathan, and Bruno and Christopher all stood out this year as the deluge of vivid, eye-popping prints reached saturation point, and looks likely to continue well into next year.
The Honorary Award for Internet Excellence goes to – ITALY. Dolce broadcasting their tweet-feed during their catwalk presentation, Gucci’s virtual front row, Zegna’s online 3-dimensional store staffed by a helpful Milla Jovovich, Milan has been spanking the rest of the fashion world in digital terms for quite some time, but it was legendary couturier Valentino Garavani who went straight to the top of the Internet pops with a bullet this year when he launched an online museum showcasing his entire archive.

The Duracell award for unlimited creativity – In a year where some detractors might have accused them of spreading themselves too thin, Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott remained fashion’s go-to-guys for stunning advertising imagery, and their stark portraiture for Dsquared2, and Loewe’s sultry Hispanic drama, were two of our favourite campaigns of the year.

Our favourite trend of 2011 which we can’t actually wear – The fashion film moved beyond its initial and rather dull beginnings as merely elongated adverts as the big names drafted in edgy directors, scriptwriters, and Oscar-winning actors, to bring depth, dialogue, humour, and pathos, to this year’s campaigns. As luxury houses, such as Vuitton, begin to build screening rooms in their flagship stores, it must only be a matter of time before the designers start making their own full-length feature films.

The joint award for our favourite fashion survivors sticking it to The Kids – Armani and Alaia. Giorgio Armani’s influence pervaded men’s fashion this year, from the slate grey layers at Dolce & Gabbana to Tomas Maier’s dystopian aesthetic for Bottega, whilst his Spring/Summer 2012 collections for both his signature and Emporio lines wowed commentators, and provided the definitive minimal counterpoint to the brashness seen elsewhere. 2011 has possibly been Azzedine Alaia’s most commercially and critically successful year to date, as the designer’s ready-to-wear shifted impressive units in the States, and his return to the Paris couture schedule was warmly applauded. Not content with just personal success, the normally shy Alaia took some time out to bitchslap his detractors, such as Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld, with a string of stinging one-liners. A man who plays by his own rules. We like.

Saving us all from a trip to Hell in a handcart are – The luxury houses, who have managed to ride out this year’s economic gloaming and report formidable trading figures quarter upon quarter. Let’s hope that they can stay the course during the predicted-to-be-tough 2012.

The most transformative affordable and addictive beauty item – False eyelashes. This year you weren’t anyone if you weren’t batting your enhanced eyelashes or having your peepers transformed at numerous press open days….and oh how we loved it!  From the nation’s favourites, Eylure to Superdrug’s extensive new range, from NYC’s affordable fun offer to the swish, show stopping selection at Shu Uemura, we lapped them up. And now we have FibreLash from Model Co to play with which is an extreme lash extention mascara kit.

Team Chutzpah’s most exciting recording artists of 2011 – Jamie Woon’s use of space and genre-mashing soul was a welcome antithesis to the Autotuned, overproduced R ‘n’ B-lite pervading the airwaves, and launched a legion of copyists. Lana Del Rey simultaneously became fashion’s sweetheart and the music blogs’ pariah overnight with her cinematic Americana Amy Winehouse stylings. Don’t write her off as a one-trick pony, as songs such as ‘Kinda Outta Luck’ prove she can do punky upbeat too.

Tom Ford He can do no wrong in our eyes. From quite simply the best collections of the season held in the utmost secrecy, to the stellar release of his new glamtastic make-up range, ‘his excellency’ continues to enthrall. And, Violet Blonde was one of the perfume releases of the year.

2011’s most ennui-inducing fashion mag fixation – Editors ignored the Bible’s message about worshipping false idols and elevated the gawkily-postured Alexa Chung, honking destroyer of dance classics Florence Welch, charm vortex Cheryl Cole, and the, frankly, (fashion-wise) drab Middleton of the Road sisters to the level of fashion icon, devaluing the title beyond repair and leading us to despair that anyone vaguely famous with a wardrobe full of free dresses is awarded iconic status now.
The Derren Brown award for emotionally-manipulative added value goes to – Nostalgia, which along with “heritage” became the most overused concept of 2011. Sly designers channelled sentimentality through the use of recycled 20th Century styles, retro logos, and bags of penny sweets on seats, whilst ice cream vans at events became de rigueur. Coupled with ‘The Great British Bake-Off’ and Kirstie Allsop’s patronising Women’s Institute nonsense, our childhood memories became Big Business in 2012.

The one trend from 2011 that we wish is confined to this year – As booty bags and free bars became credit-crunched, the sickly pink drink took over as event tipple du jour. Fine in moderation, but we were holding our nose after a few, these evil concoctions pervaded the London social scene for the majority of 2011.

Standing accused of FUGLY in the first degree – The ‘X Factor’ styling team, you ain’t got no alibi, those outfits were consistently awful throughout the series. Not content with turning Misha into a Matalan Nicki Minaj and Amelia Lily into a Christina Aguilera drag impersonator, their insistence on dressing Kitty and Jesy from Little Mix in the same shorts and shiny leggings every single week caused outcries in front rooms for the entire duration, and became a crash-course in how not to dress.

The Edina Monsoon award for substance abuse recovery and employee relations – Following John  Galliano’s spectacular burn-out at the start of the year, it was Dior CEO Sidney Toledano who kicked Galliano whilst he was down, showing the talented designer the door instead of compassion. This may have been damage limitation, but we still reckon a post-rehab Galliano show for Dior would’ve been a creative and PR triumph. It’s safe to say that Dior after Galliano has been a big old mess, and we have to wonder if Galliano’s rumoured replacement, Raf Simons, is the best man for the job, his austere precision contradicting the glamour and romance associated with the House of Dior.

The award for unwarranted audio ubiquity – David Guetta rammed the charts and radio waves full of his stinking French cheese, and provided a platform for struggling US R ‘n’ B acts intent on invading new territories.  Guetta’s treble-heavy Eurotrance became so endemic this year that the European Medical Association declared it the number one cause of hearing impairment and insanity. Probably.
The new Axis of Evil – Was unveiled as Bell Pottinger and its associated companies. Headed by a former advisor to Margaret Thatcher, this shady organisation supported Rebekah Brooks during the phone-hacking trial, provided PR to third world despots wanting access to our high-ranking politicians, and was even implicated in the Adam Werritty scandal which cost Liam Fox his job. As the Teflon Tories ride into 2012 faced with widespread public dissatisfaction, we’re wondering if they’re only still in Government thanks to Lord Bell and his minions’ machinations?
Our ‘Man most likely to end up in a James Bond supervillain bunker by this time next year’ is– Karl Lagerfeld. Ending 2011 on a high, thanks to his fabulous Metier d’Art-inspired Paris-Bombay collection, 2012 sees the Chanel designer launch a whole raft of brands under his own name, starting with his ‘Karl’ line for Net-a-Porter in January. We have a love/hate affair with Kaiser Karl, but even we can see that this is the wrong time to attempt world domination. At the end of the day, like most celebrity ranges (and, like it or not, Karl Lagerfeld is as much a modern celebrity construct as Lady Gaga) , this might come down to the likeability factor which, unfortunately, is a contest the designer can only lose.

And finally, our Villain of the Year IS…”The Chutzpah Kiss of Death” – We raved about Roland Mouret’s menswear, rhapsodised Richard Nicoll’s work for Cerruti, and went completely demented for D&G, only to have them ripped cruelly away from us. Oh why Fashion Gods? WHY HAVE YOU FORESAKEN US? Thankfully though, some good came from it, as Julien Macdonald has somewhat mysteriously disappeared from the schedule following Katie’s effusive review of his eveningwear in September.

The Katie were jointly compiled by Lee Clatworthy (@TeamChutzpah) and Katie Chutzpah. Please let us know your thoughts on our thoughts for 2011. Thanks for following us!
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