From hijab high fashion to the launch of Arab versions of major brands – not to mention the rise of the likes of Gigi Hadid – 2016 has seen plenty of big fashion moments. Here are our favourites.
1) High fashion for hijabis
January kicked off with Dolce & Gabbana debuting a line of headscarves and abayas, making the Italian label one of the first global brands to release a collection catered toward Muslim women.
At the end of the day, it makes business-sense. According to the 2015-2016 State of the Global Islamic Economy Report, Muslim consumers currently spend an estimated $230bn on clothing, a number that is projected to grow to $327bn by 2019.
2) Gaga’s style evolution
Okay, so her ever-changing style is nothing new, but 2016 has marked a complete fashion haul for Lady Gaga.
First came her appearance at the Grammy Awards in February where she paid tribute to David Bowie – wearing a custom Marc Jacobs ensemble – then her surprise appearance at Jacobs’ Fall 2016 show at New York Fashion Week (NYFW).
Later on in the year we saw a completely – dare we say, stripped down? – new look for the star as she set to release her fifth studio album, “Joanne.”
So what are this year’s defining ensembles? We’re going to go for her getup in the “Perfect Illusion” music video, followed by the beautiful Brandon Maxwell halter-neck dress she wore at her recent appearance at the Royal Variety Performance.
3) Fans go crazy for Fenty
Another star always making fashion headlines is Rihanna, and 2016 was no different.
The “Work” singer teamed up with Puma to release her very first full-fledged collection with the brand – dubbed “Fenty Puma by Rihanna” – which debuted at NYFW in February.
Featuring footwear, hoodies and body-con separates, fans went crazy for her creepers and furry slides. But frankly, we don’t get the hype… we think they look way too similar to those Zico slippers you get in Egypt in the 90s. Joke!
4) Beyonce’s feast for the ears… and eyes
Back in April, Queen Bey dropped her latest surprise album – her first being in 2013 – another visual title, this time called “Lemonade.” And music aside, the HBO release featured high fashion and lots of it.
Created by a team of 36 stylists, headed up by Marni Senofonte, Beyoncé wore pieces by designers including Gucci, Roberto Cavalli (pictured), Valentino and Givenchy.
Not content with taking over the music charts, Beyoncé also released her first athleti-wear range, Ivy Park around the same time.
But Beyoncé’s biggest moment this year arguably came in June when she was awarded the CFDA Fashion Icon.
During her speech, she said: “Starting out in Destiny’s Child, high-end labels didn’t really want to dress four black country curvy girls, and we couldn’t afford designer dresses and couture.
“My mother was rejected from every showroom in New York. But like my grandmother, she used her talent and her creativity to give her children their dreams.”
5) Project Runway arrives in the Middle East
It was long overdue, but an Arabic version of hit fashion reality show “Project Runway” arrived on our screens this year.
Alaa Najd from Lebanon went on to win Season One of the programme, which starred a celebrity panel of judges led by designer Elie Saab and Tunisian fashion icon Afef Jnifen.
But it was host Jessica Kahawaty’s outfits that really stole the show. The Australian-Lebanese model rocked a number of stunning Elie Saab creations, including this one from the finale.
6) That Suicide Squad outfit
It was the costume that hundreds of women recreated on Halloween. But did you know that the now iconic look worn by Margot Robbie’s character Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squad” was inspired by Blondie frontwoman, Debbie Harry?
Referring to the sequinned shorts and a hole-ridden T-shirt, Robbie told media during the film’s promotional tour: “I tried on like 100 different variations of the costume but when I saw a picture of – we found this picture of Debbie Harry – and I was like, ‘that’s it, that is dope’.”
7) Vogue Arabia launches
2016 was the year Vogue made its mark on the region. Vogue Arabia’s bilingual online platform went live in October, with its print launch slated for spring 2017.
Led by Editor-in-Chief – and Saudi princess no less – Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, the title’s launch pieces included an intimate cinematic encounter with Lebanese designer Elie Saab, as well as a video exclusive with Gigi Hadid.
8) Ashley Graham’s curves
From becoming the first “plus-size” model to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Annual Swimsuit Issue to fronting an H&M campaign, Ashley Graham has been making her mark, campaigning for inclusivity of all sizes in the fashion industry.
She’s also landed her very own Barbie doll – which she reportedly made sure she had “thighs that touched” and curves – as well as a gig as a judge for the revamped “America’s Next Top Model.”
She’s also set to start 2017 with a bang, by securing her first “Vogue” cover with British Vogue in January.
9) Selena Gomez named face of Coach
The world’s most-followed person on Instagram recently announced one of the more peculiar collaborations of this year. In a deal reportedly worth $10m, Selena Gomez has signed with Coach to work on a special design project with creative director Stuart Vevers as well as be the face of the brand.
The American label has been attempting to reach millennials for a while now, so this could be the ultimate investment.
10) The year of the Hadids
This list wouldn’t be complete without mention of the Hadids and what a year it has been for the American-Palestinian sisters.
Gigi, 21, co-designed collections with Stuart Weitzman and Tommy Hilfiger – which she promoted with a personal appearance in Dubai – hosted the American Music Awards and walked her second Victoria’s Secret show. She ended the year by winning International Model of the Year Award at the Fashion Awards 2016.
Bella, 20, joined her big sis for the VS show this year. Before that, she made her mark on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet in arguably the sexiest dress of the year (look up that red Alexandre Vauthier number), setting the tone for her personal brand, including a beauty ambassador role for Dior. And now, perhaps unsurprisingly, she has been crowned Models.com’s Female Model of the Year 2016, which was determined by 250 top names in the industry, including designers, editors, photographers, casting directors, and makeup artists.
There are other important fashion events that made our shortlist but missed out on a Top 10 spot, including: Jaden Smith’s collaboration with Louis Vuitton; Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 3 presentation at Madison Square Garden and the robe Prince George wore to meet US President Obama.