From Squid Game and the Olympic Games to Bridgerton and Halston, what we watched influenced what we wore this year.
Fashion shopping platform Lyst, which monitors online customer searches to identify trends, released its end-of-year report last month (November 2021), and among its highlights were the top shows in terms of fashion influence.
In particular, Netflix appeared to be driving fashion trends with hits such as K-drama Squid Game (2021), which became a pop-culture phenomenon; and period series Bridgerton (2020 to present), which saw the rise of a style known as Regencycore.
Other Netflix shows, such as Halston (2021), The Crown (2016 to present), Sex Education (2019 to present) and The Serpent (2021), as well as this year’s highly anticipated film House Of Gucci and the reboot of Gossip Girl, were also mentioned in the Lyst report.
Ms Brenda Otero, the company’s cultural insights manager, said in an interview with fashion trade journal Women’s Wear Daily last month: “We are living the second decade of the democratisation of fashion. During the last decade, bloggers and influencers broke down the walls of the industry, and brands started selling to their customers directly online.
“Now, it’s all about cultural relevance and community. Fashion lovers don’t need to look at Instagram influencers anymore. They prefer to layer different styles and mix influences from digital-born trends, Netflix, musicians or video games.”
The hit Netflix series Bridgerton, set during the Regency period, kicked off a craze for 19th-century fashion, dubbed Regencycore by Lyst. Think corsets, gloves, pearls, lace and pastel hues, but updated for this century.
Less than a week after the steamy show started streaming, online searches for corsets went up 23 per cent, while the term Regencycore generated more than 105,000 social mentions this year.
Related article: Regé-Jean Page Explains Why He Isn’t Returning For ‘Bridgerton’ Season 2
While the eminently eligible bachelor Duke of Hastings, played by English actor Rege-Jean Page in a breakthrough role, may have had bosoms heaving, the dizzying array of gowns worn by the actresses was also breathtaking.
English actress Phoebe Dynevor, who played debutante Daphne Bridgerton, had a total of 104 costume changes in eight episodes of the soapy, gossipy drama. One of the top Netflix shows of the year, Bridgerton was watched by 82 million people within the first 28 days of its release on Christmas last year.
With a second season coming next year, Regencycore shows no signs of becoming old-fashioned.
Gaga over Gucci
High fashion meets high drama in the ultra-hyped House Of Gucci movie, opening in cinemas here on Dec 30, which generated lots of talk even before it began filming.
From the first time lead actress Lady Gaga shared a look from the set in March, all eyes were on the fabulously over-the-top outfits worn by the cast, which includes American actors Adam Driver, Jared Leto and Al Pacino.
After American singer-songwriter Lady Gaga was photographed wearing a Gucci printed scarf on set, there was a 67 per cent jump in searches for the item from the Italian label.
Related article: All Of Lady Gaga’s Best ‘House Of Gucci’ Red-Carpet Looks
Gucci saw a 173 per cent surge in searches when the official trailer dropped in August, and page views for polka-dot and lace dresses, as seen on Lady Gaga, increased by 100 per cent, according to Lyst. The Gucci aviator glasses worn by Driver has also seen steady interest.
The sensational story, which spans the 1980s and 1990s, follows fashion heir Maurizio Gucci (Driver) and his wife Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) as her ambitions to be part of a world of extreme wealth and power lead her to order a hitman to kill her husband in 1995.
Related article: How The Gucci Family Feels About ‘House Of Gucci’
The actual fashion house of Gucci, which incidentally is no longer run by the Gucci family, has also been on everyone’s lips for its high-profile collaborations this year.
In January, Gucci and The North Face made the most unlikely bedfellows. But the combination of luxury and outdoor gear took social media by storm, with more than 30,000 searches within 24 hours of the release of the collaboration.
In particular, its canvas bomber jacket is so coveted that it is still being hawked by resellers at five times its original price.
Another unexpected collaboration was with another high-end fashion house, Balenciaga, in April. Known as The Hacker Project, the capsule collection featured striking motifs and bold logos galore from both brands. It even started a trend of link-ups between mega brands, such as Fendi and Versace, in September.
For the first time, Gucci also worked with a South Korean star, Kai from boy band Exo, on a capsule collection which featured a teddy bear motif. Unsurprisingly, the collection sold out almost immediately after it dropped in April.
Squid Game is strong
Green tracksuits, white slip-on sneakers and red boiler suits were the hottest items for Halloween this year, thanks to Squid Game.
Netflix’s biggest series, about a group of desperados playing a series of deadly childhood games for a vast amount of cash, has become a major source of fashion inspiration since its release in September.
Related article: Everything You Need To Know About Jung HoYeon, The Breakout Star From ‘Squid Game’
It captured the world’s collective cultural consciousness, and searches for the show’s by-now iconic wardrobe spiked, according to Lyst.
In particular, the white slip-on sneakers from Vans, worn by all 456 players in the show, have seen a huge jump of 7,800 per cent in searches, according to British retailer The Sole Supplier.
Even generic white slip-ons have seen a 97 per cent surge in searches, which can be attributed only to the Squid Game effect.
Besides sparking a wave of interest in nostalgic and minimalist retro fashion, the show also made fashion icons of its South Korean stars.
Model-turned-actress Jung Ho-yeon, a breakout star in her acting debut, was named French label Louis Vuitton‘s global ambassador in October. A month later, lead actor Lee Jung-jae traded his green tracksuit for a teal velvet suit to become Gucci’s global ambassador.
Those 70s show
The 70s called. They want their style back.
Two Netflix series set in the 1970s – The Serpent and Halston – brought the decade’s fashion to the forefront.
British crime drama The Serpent, set largely in the hippie trail in Asia, made bell bottoms, halter tops, head scarves and aviator shades look boho chic.
Based on the true story of charismatic French con artist and murderer Charles Sobhraj (played by French actor Tahar Rahim), who preyed on backpackers, the eight-parter evoked the psychedelic counterculture of the time through its retro set design and costumes.
The many outfits donned by Monique, Sobhraj’s enigmatic girlfriend and reluctant partner in crime (portrayed by English actress Jenna Coleman), prompted viewers to search for similar items.
According to Lyst, the teal suit worn by Monique caused a 66 per cent increase in searches for similar styles after the show’s release in April.
Another 1970s series, Halston, transported viewers to the disco era. Starring Scottish actor Ewan McGregor as the legendary American fashion designer, the fabulous fashion of the period was on full display as the biographical drama unfolded.
Known for its halter-neck dresses, toga tops, clever drapes and column silhouettes, the Halston brand saw an increase of 550 per cent in searches after the show was released in May. More than 10,000 Lyst users also searched for halter-neck dresses.
The British royal family was under much scrutiny this year.
Hit Netflix series The Crown and the movie Spencer (2021), starring American actress Kristen Stewart, led to a revival of all things Princess Diana.
Related article: Everything You Need To Know About ‘Spencer’
English actress Emma Corrin, who played the late Princess of Wales in The Crown’s third and fourth season, brought back puff sleeves and shoulder pads, with retailers copying and updating the 1980s style.
One of the iconic outfits in season four, featuring a red sweater with sheep all over, including a lone black one, even prompted its re-release by its maker, British brand Warm & Wonderful, 24 years after the princess’ death.
The upcoming season five, which has Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki taking over the role, further fuelled interest in the princess and all her fashion moments.
Debicki was spotted filming a scene last month wearing a black off-shoulder dress with a sweetheart neckline, famously dubbed the “revenge dress”.
Related article: ‘The Crown’ Just Filmed Princess Diana’s Revenge Dress And Twitter Is Going Wild
Princess Diana wore it to a dinner in 1994, on the night Prince Charles publicly admitted to cheating on her, and it even has its own Wikipedia page.
Versions of the dress at all price points have popped up online and American singer Taylor Swift wore something similar on her appearance on talk show Late Night With Seth Meyers last month.
This was when she dropped her latest album, Red (Taylor’s Version), on which she re-recorded her songs in response to the original masters of her first six albums being sold.
However, she denied that her choice was inspired by the revenge dress.
Another royal princess, Meghan Markle, also came under scrutiny this year when she and husband Prince Harry gave an explosive interview to American talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
In the March interview, she dropped bombshells, such as a member of the royal family questioning the skin colour of their baby and how life in the palace caused her mental health to deteriorate.
What also caught attention was her US$4,700 (S$6,400) Giorgio Armani silk dress with a lotus print on the shoulder, said to symbolise rebirth and revival.
Fashion retailer H&M swiftly came up with its own satin version.
In fact, many items Markle is seen in public with often sell out, attesting to the popularity of the royal.
The Olympics, only the biggest sporting show on earth, is not usually associated with fashion. But aside from their sporting prowess, what athletes wore both on and off duty was in the spotlight at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
The women on Team USA were outfitted by American reality TV star Kim Kardashian‘s Skims shapewear line when they were not competing – from loungewear and pyjamas to their bras and panties.
Global searches for Skims items spiked by 112 per cent within 48 hours of Kardashian announcing the news on social media in June, according to the Lyst report.
Skateboarding made its debut at the Olympics and the Nike SB Dunk Low became a coveted sneaker, with searches going up 148 per cent in July and August. The sportswear giant also designed eye-catching skateboarding uniforms for the teams from the United States, Japan, France and Brazil.
The Nike SB range, which was released in various colourways throughout the year, saw year-on-year interest increase by 182 per cent, according to Lyst.
An unlikely fashion trendsetter, British diver Tom Daley became the darling of social media when he was spotted knitting poolside while waiting to compete.
Not only did he win gold at the Olympics, but he also won the hearts of crafters around the world when he made a pouch to keep his medal safe.
His knitting Instagram account, @madewithlovebytomdaley, now has 1.4 million followers, and he launched his own line of knitting kits last month.
This article originally appeared in The Straits Times