2014 was a lot of things. It was a year defined by headlines, controversy, and a style spectrum that seemed to tie the two together.
Fortunately, we live for round-ups and reflection, so we’re using end-of-year celebrations as an excuse to revisit some of 2014’s biggest fashion controversies.
1. Kim Kardashian, Paper Magazine (November)
Technically, this wasn’t so much about clothes than it was about the lack thereof. But since fashion is defined by risk, why wouldn’t part of its reigning aristocracy shed a custom Mikimoto dress (and reveal her butt) to secure the year’s most infamous photograph? Kim Kardashian’s Paper magazine cover is now the stuff of editorial legend—which may explain why sister Kourtney followed in her footsteps. (And hey: you go, girls.)
1.5. Kim Kardashian, Vogue Magazine (March)
But arguably not even the nude Paper magazine photo shoot was as controversial as Kim's Vogue cover story, which set off an Internet firestorm that resulted in hilarious Twitter reactions and of course, celebrity spoofs. Critics called the inclusion of Kim and Kanye the end of the fashion bible, while the magazine's supporters rallied behind Anna Wintour's decision to put a reality TV star with a sex tape on its cover. Meanwhile, sales went through the roof. Point, Anna Wintour.
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2. Kendall Jenner, MMVAs (June)
Will this list be made up primarily of Kardashians? Maybe. However, a special kudos belongs to Kendall Jenner who hosted the MMVAs along with her sister this June and donned a Fausto Puglisi gown that boasted two waist-high slits. How dare she (own her style so confidently).
3. Pharrell Williams, Grammys (January)
Pharrell Williams’ Vivienne Westwood hat now belongs to Arby’s, and there, friends, is your ultimate controversial fashion moment. Or is it? Truth is, after admitting he only “liked” the hat (which was originally designed by Malcolm McLaren), Williams put the hat up on eBay where it raised $44,100 for the charity From One Hand to Another, which helps children learn through technology and the arts. The buyer, though, was actually Arby’s.
4. Miley Cyrus, Bangerz Tour (September)
And then there are the moments where you want to gently approach the party in question and suggest they try another look. (Any other look in the world.) Case in point: this September, Miley Cyrus took her tour ‘o twerk around the globe and ended up wearing a fake butt that still in no way justifies her continued cultural appropriation via twerking. May 2015 be the year we know better.
5. North West, Front Row At Balenciaga (September)
North West is better than we are and the sooner we all get on board with that, the better. Enter: baby’s first fashion show—the moment that saw the almost-two-year-old sitting front row at Balenciaga with mom Kim and dad Kanye. Dressed in leather leggings, a lace skirt, and a t-shirt, the future leader of the free world already looked more put together than any of us ever have. As for what’s controversial? How dare none of us be asked to babysit her yet. (And she's also just a toddler!)
6. Angelina Jolie's Wedding Dress (September)
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie officially tied the knot this August, but it was less the nuptials and more the custom Versace gown that got publications’ attention when photos were released in September. (Maybe some of us thought they were already married, only to remember they weren’t after all this went down.) Instead of sticking to customary white, Jolie enlisted her kids to make drawings she had stitched into the train. And Brad? Well, he wore a suit he already owned. (Which, in Hollywood, is considered grounds for shock and/or awe.)
7. Jennifer Lawrence, Golden Globes (January)
It’s true: you can’t really go wrong in Dior. But despite the smooth choice Lawrence made to rep the designer she fronts for, we couldn’t help but agree with the similarities between her Golden Globes gown and, say, the dress Ariel makes when she firsts gets legs.
8. Katy Perry, VMAs (August)
In order to recreate Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s iconic matching all-denim ensembles, Katy Perry enlisted Riff Raff to pay homage accordingly. Fortunately, Britney was into it, tweeting to the singer, “Just when I thought the denim dress had retired… you bring it back! You looked amazing tonight bb.” Less controversial: Britney Spears is the literal best.
9. Rihanna, CFDAs (June)
The only other person who can sing “bow down, bitches” is Rihanna—especially after wearing a sheer, Swarovski crystal gown to this year’s CFDAs, designed by Adam Selman. Channeling the sleekness and playfulness of the 1920s, the pop star topped it off with a boa and crystal cap, successfully proving how deserving of the Fashion Icon Award she really is.
10. Solange Knowles And Her Wedding Party (November)
Not only did Solange Knowles wear a Stéphane Rolland jumpsuit at her wedding to director Alan Ferguson, she posed for this: the most powerful family photograph to ever exist. What’s controversial about it? That they immediately didn’t invite the rest of us to join their coven. (And she wore A CAPE!)