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Review of the year 2014: Trends and trade shows

From the appointments of Richard Nicoll at Jack Wills and Nicolas Ghesquiere at Louis Vuitton, to the Kimye US Vogue cover, here are the fashion stories that got everyone talking this year.

January kicked off 2014 with a new design for Drapers including our special fashion editions, all of which incorporated our new cover design. London Collections: Men started the buying season with chunky knits, oversized coats and checks and tartan coming through from big British designers. Pitti Uomo saw varsity jackets, camo and mustard flagged up as the key trends to watch.

February saw the announcement of British designer Richard Nicoll’s appointment as creative director of Jack Wills. The first collection under his “influence” will launch in spring 2015.

The force was felt at New York fashion week, as Rodarte unveiled its Star Wars dresses. The trend was then seen again at Preen’s show at London Fashion Week which prompted much division of opinion between the Drapers’ fashion team. Meanwhile, London Fashion Week saw pleats, velvet and shearling emerge as some of the biggest trends for autumn 14.

March was the month that gave us the hotly anticipated first show for Nicolas Ghesquiere as artistic director of Louis Vuitton womenswear, following Marc Jacobs’ departure. Unsurprisingly, it went down a storm with press and buyers alike.

Sadly the fashion industry also mourned the loss of American designer L’Wren Scott, who was found dead in her New York apartment, aged 47.

Marks & Spencer unveiled its second Leading Ladies campaign, with Annie Lennox and Emma Thompson included in the line up of stars. The campaign was shot by Annie Leibovitz.

In April the world was introduced to the Kimye US Vogue cover, a controversial move by editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. Love them or hate them, there’s no doubt Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were some of the most talked about names in fashion for 2014.

A harmonious move saw menswear brands and buyers breath a sigh of relief at the announcement that Florence-based menswear trade show Pitti Uomo and London Collections: Men would no longer clash over dates as of January 2015.

Our seasonal Hit or Miss feature resulted in Oasis coming out on top for womenswear on the high street, with strong product and stand-out visual merchandising, while Next won for menswear with its service, attention to detail and great value for money.

In May tributes poured in from ex-students, friends and admirers of Professor Louise Wilson OBE, director of the Fashion MA course at Central St Martins, who passed away aged 52. Former mentee and British designer Christopher Kane, dedicated his spring 15 collection to the professor, who also taught Alexander McQueen and Jonathan Saunders.

June saw Bath Spa University student Grace Weller take home both the Womenswear Award and the coveted George Gold Award at Graduate Fashion Week. She stepped into the shoes of previous Gold Award winners including Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, Stella McCartney and Julien Macdonald.

In July Drapers unveiled the cover of our spring 15 womenswear special, with 86 year old model Daphne Selfe.

It was also announced that Bread and Butter would be moving to Barcelona, which was then retracted in August setting off a chain of rather confusing announcements about the future of the trade show.

In August supermarket chain Lidl launched its first UK clothing collection, a low priced womenswear label competing with the likes of H&M, George and Primark.

Karl Lagerfeld’s controversial protest catwalk got everyone talking in September as the designer sent models down the Chanel spring 15 runway armed with banners and megaphones, featuring slogans such as “History is Her Story”.

Meanwhile, the world watched with baited breath as Apple unveiled the new Apple Watch in California, one of the first steps in the wearable tech revolution the industry has been speculating on for months.

October saw the sad passing of designer Oscar de la Renta at age 82, also known as the great-grandfather of American fashion.

Rounding up the key trends from New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion week, the 1970s took off across the board, with bohemian fringing suede and denim standing out. Military khaki, gingham and monochrome are also tipped to be the next big thing for spring 15.

In November we celebrated the winners of the 2014 Drapers Awards at Old Billingsgate in London. Designer Betty Jackson became both the first woman and the first designer to win the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the event.

We also tackled London’s Oxford Street for our autumn Hit or Miss high street review, with a new rating system and stores divided into premium, value, mainstream and young fashion. Womenswear and menswear stores alike were judged on their service, visual merchandising and value for money, with the likes of French Connection performing well for women and Marks and Spencer winning points for its menswear.

December brought the news that Sports Direct founder and executive deputy chairman Mike Ashley had taken the number one spot in the Drapers Top 100 list of fashion’s most influential people in 2014.

Meanwhile, we previewed the upcoming spring 15 collections on the high street in one of our last fashion features of the year. Expect the 1970s bohemian trend, monochrome and military khaki to pop up across the high street early next year.

What do you think were the most talked about stories of 2014? Let us know in the comments below.

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