Gaga, Snuggies, and Mad Men: 2009's Most Memorable Fashion

What a long, strange recession year it turned out to be. From the lowbrow (designer sweatpants) to the highbrow (McQueen platforms), here are the people, moments, and trends that have stayed with us.

28 photos
1/28
FilmMagic
What a long, strange recession year it turned out to be. From the lowbrow (designer sweatpants) to the highbrow (McQueen platforms), here are the people, moments, and trends that have stayed with us.
2/28
Joe Corrigan/Getty Images
TOPSHOP
Topshop's arrival in downtown New York created a fervor not seen since the arrival of other cross-the-pond shops like Sephora and Zara. Blogs tracked the delay and eventual opening of the massive store in Soho, and celebrities from Jennifer Lopez to Kate Moss attended the opening night party.
3/28
AP
THE MICHELLE OBAMA EFFECT
Everything the first lady touches turns to gold -- she's made the careers of designers like Jason Wu (gown, left) and Isabel Toledo (suit, right), as well as highlighting unexpected pieces like Tom Binns necklaces and Lanvin sneakers.
4/28
Loeffler Randall
THE BOOTIE It's not a shoe, but it's not fully a boot either. It's a bootie (or, in some rare instances, a shootie), and the style took over the realm of footwear with its versatility -- wear it in the spring or the fall! -- and its ability to neatly handle platforms, straps, laces, and buckles, while still staying securely on the foot.
5/28
Getty Images
HIGH-BROW SWEATPANTS
One of the more surprising trends of the year turned out to be a leisure/exercise staple gone upscale: Alexander Wang and Isabel Marant turned out pairs that, despite their over $200 price tags, were quickly snapped up by style-setters and paired with high heels and slick jackets.
6/28
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KATE MOSS WORE A TURBAN
Only a supermodel like Kate Moss could have turned up to the Costume Institute's "Model as Muse" gala in a gold dress and matching turban ... and completely pulled it off.
7/28
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KIEFER SUTHERLAND BROKE JACK MCCOLLOUGH'S NOSE
While Kate was rocking the gold lame, Kiefer Sutherland (aka Jack Baeur!) got into a still-mysterious altercation with Proenza Schouler's Jack McCollough at the Costume Institute's after-party, in which he may or may not have been defending Brooke Shields' honor.
8/28
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LADY GAGA
The pop star started off the year as an oddball performer with a hit single, and ended it a fashion icon -- playing Marc Jacobs' after-party in head-to-toe red lace and consistently turning heads with her off-the-wall, avant-garde ensembles.
9/28
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THE BOY WONDER: ALEXANDER WANG
He may look like a happy-go-lucky 20-something kid, but Wang's fashion shows have become the hottest ticket at fashion week and his accessories collections have sold out in hours. You heard that right: expensive handbags, sold out during a recession, in hours.
10/28
Snuggie
THE SNUGGIE
Who couldn't love the Snuggie? It's a blanket and a sweater all in one! The campy favorite even held its own fashion show during September's fashion week.
11/28
Getty Images
STATEMENT NECKLACES
Trend setters and red carpet regulars took to wearing over-the-top, stare-worthy necklaces this year, from piles of pearls (like this Tom Binns pieces, sported by Michelle Obama) to silver and gold spikes.
12/28
NBC 5 News
KANYE WEST'S ON-AGAIN-OFF-AGAIN FASHION CAREER
Kanye's designed sneakers in the past, but this year he was suddenly making kicks for Louis Vuitton (and vamping with Marc Jacobs at parties), said to be interested in launching his own line, and was even rumored to be interning at the Gap with Patrick Robinson. Of course, all came to naught, and instead he closed his year with a certain awkward onstage moment with Taylor Swift.
13/28
AMC
A WORLD GONE "MAD"
Mad Men took a scene rapidly careening back into the '90s (skinny jeans, slouchy tanks, plaid shirts) and made them instead lust for the '60s, inspiring the whole city to suddenly lust for a crisp bob and a skinny suit.
14/28
Gilt/RueLaLa/Ideeli/Hautelook
DESIGNERS ON SALE
You know what's better than a designer dress? A designer dress you got on sale. A slew of online, invitation-only sample sale sites took that concept to heart, saturating the market with daily sales, and basically changing the way we all think about noon.
15/28
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THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE
How does one cope with a flagging print industry and ever-decreasing ad sales? Why, celebrate with great fanfare a movie that depicts the way things used to be! "The September Issue" may have felt a bit like watching the Titanic set out to sea, but it also made a star out of a very worthy Grace Coddington.
16/28
WireImage
OVER-THE-KNEE BOOTS
You may have heard the adage that heels get higher during a recession, but what does it indicate when boots get higher too? Thigh-high styles were everywhere this season, from leather skinnies to slouchy suede.
17/28
Getty Images for Oscar de la Ren
FASHION'S NIGHT OUT
If you were there, you understand: Fashion's Night Out, dreamed up by Anna Wintour and the CFDA, turned the first night of fashion week into a crazy celebrity-studded, stores-open-late, shopping-and-partying bonanza, which included scenes like this one: Sarah Jessica Parker, Oscar de la Renta, Barbara Walters, and Bette Midler singing together.
18/28
AP
TWITTER THE RUNWAYS
Social media has officially transformed the industry, as bloggers and editors alike took to tweeting the highlights from Fashion Week and invitation-only events like the Rodarte for Target preview and the Victoria's Secret fashion show.
19/28
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KELLY CUTRONE GOT FIRED OVER ASHLEY DUPRE
Governor Spitzer wasn't the only one who's life was affected by Ashley Dupre showing up: When the call-girl-turned-tabloid-celebrity turned up at Yigal Azrouel's Fall 2009 fashion show (and was seated front row), the designer promptly fired the PR company running the show, People's Revolution (spearheaded by one Kelly Cutrone).
20/28
The Thread
SO ASHLEY TOOK TO THE RUNWAY INSTEAD
Not one to be deterred by some bad press, Ashley Dupre instead took to the runways at the Spring 2010 shows, modeling a -- we'll say it, rather unflattering -- monochromatic look at Bahar Shapar's eco-friendly show.
21/28
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STRONG SHOULDERS
The '80s came back in a big way this year in the form of glittering minidresses and strong shoulders (the power suit returns!), or, in the case of this Balmain dress, both mini and shoulders all at the same time.
22/28
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LILO'S TERRIBLE, NO-GOOD, VERY-BAD RUNWAY SHOW
The fashion community cringed when Mounir Moufarrige hired Lindsay Lohan to be an "artistic advisor" to the brand, but the situation blew wide open at Ungaro's Spring 2010 collection, which featured -- among other indignities -- models wearing heart-shaped pasties. Amazingly, Lohan still has a job, though the CEO has recently resigned.
23/28
NOAA
THOSE MCQUEEN PLATFORMS
Alexander McQueen broadcast his dreamy, alien landscape of a fashion show online for the world to see, and a nation become instantly obsessed with these surreal, where-does-the-foot-go platforms. Within months, they were popping up in Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" video and on Daphne Guiness's feet at a red carpet event.
24/28
Getty Images
EVERYBODY LOVES RODARTE
The Mulleavy sisters -- the designers behind Rodarte -- have gone from fashion insider favorite to household name this year, winning the CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year Award, and launching a much-publicized collection with Target that sold out online in just days.
25/28
AFP/Getty Images
THE END OF CHRISTIAN LACROIX
After a season of struggle -- including a much-publicized, possibly final couture show and mysterious last-minute buyers (who then failed) -- the venerable house of Christian Lacroix was reduced to a mere licensing operation by the end of the year, possibly ending the cult label for good.
26/28
Chanel
CHANEL JADE MANIA
We never would have guessed that another nail polish could come along that would garner the same cult following that another Chanel polish, Vamp, once did in the '90s. And we never would have guessed that it would be a pale, almost sickly-looking green. Chanel Jade sold out in stores so quickly that it started fetching up to $100 on eBay.
27/28
J. Crew
THE REVITALIZATION OF J. CREW
Remember when you'd only shop at J. Crew if you needed a basic cashmere sweater? Under the direction of creative director Jenna Lyons, the brand transformed itself into a chic lifestyle brand through expert styling -- chunky jewelry with cuffed jeans -- and rethought basics -- crisp denim and tuxedo blazers.
28/28
Getty Images
NO PANTS!
What's the first thing to go during a recession? Apparently, it's pants. Spring 2010 Fashion Week featured runways packed with models in various states of undress, from sheer skirts to straight-up underpants. Gym membership: renewed.
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