YStyle’s Best of 2018
(The Philippine Star) - December 28, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Category is...? YStyle looks back at 2018 in a roundup of year-defining moments in fashion, beauty and culture. 

Best in Fashion for a Cause: Ternocon 2018

Ultra-hip fashion giant Bench and the institution that is the Cultural Center of the Philippines joined hands for the second phase of bringing our national costume out of the constraints of museums, archives and festivals and forward into contemporary fashion with Ternocon 2018, a terno-making convention and contest for regional designers. It culminated in an event that required guests to come in a daytime or cocktail iteration of the terno, the balintawak, and all complied with touches of personal style — a success in itself. The exhibition by chief mentor Inno Sotto laid out across the Main Theater seats and the show by mentors JC Buendia, Cary Santiago and Len Cabili along with contestants, brought to life by the direction of artistic director and set designer Gino Gonzales, moved guests to happy goose bumps and tears of joy. Out of all local events this year, Ternocon 2018 stood out for being inspiring and inspired. — Marbbie Tagabucba

Best Shakeup: The Year of House Takeovers

From Hedi Slimane’s hotly debated debut at Céline and Riccardo Tisci’s fresh start at Burberry to Virgil Abloh’s appointment as Louis Vuitton’s artistic director (making history as the first African-American to ever hold the position in the French maison) and Kim Jones’ Dior Homme takeover (who also tapped Korean-American designer Yoon Ahn as Dior Homme’s newest jewelry designer — super cool), it’s clear that fashion had a lot of shakeups this 2018. Just last week, Calvin Klein announced that after two years, they were cutting ties with Raf Simons. Seems like Heidi Klum’s words still ring true: “One day you’re in, the next day you’re out.” — MJ Benitez

Best in Live Performance: #Beychella

In the 19-year run of music festival Coachella, there hasn’t been a single black female artist to headline its event until the queen herself arrived. Beyoncé killed Coachella; long live #Beychella. The internet renamed the music festival during her weekend performance and went viral on social media worldwide. It was her first live performance since giving birth to her twins. As expected, the first lady of music did not disappoint, bringing the stomping grounds of Coachella valley down with the help of her army of marching bands, battalion of dancers, Destiny’s Child sisters, her sister Solange, and other half Jay-Z. —David Milan

Best in Cruise: Gucci at Les Alyscamps in Arles, France

In a season where most fashion houses kept their cruise collections close to home, Gucci took resort 2019 to above and beyond the grave, so to speak. Always hip to the transformative power of a good fashion spectacle, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele took this season’s resort show to another historically and culturally significant location. From New York to London to Florence, and now Arles, France, Gucci held court at Les Alyscamps, a storied cemetery and UNESCO World Heritage site. As haunting and eerie as a Roman necropolis should be, the night-time show was a display of powerful imagery with clouds of smoke, rows of church candles and an open-air parade of baroque-clad creatures (living and otherwise undead) walking down a burning runway. If there had to be a runner-up in best graveyard couture for 2019, consider also Rodarte’s gothic presentation for spring held at New York’s Marble Cemetery. — Martin Yambao

Best in Show: Chanel Spring 2019

Life’s a beach with Chanel — literally. Karl Lagerfeld delivered one of the best shows of the season accompanied by their beach-inspired tweed looks, oversized straw hats, lavish accessories, sand-filled shorelines and waves — no, that last part wasn’t a typo. Apart from the impeccable fashion, the French fashion house pulled out all the stops with the set design and transformed The Grand Palais into Chanel By the Sea complete with its own lifeguard, tiki hut and mini boardwalk. — Francine Gacrama

Best LGBTQ+ Representation: ‘Pose’

Pose is a cable television show that brought 2018 the drama, the costuming, the eleganza — and not least of all, the representation we’ve long been asking for. As the first American series with a core cast of transgender characters (and played by trans actors), the show, co-created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, captures the theater and the fantasy of New York’s Eighties ballroom scene, as well as the hardships and class divide of the Reagan-era. We know you’re already obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race anyway; give yourself a herstory lesson and watch the first season of Pose before 2018 ends. — MY

Best in Attendance: ‘Heavenly Bodies’ at The Metropolitan Costume Institute

While we’re already looking forward to the camp-themed Met Gala next year (with Harry Styles and Lady Gaga as co-chairs!), this year’s exhibition, dubbed “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” is going to be pretty hard to beat. And we’re not just talking about Rihanna’s Bad Gal take on papal dressing, which involved an ornate mitre by Stephen Jones and a pearl-encrusted John Galliano for Maison Margiela ensemble. Not only is it the largest exhibition staged by The Costume Institute (with 25 galleries covering 60,000 square feet, displaying exceptionally intricate pieces from fashion houses such as Balenciaga, Valentino and Azzedine Alaïa, plus holy vestments loaned from the Vatican itself), it’s also the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most-visited exhibit ever, with a record-breaking 1,659,647 visitors. Talk about a religious experience. —MB

Best in Drama: Dolce & Gabbana’s ‘The Great Show’

To promote their fashion show “The Great Show” in Shanghai, the Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana released an offensive video of a Chinese woman attempting to eat Italian food with chopsticks. The brand quickly came under fire for mocking Chinese culture with their racist and ignorant video. And if that wasn’t enough, there were a series of screenshots posted on Instagram fashion police @Diet_Prada of an exchange between Stefano Gabbana and Michaela Tranova in which the designer made distasteful racial remarks which led to high-profile guests pulling out from the Shanghai show. —FG

Best Fashion Activism: Black Carpet

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movement sweeping industries clean of sexual misconduct is not one for subtlety, not when it’s been protecting perpetrators by silencing their victims for so long. Some of the biggest names in the film industry took to the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs red carpet and painted it black, wearing gowns in the non-color and using their screen time to show solidarity with victims and activists. It all caused a ripple effect: at the Grammys, supporters wore white; at the Oscars, it was given a voice through podium moments. In recent months, we’ve seen it move beyond symbolic clothing as actual lawsuits are being filed. We hope that justice will soon be served. —MT

Best Red Carpet Appearance: Lady Gaga for ‘A Star is Born’ at the Cannes Film Festival wearing Valentino

Just when everyone thought Lady Gaga’s career was already over, she comes around like a rising phoenix from the ashes. Like the legendary creature, the multi-awarded singer and songwriter arrived in a show-stopping feathered Valentino couture dress at the Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the premiere of her film debut in A Star Is Born. Gaga has been a red carpet veteran for the past decade but this one was like no other. The film and her performance has been critically acclaimed, putting her in the fearless forecast spotlight for Best Actress at next year’s Oscar’s. A star is reborn, more like it. —DM

Best Asian Representation: ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

The Kevin Kwan trilogy satirizing the affluent set of the Far East was a best-seller because it resonated with universal values of life, love and family, so it came as no surprise that the Jon M. Chu-directed film adaptation of the first book broke box office records as the highest grossing romantic comedy in a decade. It’s the first major Hollywood studio film to star an all-Asian cast in 25 years — a win for representation, making Asian lives aspirational without resorting to the clichés of martial arts movies, and debunking the Hollywood myth that stories about people of color do not sell. Back here in the Philippines, you gotta admit that the Kris Aquino scene helped. While opening to shockingly dismal box office in China, the world’s second biggest movie audience (it did open months later, where pirated streaming is readily available) the sequel China Rich Girlfriend is already in the works. —MT

Wedding of The Year: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Considered one of the most earthshaking happenings in the British monarchy, the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle is a modern-day fairytale story. A person of color, a divorcee, an American actress — these are just some of the qualifications you’d never expect in a member of the royal family. Their royal wedding made history by breaking traditions and embracing a lot of modern changes — a way for the royal family to get with the times and bring the British monarchy into the future. —DM

Best Fashion Film: ‘La Bomba’ by Jacquemus

Featuring a troop of models, dancers, actors and acrobats — all captured in one single take by director Gordon Von Steiner — Jacquemus’ La Bomba wins fashion film of the year in our minds. Shot in the summery (cue: salsa music) and sultry isle of Tenerife, off the coast of Spain’s Canary Islands, the two-minute short is an ode to the designer’s spring 2019 collection. — MY

YSTYLE’S BEST OF 2018
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