1. Karl Lagerfeld. Granted, Lagerfeld has rarely experienced a dull moment in his decades-long career, but in 2008, he enchanted us ceaselessly for 365 days. Lagerfeld eclipsed even last year’s champion Marc Jacobs, who finished at #11 on this year’s tally. Lagerfeld’s run began with those collections for Fendi, Chanel and his own Karl Lagerfeld label. Of course, the magical Chanel sets in the Grand Palais didn’t hur matters–the breathtaking carousel seen at the Fall 2009 show, the pipe organ that graced the couture show in July, the tweed jacket…and the recreation of the historic storefront on rue Cambon. And then, the side projects! New York was blessed with the Mobile Art exhibition in Central Park. Amy Winehouse’s performance at the Fendi party had the chicsters swooning. Not to mention the Chanel Resort collection, shown “in” the pool of the Raleigh Hotel. Lagerfeld also designed a coin to commemorate Coco and a teddy bear to commemorate himself. He gave an FGI award to Harold Koda. He bought a home in Vermont. He made a spirited ten-minute film. What could 2009 possibly bring?
2. Kanye West & Victoria Beckham. In 2008, West and Beckham proved that they love fashion more than nearly everyone. These two dream of industry domination, and it appears that they are primed to make their makrs. The gentleman spends more time in the front row than mot senior editors. West blogs passonately about his time in Paris. He lunches with the likes of Raf Simons. He launched his own clothing line, Pastelle. And he recently announced plans to intern at the Louis Vuitton offices in London. Beckham was equally impressive. Even sans stylist, she captivated millions with her outfits and introduced her own line of dresses in September–not to mention her starring turn in Marc Jacobs ads. Even as she promoted her new fragrance, she signed a deal with Armani underwear and capped it all of with a Harper’s Bazaar cover.
3. Zaha Hadid. When does this woman sleep? The Baghdad-born, British-bred architect has inspired and fascinated the entire industry this year. She designed the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion, launched a line for Melissa shoes, and created the astounding aquatics center in London. Hadid even earned her own action figure this year. She has enough projects on her desk to keep us awestruck for the next seven decades.
4. Nina Garcia. Anna sparked retirement rumors, Graydon cancelled his Oscar party, Glenda was named to Queen Elizabeth’s Honours List, and Franca’s Black Issue was a global phenomenon. Yet the most fascinating masthead figure of 2008 wasn’t even an editor-in-chief. Garcia’s journey from a decade-long post at Elle to fashion director of Marie Claire was intriguing from every perspective. Tabloids murmured, blogs theorize and even Ugly Betty came calling. Of course, the shift would also affect the fate of one of television’s most successful fashion ventures of all time, Project Runway. That little extracurricular project of hers will keep Garcia in the news for a good chunk of 2009.
5. Alexander McQueen. The man is a true paradox. McQueen rarely grants interviews, but he’s been busy designing everything from skirts for Target to limited-edition Chivas Regal whiskey bottles. He gifted the world with two entirely different and staggeringly beautiful collections this year, with his Fall 08 effort as the best-reviewed and most important RTW show of the year. “It was truly a wonderful, unforgettable show,” said Carine Roitfeld back in March. “I think the audience was with Alexander on nearly every single look and we truly experienced something emotional. This was the best collection in many, many seasons.” Those regal masterpieces alone were enough to catapult him on our list.