2016 was a destabilizing, baffling year. (Just look at the latest emoji update — among your cultural touchstones, you’ve got confused people, a liar and a face laugh-crying at an off-kilter angle that, to us, suggests existential turmoil more than it does enthusiasm.) And so, we spent the past twelve months googling up a storm.
Today, the search engine cum lifeline released its much-anticipated 2016 Year in Search List “showcasing the people, topics, events and places that captured the world’s attention this year.” Besides revealing that many people do not know a dog’s average gestation period (58-68 days) and that sangria is the new It cocktail, there was some interesting fashion-specific data in the mix.
- Rachel Roy
- Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
- Angela Simmons
- Kendall and Kylie
- Anita Dongre
- Sonia Rykiel
- Ivanka Trump
- Kanye West
For one, this year’s most Googled fashion designer was not Alessandro Michele or Demna Gvasalia, despite the splash these two made in the style world. Instead, the number one spot went to “Becky with the good hair” suspect Rachel Roy. While the American designer did launch her Rachel Rachel Roy Curvy Collection in Macy’s this past February, along with two full-fledged swimwear collections back in November, we’d bet good money Roy owes her winning title to a certain foolhardy Instagram post referencing that now-infamous lyric. But the joke may be on Beyoncé, who was only the sixth most googled fashion designer (although she did top the musicians list).
Of the 10 fashion designers to make the list, only four names — Rachel Roy, Marie Kate and Ashley Olsen, Sonia Rykiel, Kanye West — appear on the billing of a major international fashion week. (Although Anita Dongre, head of the eponymous popular Indian fashion house, more than earned her number seven spot.) For the most part, people who are musicians, actresses, reality TV stars and/or celebrity spawn first, fashion designers second populate the roundup. (A quick search for Growing Up Hip Hop star and shoe designer Angela Simmons yields zero references to her fashion work within the first page.) This speaks to the fact that the line between celebrity and fashion designer is now virtually nonexistent.
We were happy to note two encouraging stats. For one, many took to Google to mourn-slash-research recently departed sartorial genius Sonia Rykiel, who took the number eight spot. In addition, 6 of the 12 designers (sibling duos Mary Kate and Ashley and Kendall and Kylie function as a single unit in the designer realm) who made the list were people of color. It’s good to see that the unwashed masses are interested in a racially diverse set of fashion players, even if the industry continues to lag behind on that front.
- How to cut sleeves off a shirt?
- How do I start modeling?
- What is haute couture?
- How to wear booties with skinny jeans?
- When can you start wearing white?
- How to become a fitness model?
- What is boho?
- What did people wear in the 90s?
- How to dress like a hippie?
- How to become a fashion designer?
The top fashion questions of the year reflect the runways’ love of deconstructed shirting and street style stars’ nostalgia for the nineties. “How to cut sleeves off a shirt?” was the most-searched query, while “What did people wear in the 90s?” was number eight. Three of the ten most popular questions were career-related. “How do I start modeling?” came in number two (guess we weren’t the only ones dreaming of boarding that Victoria’s Secret plane). “How to become a fitness model?” took sixth place (workout, eat well, Instagram?). “How to become a fashion designer?” finished last (Tom Ford has some advice on that front).
The top ten inquiries also solidified the resurgence of 70s trends. The popularity of phrases like “What is boho?” and “How to dress like a hippie?” indicate that budding street style stars are dipping their toes in the suede and paisley-filled pool. (Or there were a lot of peace-sign wearing trick-or-treaters this Halloween. Whichever.)
According to Google, at least, Jennifer Garner had the Oscar look of the year. The public’s admiration for celebrities’ 88th Academy Awards style apparently follows this order:
Oscar Red Carpet Dresses
- Jennifer Garner
- Jennifer Lawrence
- Charlize Theron
- Rachel McAdams
- Brie Larson
- Alicia Vikander
- Priyanka Chopra
- Cate Blanchett
- Kate Winslet
- Olivia Wilde
And although we’d argue that Rooney Mara’s Givenchy gown deserved more recognition, thus went the year in fashion, as per Google.