In late 2021, the fashion world mourned the death of streetwear pioneer Virgil Abloh, got sucked into the onscreen drama of House of Gucci, delved deeper into the metaverse and hid in outdoor, active and ski collections, albeit so was just out of the comfort of their homes. The impact of these fashion moments coupled with the rise in Covid cases is evident in the Lyst Index for Q4 2021, a quarterly ranking of the hottest fashion brands and products based on Google search data, social media mentions and the world’s 160 million browsing habits Users of the fashion shopping platform.
“As a second turbulent year drew to a close and some brands grappled with supply chain issues, initiatives involving NFTs and gaming platforms grabbed the headlines,” said Lyst. “Brands began experimenting with Metaverse-inspired virtual experiences and commerce, while broadly speaking, the future of fashion seems to lie in entertainment, collaboration and community.”
The hottest brands
Balenciaga, the Lyst Index’s hottest brand for the second straight quarter, understood the task. Prior to partnering with Yeezy and Gap, the Demna-led fashion house secured first place for a lively collaboration with The Simpsons during Paris Fashion Week and for its F/W 2022 VHS presentation.
At number two, Gucci lured people back to theaters to see the company’s criminal past unfold on screen – much to the dismay of the Gucci family. The brand continued to capture the attention of fashion watchers with its maximalist aesthetic and the Love Parade runway show on Hollywood Boulevard. Collaborations with Balenciaga and The North Face also showed different sides of the traditional label.
Prada’s cinema-inspired holiday campaign and quarterly climate strategy, Road to Net Zero, helped the brand finish at #3. The label capitalized on the Gen Z zeitgeist with a TikTok challenge that encouraged users to make videos while wearing their award bucket hats.
Louis Vuitton was number 4. Although the brand would likely have made waves with its men’s presentation and new store in Miami, all eyes were on the luxury house following the shocking death of men’s creative director Virgil Abloh.
The threat of cold weather pushed Moncler up six spots to number 5 in the index. The luxury outerwear brand has teamed up with Fortnite, Hoka and Evian to debut their first fragrance. It also topped the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes for textiles, apparel and luxury goods for a consecutive year.
Before making headlines for its upcoming collaboration with Birkenstock, Dior #6 jumped on the burgeoning ski trend when it launched its first ski capsule in the fourth quarter. The sports world in general is proving to be full of opportunities for the French fashion house. The brand has named tennis superstar Emma Raducanu and Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé as ambassadors.
A collaboration with Kim Kardashian’s Skims brand pushed Fendi up two spots to #7. The logo-strewn brand also celebrated the opening of a new Milan boutique at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
An Art Basel exhibition featuring artist Sho Shibuya and an electric bicycle made in collaboration with Super73 were among the many ways Saint Laurent #8 stayed in the public eye. Meanwhile, Versace No. 9 took a more conventional route, recruiting Bella Hadid for a campaign for its Virtus bags and opening a new boutique in San Diego.
Though Daniel Lee’s abrupt departure from Bottega Veneta and subsequent hiring of Matthieu Blazy sent fashion social media accounts into an uproar in the fourth quarter, the No. 10 Hottest Brand also managed to showcase its wares on new forums. The brand launched a campaign highlighting Italian artisans and presented its spring/summer 2022 collection with a show in Detroit.
The hottest products
Not surprisingly, a bag from the trendiest brand is also the trendiest product for women. Balenciaga’s small Neo Classic – a riff on the motorcycle bag from the 2000 era – conquered the No. 1 position.
Prada’s Re-Nylon bucket hat (#2) and slip-on shoes (#5) and The Frankie Shop’s quilted teddy jacket (#3) positioned themselves as versatile investment items.
However, the $13,000 Gucci and Balenciaga crystal-encrusted “Hacker Project” jacket worn by Beyoncé threw a curveball at No. 4. Meanwhile, the placement of Nensi Dojaka’s tulle bustier (No. 5) and Saint Laurent’s Mesh 68 boots (#8) are confirmation that there’s skin in them.
Coming in at number 7, Valentino Garavani’s logo belt shows signs of gaining Gucci GG logo belt status. Other accessories pick up cozy and handmade themes. Miu Miu’s crocheted hood and face covering land at number 9, and Ugg’s Tazz slippers round out the list at number 10.
Status symbols led the men’s index. The Gucci 1953 Horsebit Loafer ranked #1, followed by Omega’s Seamaster Diver 300 watch.
Aside from traditional shoes and watches, the trendiest products for men are focused on function and comfort. “The Gorpcore trend has remained popular throughout the year, with an uptick in the fourth quarter as consumers looked for technical outerwear and footwear that could withstand the elements,” Lyst said.
The Re-Nylon down jacket from Prada (#3), the short down jacket from Moncler Cuvellier (#4) and the essentials hoodie from Fear of God (#5) and the Alpha SV jacket from Arc’teryx (#4). 6. Underscore the popularity of practical designer outerwear.
At #6, Off-White’s out-of-office sneakers are the only kicks to make the index. However, Adidas Yeezy NSTL boots (#8) and The North Face NSE III Tent-Mules (#9) tick the boxes for comfort and warmth. At number 10, Stone Island’s ribbed wool balaclava underlines the mainstream of head-covering accessories.