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Mirror, Mirror: 2015's best fashion moments

We are leaving behind a year of fedoras and lapel pins, rainbow hair and stiletto nails, man buns and topknots.

Kyemah McEntyre said she designed her prom gown as a nod to her African American heritage. The photo of the gown was retweeted at least 5,000 times.
Kyemah McEntyre said she designed her prom gown as a nod to her African American heritage. The photo of the gown was retweeted at least 5,000 times.Read moreCourtesy Image

We are leaving behind a year of fedoras and lapel pins, rainbow hair and stiletto nails, man buns and topknots.

Other stylish staples of 2015 included athleisure - Tory Burch debuted her active line, Tory Sport, in September - and animal prints - see the formfitting wardrobe of Empire's Cookie Lyon.

But the biggest style stories touched on race, gender, sexuality, and body image. Designer comings and goings were big news, too, as were their collaborations with fast-fashion haunts.

So before we enter a new year of red carpets and runways, let's stop to remember the best fashion moments of 2015:

From the moment Vanity Fair's glammed-up glossy of Caitlyn Jenner hit our news feeds in July, transgender issues were thrust into the mainstream.

But the same story had been playing out on the runways for years. In fact, the Pantone Color Institute chose two colors of the year this month - Rose Quartz and Serenity - acknowledging fashion's blurring gender lines.

Who better to tell the evolving story of genderless apparel than gender-bending models, many of whom had firsts this year, too.

In May, Andreja Pejic became the first transgender model to land a profile story in Vogue magazine. That same month, Hari Nef, whose father is Philadelphia public relations guru David Neff, became the first transgender model to sign with IMG Models, a division of the sports, fashion, and media company that is one of the owners of New York Fashion Week.

New York Fashion Week had its own transformation: The September spring 2016 collections marked the takeover by IMG/WME, and the first time in 22 years the collections didn't have a central location.

During the showing of those collections, a new generation of models was introduced - including Julia Fleming of Wyndmoor. Fleming, 19, debuted on the runway of former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham and ended her breakout season on the Valentino stage.

Models' pics were being posted online, but months before, high schoolers nationwide were liking images from prom night with the hashtag #prom2K15.

In June, Kyemah McEntyre of East Orange, N.J., saw her red gown retweeted at least 5,000 times and favorited more than 8,000 times by influencers including editors at Teen Vogue and Nicki Minaj. McEntyre, who designed the gown herself, said she chose the stunning kente cloth print as a nod to her African American heritage.

Other wins for diversity this year: In April, Ashley Graham was the first plus-size model featured in an advertisement in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

On Dec. 8, a Barbie doll fashioned in the likeness of Academy Award-nominated director Ava DuVernay sold out within minutes of its posting on Mattel's website.

Later that same night, America watched Maria Borges walk the Victoria's Secret runway with short, natural hair - a first.

But diversity also suffered some blows and blunders.

In March, Fashion Police host Giuliana Rancic nearly got kicked off the show when she made a post-Academy Award gaffe insinuating that Zendaya's locks made her look like she smelled of patchouli and marijuana.

In June, it was discovered that Rachel Dolezal, then president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, was white after years of living as a black woman. How did she pull it off? She adopted her style cues from black women, including the curl pattern.

Allure magazine took a page out of Dolezal's manual with its August issue article, "Yes, you can have an Afro if you have straight hair." In that same miscalculated vein, the Pop Sugar website was forced to delete a story this month with the unfortunate headline: "Kylie Jenner is basically a mix of all your favorite Latina celebrities."

Fans of tennis great Serena Williams came to her defense in July when media outlets described her muscular (and winning) body as less than desirable. Yet the 34-year-old athlete and fashion mogul was named Sports Illustrated's Person of the Year in December.

Mixed-martial artist Ronda Rousey also took heat for her curvy frame. But the 28-year-old actress was voted ESPN's Best Female Athlete Ever.

It seems to me curvy women are ruling the world.

Some of the world's most influential fashion houses lost creative directors. Donna Karan left DKNY in July; she was replaced by industry darlings Dao Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School.

Alexander Wang took his final bow for the Balenciaga runway in September. (He will continue to design his eponymous line.) And the quirky yet multitalented Alber Elbaz announced in October his plans to step down as creative director of Lanvin.

Other designers solidified their connections with fans, either on the runways or through big boxes.

Riccardo Tisci extended an invitation to the Givenchy runway show to people beyond reporters, buyers, and celebrities.

In April, the Lilly Pulitzer capsule collection blew out of Target stores and online, and in November, H&M sold out its collaboration with Balmain almost immediately.

The prices were a real steal. A Balmain blazer can easily fetch $2,500. But H&M shoppers paid a few hundred dollars.

My cool-collaborators prediction for 2016?

Kanye West and Zara.