Entertainment

Ex-Vogue editor ALEXANDRA SHULMAN: The year style DIDN’T go into lockdown


Nobody could say 2021 was the easiest year in any way. And that includes getting dressed up. But as these pictures show, style did not go into lockdown.

Quite the opposite, in fact. The star dressers of the year demonstrated a fantastic diversity and pleasure in their choice of clothes.

A year into the pandemic, it was time to put away the tracksuits, trainers and pyjamas, put on a bit of razzmatazz and get back out there. And every one of the 12 women I nominate here — one for each month of the year — did that in spades.

Showstopping gala gowns, brilliant colour, flamboyant shapes and a confidence in dressing to suit themselves have been the markers of these women’s style.

Each has dressed with a dignity and elegance that has nonetheless been eye-catching, whatever their age.

Here are my Calendar Stars of 2021…  

January- Jill Biden 

Even having to wear a face mask didn’t prevent Jill Biden from demonstrating her pleasingly unpretentious style at her husband Joe’s inauguration as U.S. President.

Her choice of a glittering blue coat and jewel-collared dress by young American brand Markarian struck a note of joyful optimism on that chilly January day.

I loved the combination of her bare legs and gloved hands which, like the soft velvet-trimmed tailoring, combined formality with an easy glamour.

Even having to wear a face mask didn’t prevent Jill Biden from demonstrating her pleasingly unpretentious style at her husband Joe’s inauguration as U.S. President

February- Anna Taylor-Joy 

This young British actress won the Best Actress award at the Golden Globes in February for her captivating performance in The Queen’s Gambit. 

Even though her appearance had to be virtual and she was only seen waist-up on a small screen, she pulled out all the stops with the full length drama of this spectacular emerald dress, designed for Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri.

Taylor-Joy’s pale skin, understated jewellery and mermaid hair styling were the perfect foil for the majesty of this gown.

Anya-Taylor Joy

Anya-Taylor Joy

March- Taylor Swift

Nobody could have predicted that teenage country singer Taylor Swift was going to become the global phenomenon she is today. She rarely puts a foot wrong, either musically or in her style.

Here, at the Grammys in March, she’s a few months ahead of the now-popular shorter-length curve, wearing this exquisite floral Oscar de la Renta mini.

The high neck and long sleeves balance the short hemline and, along with the beautiful ornate embroidery, the whole look has a girlish grandeur that completely chimes with Taylor’s clever songwriting.

Here, at the Grammys in March, she¿s a few months ahead of the now-popular shorter-length curve

Here, at the Grammys in March, she’s a few months ahead of the now-popular shorter-length curve

April- Zendaya

American actress Zendaya could lay claim to the winner of the best red-carpet style of last year. Named as Fashion Icon of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards, she consistently looks enchanting, natural and very much herself.

At the Oscars ceremony in April, she wore a brilliant yellow cut-out Valentino Couture gown and more than $6 million of Bulgari diamonds, but managed to maintain the youthful casualness that is such a part of her appeal.

At the Oscars ceremony in April, she wore a brilliant yellow cut-out Valentino Couture gown and more than $6 million of Bulgari diamonds

At the Oscars ceremony in April, she wore a brilliant yellow cut-out Valentino Couture gown and more than $6 million of Bulgari diamonds

May- Arlo Parks

Arlo Parks’ distinctive gender-neutral style stands out among the highly sexualised outfits worn at music industry awards.

She looks so comfortable in herself wearing this pink jacquard trouser suit, simple shoes, glammed up with a single drop earring and slick of lipgloss and pink eyeshadow, which she wore to pick up the Breakthrough Artist of the Year award at the Brits in May.

Arlo Parks¿ distinctive gender-neutral style stands out among the highly sexualised outfits worn at music industry awards

Arlo Parks’ distinctive gender-neutral style stands out among the highly sexualised outfits worn at music industry awards

June- Sienna Miller

Wimbledon provided a much-needed pop of joy when it kicked off in June, plus the opportunity for fashion-savvy tennis fans to earn their stripes.

Not everyone could carry off this Andy Pandy striped trouser and shirt combo, but Sienna Miller makes it look like the perfect Wimbledon outfit.

The crisp blue-and-white stripe is a Ralph Lauren men’s shirt staple, which Sienna feminises with her gold jewellery and loose hair.

Wimbledon provided a much-needed pop of joy when it kicked off in June, plus the opportunity for fashion-savvy tennis fans to earn their stripes

Wimbledon provided a much-needed pop of joy when it kicked off in June, plus the opportunity for fashion-savvy tennis fans to earn their stripes

July- Sharon Stone 

This pale blue tulle Dolce and Gabbana number was a big hit for Sharon Stone at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Her big smile, short hair and, unusually, the practicality of pockets in such a dress all contribute to why it works so well.

This pale blue tulle Dolce and Gabbana number was a big hit for Sharon Stone at the Cannes Film Festival

This pale blue tulle Dolce and Gabbana number was a big hit for Sharon Stone at the Cannes Film Festival

August- Jodie Comer 

Jodie Comer, wearing this Armani velvet jumpsuit, elevates an everyday item to movie premiere status just by teaming it with a pair of strappy heels, cinching in the waist and pulling down that zip.

The success is in the sumptuous deep black fabric — accessorised, of course, with the enigmatic gaze that made Comer’s Villanelle such a star turn in Killing Eve.

Jodie Comer, wearing this Armani velvet jumpsuit, elevates an everyday item to movie premiere status just by teaming it with a pair of strappy heels, cinching in the waist and pulling down that zip

Jodie Comer, wearing this Armani velvet jumpsuit, elevates an everyday item to movie premiere status just by teaming it with a pair of strappy heels, cinching in the waist and pulling down that zip

September- Emma Raducanu  

When Emma appeared at the Met Gala two days after winning the U.S. Open, frankly she could have been dressed in a bin bag and still be adored.

But in black and white Chanel, her bare torso decorated with a chain of pearls, it was clear she was going to be a heavy hitter for any fashion brands that could sign her up as ambassador.

When Emma appeared at the Met Gala two days after winning the U.S. Open, frankly she could have been dressed in a bin bag and still be adored

When Emma appeared at the Met Gala two days after winning the U.S. Open, frankly she could have been dressed in a bin bag and still be adored

October- Sarah Snook

As Shiv in Succession, Sarah Snook is known for her stealth-wealth power dressing. 

Here, at the London Film Festival in October, we caught a glimpse of her personal style, which leans more towards old school Hollywood glamour.

This Giorgio Armani midnight blue velvet dress owes more than a nod to the black gown of Sargent’s Portrait of Madame X.

The look relies on the startling contrast between the darkly sumptuous fabric and the pale flesh of her décolletage.

Here, at the London Film Festival in October, we caught a glimpse of her personal style, which leans more towards old school Hollywood glamour

Here, at the London Film Festival in October, we caught a glimpse of her personal style, which leans more towards old school Hollywood glamour

 November- Alexa Chung

At last year’s British Fashion Awards in November, Alexa Chung bucked the trend for garish, attention-grabbing outfits in favour of this ballerina dress from Caroline Hua.

By teaming the primrose colour with black lace gloves, a black Mulberry bag and black Manolo pumps, she managed to escape any possible tweeness and put together a look that was modern but pretty — a rare quality on the red carpet.

Alexa Chung bucked the trend for garish, attention-grabbing outfits in favour of this ballerina dress from Caroline Hua

Alexa Chung bucked the trend for garish, attention-grabbing outfits in favour of this ballerina dress from Caroline Hua

December- HM The Queen

If anybody encapsulates timeless elegance and stoicism, it is the Queen. After the loss of her husband of 73 years, she appeared on her Christmas Day address in vibrant scarlet.

This simple shift designed by her long-time dresser Angela Kelly has a slightly cutaway neckline that reveals how, even at 95, she has kept her beautiful skin. 

Wearing the sapphire and diamond chrysanthemum brooch she wore on her honeymoon in 1947, she appeared not only as the nation’s sovereign, but as a woman facing her first Christmas without her husband.

If anybody encapsulates timeless elegance and stoicism, it is the Queen. After the loss of her husband of 73 years, she appeared on her Christmas Day address in vibrant scarlet

If anybody encapsulates timeless elegance and stoicism, it is the Queen. After the loss of her husband of 73 years, she appeared on her Christmas Day address in vibrant scarlet



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