The names that rank on The Lyst Index of the hottest brands list of Q4 2020 are indicative of fashion’s divide. On one hand, consumers are yearning for escapism through designer clothes with celebrity cachet. On the other, brands that provide function, comfort and longevity make good investment sense.
Gucci, however, is one brand that wins both sides. The Italian fashion house retained its position as the hottest brand in the world, having “honed a pandemic-era playbook of reaching consumers across multiple channels” and by partnering with one of the most trusted names in the outdoor apparel space, The North Face.
At a time when most physical events are on hold and some stores remained shuttered, Lyst said Gucci excels at “capturing imaginations and generating conversation” through traditional means of marketing and creative digital solutions such as #GucciFest, the brand’s fashion and film festival. The fest tapped several famous faces including Gucci muse Harry Styles to appear in irreverent films shared across social media and in accompanying billboard campaigns in key cities.
The brand and Styles nabbed attention again—both praise and controversy—when the musician made Vogue history as the publication’s first male solo cover star in December, dressed in a powder blue Gucci gown and cropped tuxedo jacket.
Gucci maintained its momentum into 2021 when its hotly-anticipated collaboration with The North Face dropped, serving bold looks for pandemic glamping such as oversized puffer coats and co-branded hikers.
Increasingly important in the world of fashion marketing, gaming helped Balenciaga nab the No. 2 spot. In lieu of a runway show or other in-person event, the brand debuted its F/W ’21 collection in an online video game, which caught the attention of fashionistas and gamers alike.
The French label made noise with its collaboration with outdoor footwear brand Vibram, making $1,290 designer toe shoes an unexpected pandemic trend.
Luxury outerwear maker Moncler is the quarter’s biggest riser, moving up 10 places to third—its highest ever position in The Lyst Index. The Italian label was boosted partly by seasonality and the growth of puffer jackets as a category, but also by the launch of a collection with Rick Owens and the news that the firm would acquire Stone Island, Lyst stated.
Though busy launching sustainable face masks for charity and a new home collection, Off-White dropped two places to No. 4. The brand, however, made inroads in the China market with the release of a capsule collection on WeChat.
Still benefiting from buzz about the creative union between co-creative director Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada, No. 5 Prada had a new collaboration with Adidas that upped its clout with homebound comfort fashion fans.
A collaboration with rainboot brand Hunter and a dreamy presentation staged on sand dunes gave Saint Laurent a two-point boost to No. 6. The quarter also signaled a return to growth for the storied brand, as reported by parent company Kering.
A fluke, perhaps, in the age of social media, Bottega Veneta ranked No. 7 on the index, despite mysteriously deactivating its Instagram account. Bottega Veneta’s abrupt exit from the photo-sharing platform, however, led to endless memes and posts that kept the brand in the limelight.
New flagship stores in London and Paris are among Versace’s highlights for the quarter. The No. 7 brand also tapped into consumers’ desire to nest in luxury by bowing a new furniture collection.
Valentino climbed one spot from Q3 to No. 9, thanks in part to a new deal with young fashion icon Zendaya. The brand also experimented with retail experiences including launching a virtual shopping event and hosting an interactive event in Shanghai.
Though logo mania has lost ground during the pandemic, Fendi managed to round out the top 10, down four positions from Q3. It made inroads internally by breaking ground on a new production site in Italy. Fendi fans also got a chance to enjoy a popup Fendi café at Selfridges in London.
Meanwhile, Nike experienced the biggest drop, down eight positions to No. 11. Initiatives it launched in Q4, like the “Every Stitch Considered” collection and a fresh retail concept that focuses on community, may lay the groundwork for a bigger Q1 2021.
Burberry maintained its No. 12 position, and notably placed second overall for fashion in Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Lyst reported.
No. 13 Jacquemus continued to capture the attention of Gen Z, this time with a ’90s-inspired campaign and an all-pink capsule collection for holiday.
Alexander McQueen (No. 14), Loewe (No. 15), and Balmain (No. 16) held steady in the same positions from Q3. Givenchy, which released an updated Antigona bag, climbed one spot to No. 17.
Adidas dropped one spot to No. 18, but the activewear giant benefited from its high-profile collaborations with Prada and a second Ivy Park collection with Beyoncé.
At No. 19, Stone Island not only caught the attention of Moncler, which announced plans to acquire the heritage brand, but it also opened new stores in Beijing and Miami and released sunglasses in collaboration with Persol.
And rising star Fear of God, closed out the index at No. 20. Along with hosting a week-long “digital experience with luxury e-tailer Ssense, the elevated streetwear brand announced a basketball partnership with Adidas.