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Celebrity Trendsetters Pushed Gender Boundaries in 2019

The forces of fashion may not be who you think they are.

A K-pop idol, a duchess, a billionaire mogul and a trio of male celebrities pushing gender boundaries are among the “power dressers” influencing fashion this year, according to Lyst’s “Year in Fashion 2019.”

Based on searches, sales, news coverage and social media mentions, the global fashion search platform identified 10 celebrities whose personal style choices are influencing the fashion industry.

Denim darling Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, ranked No. 1 on the list. On average, Lyst said the duchess’ outfits drove a 216 percent increase in searches for similar pieces. After wearing five different shirt dresses during a royal tour of South Africa in September, Lyst saw searches for the category increase 45 percent over a month.

A fan of mixing accessible brands like Reformation and Veja into her royal wardrobe, the “Markle Sparkle” is also having a direct impact on brands’ sales. A blue-and-white Club Monaco dress she wore sold out in less than 24 hours, Lyst reported, and searches for J Crew rose 102 percent after the duchess donned a skirt by the preppy brand.

Denim brands have been reaping the benefits of having a denim-loving royal in the ranks. Interest in DL1961’s Emma jean, a low-rise full length skinny jean, ramped up after the duchess was photographed in a pair in October. Meanwhile, this year Outland Denim recently opened a new washing and finishing facility in Cambodia, which was made possible with the surge of sales it received after Markle wore the sustainable label.

Actor Timothée Chalamet landed at No. 2. In 2019, Chalamet doubled as fashion’s proverbial guinea pig by stepping out in an avant-garde suiting concept many men’s designers are pursuing. A crystal embellished harness by Louis Vuitton and a satin cummerbund suit by Haider Ackermann were among the boldest looks Chalamet pulled off with confidence. In fact, Lyst reported that searches for Haider Ackerman rose 806 percent the week he wore the suit.

Fashion ingenue Zendaya ranked No. 3 on the list, proving that Gen Z can dress with style and grace. This year, the 23-year-old actress gave mature brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Vera Wang a youthful jolt of excitement when she wore the labels to high-profile events like the Met Gala and the Emmy Awards. And the actress kept her fans guessing with creative red carpet looks that toyed with masculinity, including wearing the same men’s Berluti suit that actor Michael B. Jordan wore months prior.

Another young savant, Billie Eilish, ranked fourth for her unique personal style. While most pop stars rely on skin as a style statement, Eilish has been outspoken about choosing to wear baggy clothes—and it’s a message that resonates with her 40 million Instagram followers.

In a 2019 Calvin Klein campaign, the singer said, “Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-thick,’ ‘she’s not slim-thick,’…No one can say any of that because they don’t know.”

On the hand, Lyst’s No. 5 power dresser, Cardi B, has made skin part of her brand. However, the rapper made major style statements in 2019 with vintage couture and head-to-toe designer looks. Searches for Mugler spiked 169 percent after Cardi B wore the designer’s iconic half-shell dress to the Grammys in February. She maintained that momentum at Paris Fashion Week in September, donning memorable looks by Chanel, Thom Browne and Richard Quinn.

Blackpink member Lisa, and No. 6 on Lyst’s list, became the most followed K-Pop star on Instagram in 2019 with 27 million followers. And her fans are paying close attention to her style. After Lisa shared photos of herself wearing the Celine ‘Triomphe’ bag, searches for the accoutrement rose 66 percent, according to Lyst’s data.

Along with becoming the “youngest self-made billionaire” in 2019, Kylie Jenner nabbed the seventh place on Lyst’s ranking of power dressers. “Kyle continued to drive mass global demand for her outfits,” Lyst said, adding that searches for floral milkmaid dresses rose 66 percent in August after she wore one such frock. Jenner also outshined Hailey Baldwin at her own wedding to Justin Bieber. Her gold dress had more impact on searches than Baldwin’s Off-White dress, Lyst reported.

Along with dominating the music scene in 2019, No. 8 Lizzo won over fans with her body-positive messages and signature leotards. “Lizzo fashion” has been a breakout search term since September, Lyst reported, as searches for one-pieces rose 28 percent year over year.

Gucci muse Harry Styles continued to push gender boundaries in 2019 with his vibrant suits, pussy-bow shirts and unusual jewelry. After Styles wore a lone earring to the Met Gala in May, Lyst said searches for men’s single earrings grew 28 percent. He was also the inspiration behind a 78 percent increase in searches for blue suits in March after he wore an azure ensemble in New York.

And if Styles is the poster boy for accessible feminine men’s fashion, actor Billy Porter took gender-fluid red carpet fashion to the next level in 2019. Ranking No. 10 on Lyst’s list, Porter was responsible for some of the most buzzed-about men’s fashion moments this year, including when he wore a tuxedo gown by Christian Siriano to the Oscars. Searches for the designer increased 101 percent in 24 hours, according to the report.

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