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Balenciaga and Gorpcore Staples Heat Up: Lyst

At the tail end of 2021, fashion mourned the death of streetwear pioneer Virgil Abloh, got swept up in the onscreen drama of “House of Gucci,” delved deeper into the metaverse and hunkered down in outdoors, active and ski collections, even if it was just from 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 fashion’s hottest brands and products based on Google search data, social media mentions and the browsing habits of the global fashion shopping platform’s 160 million users.

“As a second tumultuous year drew to a close, and some brands grappled with supply chain issues, initiatives with NFTs and gaming platforms made headlines,” Lyst stated. “Brands began to experiment with metaverse-inspired virtual experiences and commerce, while the future for fashion more broadly seems to lie in entertainment, collaboration and community.”

Hottest Brands

Balenciaga, The Lyst Index’s hottest brand for the second successive quarter, understood the assignment. Before partnering with Yeezy and Gap, the Demna-led fashion house nabbed the top spot for a buzzy collaboration with “The Simpsons” during Paris Fashion Week and for its VHS-themed presentation for F/W 2022.

At No. 2, Gucci lured people back to movie theaters to see the company’s crime-riddled past unfurl across the silver screen—much to the dismay of the Gucci family. The brand continued to capture the attention of fashion watchers with its maximalist aesthetic and “Love Parade” runway show on Hollywood Boulevard. Collaborations with Balenciaga and The North Face also showed different sides of the storied label.

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Prada’s cinema-inspired holiday campaign and “road to net zero” climate strategy unveiled during the quarter helped the brand land at No. 3. The label tapped into the Gen Z zeitgeist with a TikTok challenge that encouraged users to make videos while wearing its pricy bucket hats.

Louis Vuitton ranked No. 4. Though the brand would likely have made waves for its men’s presentation and new store in Miami, all eyes were on the luxury house following the shocking death of its men’s creative director Virgil Abloh.

Looming cold weather boosted Moncler up six spots to No. 5 on the index. The luxury outerwear brand teamed with Fortnite, Hoka and Evian, and unveiled its first fragrance. It also topped Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for Textile, Apparel and Luxury Goods for a consecutive year.

Before it nabbed headlines for its upcoming collaboration with Birkenstock, No. 6 Dior hopped on the burgeoning ski trend when it launched its first ski capsule in Q4. The sports world, in general, is proving to be full of opportunity for the French fashion house. The brand appointed tennis superstar Emma Raducanu and Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé as ambassadors.

A collaboration with Kim Kardashian’s Skims brand bumped Fendi up two spots to No. 7. The logo-laden brand also celebrated the opening of a new Milan boutique in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

An Art Basel exhibition with artist Sho Shibuya and an electric bike made in collaboration with Super73 were among the eclectic ways No. 8 Saint Laurent stayed in the public eye. Meanwhile, No. 9 Versace took a more conventional route by tapping 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 the subsequent hiring of Matthieu Blazy, flung fashion social media accounts into a tizzy in Q4, the No. 10 hottest brand also succeeded in presenting its goods in new forums. The brand launched a campaign that highlights the Italian artisans and presented its Spring/Summer 2022 collection with a show in Detroit.

Hottest products

Unsurprisingly, a bag by the hottest brand is also the hottest product for women. Balenciaga’s Neo Classic small—a riff on the Y2K-era Motorcycle bag—nabbed the No. 1 position.

Prada’s Re-Nylon bucket hat (No. 2) and slip-on shoes (No. 5) and The Frankie Shop’s Teddy quilted jacket (No. 3) positioned themselves as versatile investment pieces.

The $13,000 crystal-covered Gucci and Balenciaga “Hacker Project” jacket donned by Beyoncé, however, threw a curveball at No. 4. Meanwhile, the placement of Nensi Dojaka’s tulle bustier (No. 5) and Saint Laurent’s mesh 68 boots (No. 8) is confirmation that skin is in.

At No. 7, the Valentino Garavani logo belt shows signs of gaining Gucci GG logo belt status. Other accessories key into cozy and handcrafted themes. Miu Miu’s crochet hood and face covering land at No. 9 and Ugg’s Tazz slippers round-out the list at No. 10.

Status symbols topped the men’s index. The Gucci 1953 Horsebit loafer ranked No. 1, followed by Omega’s Seamaster Diver 300 watch.

Traditional footwear and timepieces aside, the hottest products for men’s skew toward function and comfort. “The gorpcore trend has remained popular throughout the year, with an uptick in the fourth quarter as consumers sought technical outerwear and footwear that can withstand the elements,” Lyst stated.

Prada’s Re-Nylon puffer jacket (No. 3), Moncler Cuvellier short down jacket (No. 4) and Fear of God’s Essentials hoodie (No. 5) and Arc’teryx’s Alpha SV jacket (No. 6) highlight the popularity of practical designer outerwear.

At No. 6, Off-White’s Out of Office sneakers are the only kicks to make the index. Adidas Yeezy NSTL boots (No. 8) and The North Face NSE III Tent mules (No. 9), however, check off the boxes for comfort and warmth. At No. 10, Stone Island’s ribbed wool balaclava underscores the mainstreaming of the head-covering accessory.