10 memorable CLT_Style moments in 2014

Glance back through 2014 from a style perspective and there was rather a lot going on.

We’ve chosen 10 moments from the year in style around Charlotte. (We could say events, or happenings, or occurrences, but in 2014 fashion-speak, the word “moment” is having a moment.) We’ve got a 10-year ode to haute and a turkey with a split; a football player doing something different; and a basketball team trying to get back to something it used to do right. Welcome. If you have moments you think we missed, email us at

HAUTE: International designer Giambattista Valli goes global – beginning in Charlotte. His Aug. 26 show here was the first time he’d done a couture show outside Paris, and he’s since shown in Shanghai. Got that? First Charlotte. Then the fashion capital of Asia. Laura Vinroot Poole of Capitol saw the Italian designer’s fall 2014 collection and imagined it at the Duke Mansion: “The magnolia-printed silk mousseline, the hand-embroidered wisteria and the ice-cream-colored palette of the gowns could have stepped straight out of Nanaline and Doris Duke’s wardrobes upstairs,” she told the Observer. “I saw Giambattista a few weeks after the show and he embraced me tightly and told me that he had never been happier with an event than ours in Charlotte. He said it was like a dream it was so perfectly beautiful. I assured him that it was no dream … just a really dreamy place called Charlotte.” (If the ombre dress looks familiar, it may be because Lena Dunham caused a stir wearing one to the Emmys on Aug. 25.)

SPORTS REDUX: Teal and purple return to the Queen City. Hugo went black tie for the opener, but plenty of fans pulled out their vintage Alexander Julian-engineered palette of brights, while others bought new stuff that harked to the pro-sports-style heyday of the mid-’90s Charlotte Hornets. No, the team didn’t ask the designer to do the current uniforms (more’s the pity), but at least we can dispense with that sickly orange.

HAUTE: Opera Carolina’s Bella Notte turns 10. For a decade, it’s been the luxe-est, haute-est, biggest bring-out-your-duds event in town. And yes, in this 10th-anniversary edition, there were wows aplenty, from camo tux pants (a timely bit of flash from a guy preparing to open the menswear corollary to Capitol) to gowns by designers including Dolce & Gabbana, the aforementioned Valli, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Rodarte, L’Wrenn Scott and Valentino.

SPORTS: Cam Newton brings the national sports media to a grinding halt in what we’ve decided to call “Cam-pris.” The Washington Post gasped of his news-conference attire: “Cam Newton gives NFL its fashion statement of the season,” explaining helpfully that he “marched to the beat of his own fashion drummer.” But, opined the noted fashion experts of ESPN, his “postgame style might be a bit too much for Charlotte.” In November, Newton explained the look to us: “They were jogger sweats, very fashionable. I just wanted to do something different. I try to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way – that’s my life. ... Some people turned their noses up, like, ‘Why would you want to wear that?’ Other people were like, ‘That’s cool, that’s different.’ I’m not in the business to do things for nobody’s happiness except mine. If you’re inspired to do your own thing, then that’s great.”

THE PEOPLE’S FASHION: H&M triples up. This year, the Swedish Hennes & Mauritz opened stores at Carolina Place and SouthPark, bringing its area total to three (Northlake was first), and saturating us with its Euro-influenced, low/mid-priced wear. Now, when Isabel Marant and Alexander Wang do collaborations, CLT has triple-threat access. (But when, oh when, will the super-cool upscale sibling COS come to town?)

WHICH PEOPLE’S FASHION? Yoga pants take a hit. Tracy Curtis began a February column with “Ladies … Yoga pants are not pants! … Much like tie-dye has nothing to do with neckties, and gumshoes have nothing to do with shoes (or gum), yoga pants have nothing to do with pants … and shouldn’t be worn as such.” The fallout was epic – including a WBT on-air segment in which she, dubbed Yoga Pants Chick, defended her position (citing as evidence the fact that wearers’ every nook and cranny are ... well evident); and the intervention of her friends, who explained to Curtis that she had “declared war on the women of Charlotte.” (CLT_Style’s at work on a story on “athleisure,” the genre-bending clothing form popping up everywhere. Love it? Hate it? Email us at

CAROLINIAN (KID VERSION) BIG-TIME: Fort Mill model goes big. Peyton Murray, 9, of Fort Mill, S.C., got the international giant-poster-in-the-store treatment from GapKids, which shot her in New York City this summer. Closest place to uptown to gawk: The SouthPark store where Peyton’s photos wallpaper two big expanses. “When I see the pictures, all these memories come back to me from modeling in New York – good memories, funny memories,” Peyton says. “When I was modeling, I thought they were just going to be small little pictures the size of a computer screen.” When she finally went to see her picture in the SouthPark store, Peyton says, “It was amazing.”

CAROLINIAN (ADULT VERSION) BIG-TIME: “Project Runway” crowd favorite (and Raleigh-based) designer Justin LeBlanc goes All-Star. After finishing a fascinating third in his initial “Project Runway” outing (and making that killer tinkling-test-tube dress, in a collection that acknowledged his transition from total deafness to life with a cochlear implant), LeBlanc has shown a collection at the Charlotte Fashion Guild’s Style Week in September, resurfaced in the Lifetime network’s All-Stars version of “Runway” in October, and has hung in on the All-Stars show ever since. Six of 14 designers are gone; the next new episode is Jan. 8.

CELEB ACTS UP IN CLT, PART 1: Singer Miley Cyrus did this here (well, she’s 22):

CELEB ACTS UP IN CLT, PART II: And designer Betsey Johnson did this here (well, she’s 72):

We have no words.