Runway spills, $10,000 shoes and a mega-merger falling apart would be enough shocking moments in any year. Now add in a controversial first family that half the country loves and the other half loathes, and the craziness becomes even harder to digest.
In a year marked by major upheaval at retail — bankruptcies coupled with more powerful places to shop online — and super-hot marketing spots (Puma and Rihanna or The Weeknd, anyone?), the prior months also had plenty of I-can’t-believe-it bombshells.
Here are the 10 biggest shockers of 2017.
10. Saint Laurent’s $10,000 crystal-encrusted slouch boots
The super-sparkly slouch boots first showed up in February on the luxury label’s runway during Paris Fashion Week. Despite the steep $10,000 price tag, the stylish boots sold out everywhere. Still, a few celebrities — Rihanna was the first to debut them to Beyonce pairing them with cheek-baring denim shorts — managed to join the boot brigade, fueling public fascination even more.
9. Michael Jordan’s worn sneakers sell for the price of a house
Though he hasn’t stepped on the hardwood since 2003, Michael Jordan still ranks high among sports fans — even his once-worn sweat-soaked kicks. In June, a pair of Converse sneakers, which the NBA legend played in during the 1984 Summer Olympics finals against Spain, were being offered by memorabilia specialists SCP Auctions: the winning bidder paid more than $140,000.
8. Lady Gaga sports string bikini and stilettos to the beach
First there was the meat dress in 2010. This year there was a whole lot less. When Lady Gaga hit Miami Beach after Thanksgiving for some rest in between shows of her Joanne World Tour, she literally bared it all. Standing in front of the ocean, the pop singer wore Versace resort ’18 white embellished strappy studded sandals and a glitzy jewel-encrusted thong bikini. For added shock value, she posted on Instagram: “Call me Princess Peach.”
7. Mariah Carey spares a pair in sky-high heels
The Queen of Christmas has a well-documented love of high heels. This year alone Mariah Carey wore fishnets and Rihanna’s Fenty Puma line on the treadmill at a popular LA gym, but it was her bowling attire — for most people, it’s the standard two-toned laced ups — that had observers scratching their heads. Carey, hitting the lanes with her twin children, had on eye-catching black peep-toe pumps.
6. Melania Trump wears Manolos to visit hurricane victims
Perhaps it was a simple oversight, but the first lady inadvertently stirred up a PR nightmare in August. Melania Trump sent Twitter into full rage mode after a well-intended visit to communities in Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The problem? She wore sexy 4-inch Manolo Blahnik stiletto heels to an area that had been declared a national emergency. As one Twitter user wrote: “Melania Trump be like ‘When there is 30 inches of rain, a lady always wears 31 inch heels.’”
5. Gucci says it will go fur-free in 2018
A decision long in the making, Gucci shocked many — though the move was roundly applauded, PETA included — when it revealed its plan to stop using fur in its products because of the cruelty involved. Going a step further, the Italian luxury brand said it would continue to operate in a more sustainable manner, some of which includes investments in startups seeking eco-friendly ways of manufacturing textiles.
4. Harvey Weinstein scandal hits Marchesa and also snares Donna Karan
Following exposés in the New York Times and New Yorker in which multiple women alleged Harvey Weinstein had sexually assaulted them, his wife, Marchesa co-founder Georgina Chapman, found herself in the public crosshairs: fans of the brand immediately called for a boycott, collaborations were nixed and employees left. What’s more, designer Donna Karan initially came to the disgraced movie mogul’s defense, though she later walked back her comments.
3. Outdoors-focused companies get political
In a rather rare maneuver, executives from a number of companies — who preferably shy away from the heated political arena — entered the public policy fray in a big way — in fact several times. In a last-ditch, unified front, 25 companies wrote a letter in May urging President Trump not to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. Raising the drama even further, this month Patagonia shocked many with an unusual threat to sue the president because of “an illegal move” to eliminate the largest land protection in American history.
2. A mega merger falls apart at the last minute
Call it the deal that never was. When two storied family businesses said they would merge — Aldo Group would buy Camuto Group — it was supposed to create the ultimate powerhouse, increasing “both companies’ capabilities and broaden their reach.” The deal’s potential impact had reverberations throughout the industry. But in a surprising twist, both parties called it off in October, sending new levels of uncertainty and speculation throughout the footwear channel.
1. The Trump Administration blasts Nordstrom and plugs a shoe line
For the first time ever, a sitting American president personally lashed out at a department store. After retailer Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s shoe line, President Trump Tweeted that his daughter “has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom.” It created a public firestorm that led to calls for boycotting the department store, as well as anything sold by Ivanka. Blurring the lines further — and stunning historians — White House counselor Kellyanne Conway broke with government protocol by urging consumers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” in a television interview. That immediately drew criticism over possible ethics violations.