A Dior decision. It's been 10 months and counting since Dior has had a creative director at the helm of its ready-to-wear and couture collections. John Galliano was abruptly fired in March after he was caught on video making anti-Semitic slurs, and the collections have been designed by the house team since then. Meanwhile, nearly every major designer working today has been rumored to be in the running to be his replacement, including Riccardo Tisci, Sarah Burton, Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs (who recently told Vogue magazine he turned it down). So who is going to take the job? Women's Wear Daily reported last month that Dior was closing in on Raf Simons. The Belgian designer at the helm of Jil Sander would certainly be an inspired choice. His modern interpretations of couture shapes, in high-voltage colors, have made the Jil Sander runway collections among the most influential in recent seasons. It would be exciting to see what he would do given the resources and archives of a real couture house. But Dior still isn't commenting.
Brazil, the new China. The momentum for Brazil as an emerging luxury market has been building for some time now. And in 2012, 30 high-end brands are set to open stores there, according to Forbes magazine, including Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and Fendi. With the debt crisis continuing to dog Europe, that makes Brazil a bright spot for fashion. When luxury brands started looking to China for business opportunities, designers also looked there for inspiration. Maybe we'll see the enthusiasm for Brazil turning up on the runway too. Samba style anyone?
Feel-good fashion. It was almost as if designers were trying to will optimism back into shoppers' mind-sets (and wallets) with the spring 2012 collections, which were awash with upbeat color (Roksanda Ilincic, Derek Lam), prints (Diane von Furstenberg, Altuzarra) and ethereal pearlescence (Chanel, The Row). Call it feel-good fashion.
Media mash-ups. Facing declining readership and more ad dollars migrating to the Web, glossy fashion magazines will continue to try to reinvent themselves to generate more revenue. Harper's Bazaar and Glamour are planning major redesigns, while other titles are plotting moves into e-commerce and entertainment. Last year, Conde Nast (which owns Vogue and Vanity Fair, among other titles) launched an entertainment division to develop TV, film and book properties. Details entered into a partnership with e-commerce site Mr. Porter, and Women's Health did the same with Gilt Groupe. Look out for more media mash-ups in the coming months.
Counterfeiting in fashion. The battle over fakes in fashion seems to be escalating after several recent high-profile lawsuits over designer trademarks (Christian Louboutin vs. Yves Saint Laurent over who can use red soles on shoes, and Louis Vuitton vs. Warner Bros. over fake LV logo luggage in the film "The Hangover Part 2"), and the Obama administration's increased focus on the issue leading to more vigorous crackdowns from law enforcement. (Last month, in a single raid at the Port of Los Angeles, federal authorities seized $4 million in fake designer jeans, apparel and shoes with Gucci, North Face and True Religion labels). The Innovative Design and Protection Piracy and Prevention Act (which has the support of some in the industry, but not others) was introduced in Congress last year and is being reviewed by a House subcommittee.
Shopping 3.0. It's now possible to shop from your desk and your phone, to pre-order designer looks straight from the runway (ModaOperandi.com) or borrow them for a special occasion (RentTheRunway.com), to ask our friends for advice (ShopWithYourFriends.com) and comparison shop for the best deal (ShopWiki.com). In 2012, there will be even more out there to entice tech-savvy shoppers. Some possibilities? Kiosks in brick-and-mortar stores offering personalized style suggestions, crowd-sourced clothing designs, and social gaming adding a fun, interactive element to the e-commerce experience.