That said, in-person events made a tentative comeback, as did socializing outside our homes — albeit with masks on our faces and hand sanitizer in our pockets. More so than in 2020, we adapted to living with the virus.
Below are some of the most talked about moments.
The US inauguration’s breakout fashion stars
Sartorial choices at the event paid tribute to American fashion. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
The US presidential inauguration ceremony in January looked very different than in previous years — and not just because everyone was wearing masks. The ceremonial parade was canceled, the star-studded inauguration concert was held virtually and Former President Donald Trump didn’t attend, in a historically rare snub. But the event still offered plenty to be remembered by — including the fashion.
Ella Emhoff, the stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris, was a breakout fashion star at the presidential inauguration. Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Magazines published groundbreaking covers
Elliot Page became the first transgender man to grace the cover of Time magazine. Credit: Courtesy TIME
Amid growing trans visibility and an ongoing reckoning over racial injustice, mainstream publications showcased a more diverse cast of personalities on their covers in 2021.
Britney’s conservatorship battle concluded
Britney Spears was released from her 13-year conservatorship after years of legal battles. Credit: Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images
Beeple’s $69M NFT sale
The first Non-Fungible Token (NFT) artwork to be sold at a major auction was made from 5,000 digital images created over 13 years. Credit: Beeple/Christies
Lil Nas X’s ‘Satan Shoes’ saga
Lil Nas X’s “Satan Shoes,” which each contained a drop of human blood. Credit: MSCHF
Lil Nas X caused a stir in March when he launched a pair of sneakers labeled “Satan Shoes.” Featuring a bronze pentagram, an inverted cross and a drop of real human blood, the modified Nike Air Max 97s were the result of a collaboration between the musician and New York-based art collective MSCHF.
All 666 pairs — priced at $1,018 a pop — sold out in under a minute. Then Nike got involved.
Chloé Zhao made Oscar history
Chloé Zhao became the first woman of color to win Best Director at the Academy Awards. Credit: Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S./Getty Images
Prior to the Oscars, Zhao had also received top directing prizes at 2021’s Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and Directors Guild Awards
Pyer Moss made haute couture history
Kerby Jean-Raymond became the first Black American designer to present at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week Credit: Cindy Ord/WireImage/Getty Images
Titled “Wat U Iz,” Pyer Moss’ runway show featured models strutting in larger-than-life garments referencing everyday objects created by Black inventor, including bikes, traffic lights, fire escapes and chessboards. Former Black Panther Party chairwoman Elaine Brown spoke ahead of the presentation, which also saw Brooklyn rapper 22Gz performing with a live orchestra.
Balenciaga’s first couture show in 53 years
Balenciaga hosted its first haute couture collection in over 50 years. Credit: Courtesy Balenciaga
To honor this legacy, creative director Demna Gvasalia held the presentation on the site of the fashion house’s original salon, which had been closed for more than half a century, on 10 Avenue George V in Paris. The event was held in complete silence — a nod to how the Balenciaga founder worked on and presented his creations.
Princess Diana nostalgia hit new heights
Princess Diana nostalgia continued into 2021 thanks to anniversaries, an explosive interview and a new movie about the late royal’s life. Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images
The fourth season of “The Crown” reignited our collective obsession with Lady Diana last year — but our fascination with the late royal hit new heights in 2021.
A rainbow gown lit up the Olympics
Misia wore a Tomo Koizumi-designed dress while performing the Japanese national anthem at the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony. Credit: Wu Zhizhao/Visual China Group/Getty Images
Tom Daley made crochet cool again
British diver Tom Daley’s crochet designs went viral during the Olympic Games. Credit: Antonio Bronic/Reuters
The Olympic Games brought us a much-needed diversion from the pandemic. The splashiest distraction of all? British diver Tom Daley.
Statements were made at the Met Gala
The Met Gala returned after a year’s hiatus, with guests like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez using the event to make political statements. Credit: Kevin Mazur/MG21/Getty Images
Several A-listers used September’s Met Gala as a platform for political and social commentary — without having to say a word.
The Arc de Triomphe got wrapped
Wrapping the Arc de Triomphe in fabric was a vision dreamed up by late artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Credit: Benjamin Loyseau/Christo and Jeanne-Claude Foundation
‘Sex and The City’ was rebooted
The “Sex and the City” reboot “And Just Like That…” premiered with a shocking plot twist that left longtime fans shocked and saddened. Credit: James Devaney/GC Images/GC Images
The show, titled “And Just Like That,” premiered in December, and (perhaps unsurprisingly, given the absence of original costume designer Patricia Field) it didn’t quite live up to the hype. The spinoff received less than glowing reviews, as did the characters’ wardrobes, which — while impeccable, lavish and filled with nostalgic references to past looks — don’t look quite as effortless as they did back in the day.
A final tribute to Virgil Abloh
Virgil Abloh, beloved menswear designer for Louis Vuitton, died from cancer aged 41. Credit: Christian Vierig/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images