Zombie Boy


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Punk rock and fashion have been interwoven since Malcolm McLaren outfitted the Sex Pistols, so the rise of Quebec-born Rick Genest (aka Zombie Boy) shouldn’t be surprising. After living in abandoned buildings, joining sideshows and covering 80% of his body in tattoos, the 26-year-old was spotted by
Nicola Formichetti and became a face for Thierry Mugler – an achievement trumped only by his cameo in Lady Gaga’s video for "Born This Way." And let’s not forget his viral beauty video for Dermablend where he covered up all of his tattoos with the brand’s heavy-duty concealer before revealing them all one-by-one on camera (to date, the video has more than seven million views). Skyrocketing to fame on his own terms only, Genest’s commitment to body art helped cement DIY culture as an immovable force – proving that this year, individuality set fashion’s pace.

Shala Monroque
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"Fashion muse" is oft over-used, but if Miuccia Prada herself, the high priestess of fashion singles you out as the new it-girl, then it’s pretty much a sure bet that fashion insiders will take notice. Shala Monroque’s banner year proves that a true sense of style can re-invigorate the industry. Formerly an editor-at-large for Pop Magazine, the 32-year-old St. Lucia native befriended Miuccia Prada and redefined "it-girl", and has since been seen everywhere from art galleries to Fashion Week front rows. However, her days of obscurity are numbered: appearing on Town and Country ‘s upcoming January cover, Monroque’s relevance within the fashion world is tapped to eclipse even her current status. 

Bill Cunningham
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While the fashion elite has long been privy to the photography of 83-year-old Bill Cunningham, it was upon the release of this year’s documentary, Bill Cunningham New York that the masses clued into the New Yorker’s importance as the original purveyor of street style photography. Tirelessly photographing the city and the fashion within it, Cunningham has earned exaltation from the industry’s finest, yet has grown famous for his rejection of superfluity and excess in favour of his art.

Nicki Minaj, Andrej Pejic and Kanye West on the next page…

Nicki Minaj
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Fashion loves an individual, so upon the debut of fast-rapping, wig-wearing Nicki Minaj, it understandably fell hard for genre’s leading lady. This year that saw the hip-hop darling earn fashion accolades, as critics championed her eccentricities, peers and anyone vying for bright pink wigs. Ignoring trends and convention, Nicki Minaj remained shameless and unapologetic, throwing an attitude into her style choices and inspiring countless women who’ve grown tired of playing it safe.

Andrej Pejic
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20-year-old Andrej Pejic is definitely the prettiest boy in the world. The industry’s first androgynous supermodel, Andrej Pejic appeared on the runway in Paris modeling Jean Paul Gaultier’s gowns and has graced the editorial pages of influential style magazines around the globe, not to mention sent shockwaves when he fronted a Danish women’s lingerie campaign this year and thrust the industry into the 21st century through his emphasis on equality and expression. Modeling men and women’s collections, the Australian (who fled his native Serbia as a refugee in 1999) has since been named a top model of both genders, and been deemed a role model for trans youth who refuse to be boxed in or stifled. Pejic recently made a pit stop in Toronto for LG Fashion Week when he strutted his stuff on the Pink Tartan and Joe Fresh runway. Expect to be hearing a lot about him in 2012 and beyond.

Kanye West
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From college dropout to narcissism’s poster child, Kanye West and his fashion obsession went supernova after debuting a collection at Paris Fashion Week that could best be described as "Yikes." Though un-phased by bad press (and flying high off the colossal success of Watch the Throne), Yeezy’s champagne taste reflected both fashion and society’s arguable ignorance – especially as he appeared everywhere from his Twitter timeline to Occupy Wall Street.

Alexander McQueen, Daphne Guinness and Iris Apfel on the next page…

Alexander McQueen
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While last year we mourned his tragic loss, fashion designer Alexander McQueen underwent a posthumous comeback after earning an unmistakable place in both the Royal Wedding and the MET. After Kate Middleton debuted a stunning McQueen gown, the masses were left to grieve once again, but thanks to the MET’s heart wrenching exhibit, Savage Beauty, fans were given an altar at which to worship – All Hail McQueen!

Daphne Guinness
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There’s something to be said for slow-burning success, and if anyone can testify to the sweetness of consistency, it’s 44-year-old Daphne Guinness. A maven of style for over two decades, the heiress’ fashion choices have been applauded through time, but it was her recent couture collection and exhibit at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology that re-established her for an up-and-coming generation. Tie that into her just-launched collaboration with MAC, and the over-romanticized notion of British culture is finally explained.

Iris Apfel
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Renowned for her signature black round spectacles and more-is-more attitude toward jewellery, this 90-year-old New Yorker has been praised for her style since the 1950s, and continues to dazzle regardless of age. This year, she is bringing her appeal to the masses with the launch of a 20-piece makeup collection with MAC. Perhaps MAC describes Apfel best: "a rare bird who has always been ahead of her time." We couldn’t agree more.

Read more:
Holiday 2011 accessories: Diamond trimmings
Winter fashion trend: Cozy knits
Holiday 2011 must-haves: Metallic and sequin accents
Holiiday 2011 gift guide: The best gifts under $100