The history of International Women's Day dates back more than a century, according to the global celebration's site. But given the current international political climate, which has already shown potential to divide rather than unite, the day feels especially significant in 2017. And yes, fashion plays a big role in celebrating it.
Be it early 20th-century suffragettes in white, 1920s flapper dresses, or the debut of Yves Saint Laurent's Le Smoking jacket in '68, fashion has historically played a role in female empowerment. As fashion month wrapped up yesterday in Paris, we're still reminded of just that. With this in mind, we've outlined the best of the best runway moments this season that celebrated not only women but also how diverse we are and how much power we have when we stand together.
Read on for some of the most impressive, inspiring, and profound moments in fashion so far this year.
For F/W 17, Rebecca Minkoff not only opened up the proverbial doors to her fashion show when she presented it at The Grove in L.A. but also recruited "Quiet" singer-songwriter Milck to perform. The song famously debuted at the Women's March in Washington, D.C., in January but felt as poignant as ever on the runway.
In another show of support for the Women's March, Mara Hoffman shared the stage of her F/W 17 presentation with the national co-chairs of the march, including Tamika D. Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Bob Bland, and Carmen Perez. On Instagram, the designer called the event "a true dedication to that work and the women who make this country and planet so amazing."
Prabal Gurung delivered one of the most memorable finales of fashion month with a march of diverse models uniformly dressed in female empowerment T-shirts. A cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" played in the background while familiar faces like Bella Hadid, Joan Smalls, and Candice Huffine solemnly walked down the runway after the presentation of Gurung's F/W 17 collection.
Christian Siriano has famously—and successfully—been an advocate of inclusive fashion since his start. So while his F/W 17 runway might have felt like a timely statement on female empowerment and diversity as he cast an amazing group of women who varied in size, shape, and background, those who've followed his career know it was actually just business as usual for the designer. Which is perhaps most impressive of all.
Admittedly it was one of the quietest, least frilly shows during all of fashion month, but the Marc Jacobs runway made a huge splash in its quiet way. Not only was the cast one of the most diverse lineups of women this season, but it also included openly transgender model Casil McArthur.
True to his over-the-top, sequin-covered style, London designer Ashish used sparkles and rainbows to make serious political statements with his clothing this season. Shirts bore messages including "Nasty Woman," "Don't Give Up the Daydream," and "Unity in Adversity."
The fashion industry has a long-held obsession with youth, but that's starting to change a bit. While runways from New York (Tome) to Paris (Dries Van Noten) this year featured women of older ages, it was at London Fashion Week that Simone Rocha celebrated four distinctly older ladies in her show. She enlisted models Jan de Villeneuve, Benedetta Barzini, Marie Sophie Wilson, and Cecilia Chancellor to bring a different perspective to her new collection, and it was very welcomed.
Technically, Halima Aden, the former pageant contestant and first to ever wear a burkini in the swimsuit competition, made her runway debut in New York at Yeezy Season 5. But when Aden also appeared on the Milan Fashion Week circuit for Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara, it truly solidified the Somali-American and Muslim model's place in the industry—and we can't wait to see more.
Missed the Women's March in January? Not a problem. Missoni, the Italian brand with a long line of powerful female leaders, threw its own on the runway of its F/W 17 show, pink pussy-eared hats and all.
Dior and its new creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, have unapologetically put its feminist views on display—alongside Rihanna, no less. But while we didn't see any new graphic tees this season, there was no need for Chiuri to spell out her dedication to female empowerment. She did it by dressing her models in powerful silhouettes topped off with berets, an accessory that's been worn by activists and revolutionaries throughout history.
Which moments from this past fashion month did you find most meaningful? Let us know in the comments below, and then shop more products that benefit women directly.