Nostalgia and Royalty Topped Google's Fashion Searches in 2018

The '80s, '90s and '00s throwbacks we saw on the runways, in collaborations and all over Instagram were among the search engine's most popular fashion inquiries this year.
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The '80s are back, baby! A look from Tom Ford's Fall 2018 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

The '80s are back, baby! A look from Tom Ford's Fall 2018 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

It’s been a long 12 months, and before we kick 2018 to the curb, we're looking back at all of the most memorable, game-changing fashion and beauty things that went down. Follow along with us as we look back at the year in review.

Though we at Fashionista keep close track of which trends and topics that you, dear readers, enjoy seeing (and searching for) on our site all year long, we always look forward to perusing Google's annual recap of its users' most popular fashion-related inquiries. On Wednesday, the company released its 2018 Year in Search lists, and as we could have predicted based on the sheer amount of hours we spent on the internet over the past 12 months, nostalgia and royalty were at top of mind when it came to style-adjacent queries.

The top-four trending fashion-related searches in 2018 were all tied in with the ubiquitous nostalgia trend that's dominated runways and retail collaborations for several seasons now. Interestingly enough, the number-one slot went to the sharp-shouldered, power-suited, high-shine decade of excess, the 1980s — perhaps because it's been bubbling up to the mainstream for a couple of years, and really picked up steam in February and March during Fall 2018 fashion month. 

Seemingly every luxury label worth its salt went heavy on the '80s inspiration for fall, including Tom Ford, Saint Laurent, Balmain, Marc Jacobs, Gucci and Versace. Perhaps the industry's peak '80s moment this year came during New York Fashion Week in September, when Escada celebrated its 40th anniversary with a return to the runway, presenting a "Pretty Woman"-themed collection evoking the brand's '80s heyday. Even Vanessa Friedman, the fashion critic at The New York Times, titled one of her Fall 2018 trend reports, "Help! The '80s Are Back" — and she didn't exactly mean that in a good way. 

A look from Versace's Fall 2018 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

A look from Versace's Fall 2018 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

Next up were the 1990s and grunge — two that certainly go hand-in-hand — which are more in line with the current Instagram aesthetic and popularity of retro sportswear collaborations that have helped introduce brands like Fila, Reebok, Tommy Jeans, Champion and Polo Ralph Lauren to a younger generation of consumers. Thanks to houses like Versace that showed head-to-toe plaid reminiscent of Cher Horowitz in the 1995 classic "Clueless," Calvin Klein's relentless Instagram #sponcon starring the Kardashian-Jenner family wearing its underwear in various stages of pregnancy and Prada's relaunch of its '90s Linea Rossa range that played no small part in the revival of the bucket hat as a status item, 2018 clearly felt nostalgic for the pre-millennium era. The icing on the cake? Marc Jacobs rereleased the infamous Spring 1993 "Grunge" collection (the one that got him fired from Perry Ellis) in full last month, likely hoping to cash in on the craze.

A look from Alexander Wang's Fall 2018 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

A look from Alexander Wang's Fall 2018 collection. Photo: Imaxtree

The final decade rounding out Google's top-four fashion searches was the early aughts — though we'll admit, we thought this one would rank higher. In 2018, we saw low-slung pants over high-cut bodysuits aplenty, as well as tiny sunglasses and all-over leather that could have come straight out of "The Matrix." Elsewhere, Juicy Couture staged its first full-on runway show at NYFW under new Creative Director Jamie Mizrahi, and more bubble hems than we could ever have imagined cropped up on the runways. Some of the Instagirls that helped these early '00s trends skyrocket in popularity were barely born when they came around the first time, but as is generally the case, they'll be mortified when these styles cycle back again in a decade or two.

Last but certainly not least, fashion lovers online could not get enough of the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle's style, as she came in at number five on Google's list. Every single time Meghan Markle Wore a Thing, searches for any specific item on her person skyrocketed, causing pieces to sell out in minutes — a proven phenomenon that we like to call The Meghan Markle Effect. Of course, the entire world watched as she married Prince Harry in May wearing Givenchy — officially bumping her friend and frequent collaborator Clare Waight Keller into A-list celebrity designer territory. And now that Markle is expecting, we can only imagine how gaga people all over the globe will go over the sartorial choices of her future child.

The Duchess of Sussex in Givenchy at the Royal Academy of Arts opening of the "Oceania" exhibit. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Duchess of Sussex in Givenchy at the Royal Academy of Arts opening of the "Oceania" exhibit. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Interestingly enough, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton landed at number nine on the list, despite all of the attention her sister-in-law has earned this year in popular culture. In the months following the birth of her third child in April, Middleton's style choices have been regarded as some as her best on record. With these two stylish royals making the international rounds what seems like constantly — somebody please let these ladies take a vacation! — we're confident that they won't fall too far in the Google rankings come 2019.

See all of Google's top fashion- and beauty-related searches of 2018 in the lists below. 

Google's top trending fashion-related searches of 2018:
1. 1980s fashion
2. Grunge style
3. 1990s fashion
4. 2000s fashion
5. Meghan Markle
6. Men's fashion
7. Harajuku fashion
8. Hipster style
9. Kate Middleton
10. 1980s mens fashion

Google's top trending fashion brands of 2018:
1. Fashion Nova
2. Louis Vuitton
3. Versace
4. Givenchy
5. Gucci
6. Alexander McQueen
7. Dolce & Gabbana
8. Fashionphile
9. Dior
10. Moschino

Google's top trending beauty and skincare questions of 2018:
1. How to apply magnetic lashes
2. What is a lash lift
3. How to remove individual eyelashes
4. What hair color looks best on me
5. How to do a cat eye
6. How to take off makeup without makeup wipes
7. How to apply aloe vera on face
8. How to glue down eyebrows
9. How to fix cakey makeup
10. What color concealer to use

Homepage photo: Versace's Spring 2018 runway show. Photo: Imaxtree

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