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The best (and worst) in fashion and design from 2009 Add to ...

After months of wearing body-skimming shifts in jewel-toned hues, Mrs. O opted for a one-shouldered white chiffon gown (left) that looked like she had been draped in cake fondant. Although she earned points for choosing 26-year-old designer Jason Wu, the style was too prom-like for such an important occasion. The prez didn't fare much better with his black tux and white tie.

Fashion-themed features

Where was last year's Devil Wears Prada? Although the fashion biz is all too easy to spoof, '09 farces such as Brüno or Confessions of a Shopaholic missed the mark badly, offering mirthless flamboyance instead of genuine satire. Even Coco Avant Chanel lacked magic, turning the story of a truly flamboyant figure into a dull costume drama.

Miranda Priestly, we miss you.

Lindsay Lohan for Ungaro

La Lohan was at the centre of another wreck last year, although this one had nothing to do with cars or drugs. When the young actor was taken on as artistic adviser by French fashion house Emanuel Ungaro, observers snickered, but it wasn't at all funny when the results of her efforts, which Style.com called "a bad joke of a fashion show," were revealed. Worse than the heart prints and fuchsia harem pants was the fact that Lohan's appointment (along with Estrella Archs) pushed out the talented Estaban Cortazar.

Prada waders

Placing Prada among the pans is as painful as giving an A-plus student a detention. But seriously, what was Miuccia thinking when she made haute waders the statement boot of her FW09 collection? Some were attached to a garter-style belt that held up high-cut bloomers, while others hit mid-calf and were secured by a leather strap around the knee. Who exactly was her muse: Swamp Thing?

Louis Vuitton rabbit ears

When Madonna arrived at the Costume Institute's annual gala in May, she was derided for her weird fabric horns, an exaggerated bow that had been the most controversial part of Marc Jacobs' FW09 collection for LV. Even if they were cute for the runway in a Brer Rabbit-meets-Tim Burton kind of way, there are only two words to describe any woman spotted wearing them on the street: fashion victim.


Olympic medals

Created over 18 months by B.C. aboriginal artist Corrine Hunt and Vancouver-based boy wonder Omer Arbel, the medallions for this year's Winter Olympics offer true innovation, from their first-nations motifs to their wavy surfaces. Both features are firsts for Olympic prizes, which have tended toward the staid in previous years. Whatever they are made of, these medals get the gold.

Wally-Hermès yacht

Leave it to Hermès to create the most beautiful (and luxurious) water craft in the world. Boasting a sleek triangular hull, cutting-edge computerized controls and even a seawater pool on the bow, the yacht, a collaboration between French-based Hermès and the Monaco yacht maker Wally, is known simply and cleverly as WHY. If you can afford it, why not?

Curtis Stone kitchenware

Released across Canada last year, the Australian TV chef's new line of kitchen supplies isn't just as good-looking as he is; it's also ingeniously designed. The workbench, for instance, includes a built-in slop drawer and mise-en-place bowls, while the cutting boards are sloped so that meat juices run into a metal trough. Best of all, it's attractively priced, from $5 to $600 at the Bay ( www.hbc.com).

Brave New World lamp

Suggestive of both a Tinker Toy sculpture and Far Eastern bamboo scaffolding, Fresh West's Brave New World lamp for Moooi is a brave new lamp design of the handsomest order. Unveiled during the Milan Design Fair, the 1.8-metre fixture is composed of notched and pegged oak strips and a pair of cast-iron counterweights. That whoosh you hear is the rush of design buffs lining up to snag one.

Pixel prints

The pixel has been called the icon of the modern age, so it was only a matter of time before designers seized on it. One of the best applications of the past year was the wonderfully dotty upholstery that London-based Cristian Zuzunga created for Christophe Delcourt's latest sofas and chairs. Break out those Star Trek DVDs.

Recessionary chic

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