From negronis to periods, what got the Stylist office talking in 2015?

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In a year when global crises and conflict made 2015 memorable for all the wrong reasons, we remember the news which captured the zeitgeist for all the right ones

It started with the discovery of Kepler-452b in July, which was hailed as the most important planet ever found beyond the solar system due to its size, how long it takes to orbit the sun and the similarity of its conditions to earth. By September we were gripped with the news that life could exist on Mars after salt water was observed on its craters, before witnessing a total lunar eclipse combined with a super moon to create the incredible Blood Moon later that month.

As election fever took hold at the start of the year, there was one thing we could all agree on: there were simply not enough female voices in politics. So we cheered when the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) was created by broadcaster Sandi Toksvig and writer Catherine Mayer in March. Led by Sophie Walker, WEP debuted its policies in October, including tackling the gender pay gap and violence against women, and is now recruiting ahead of May’s local elections.

From live tweeting them to debating them in the House of Commons, never have periods been more openly discussed. Tory MP Bill Cash was made to say ‘tampon’ by MP Stella Creasy during October’s ‘tampon tax’ debate while protestors stood bleeding through their clothes outside Parliament. We also cheered for Kiran Gandhi, the 26-year-old who ran the London Marathon without a tampon to raise awareness for women who don’t have access to sanitary products – especially timely given the millions of women affected by the current refugee crisis.

2015 may have introduced us to the euphemism ‘Netflix and chill’ but the most common terms of endearment were condensed into two three-letter words that suddenly became ubiquitous. ‘Hun’ (used ironically) and ‘bae’ (before anyone else) reached alarming heights of popularity, with ‘bae’ appearing on T-shirts and in more than eight million Instagram posts. And don’t get us started on referring to our friendship group as a ‘squad’ like Taylor Swift. Warning: use only with a liberal dose of irony…

Three women had secrets unmasked in 2015. Essena O’Neill revealed her seemingly glamorous life to be a sham to 600,000 Instagram followers, Australian Belle Gibson went into hiding when her wellness empire was exposed as a lie – not only had she not cured herself of cancer, she’d never had it, and, most famously, African-American Rachel Dolezal, an activist for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was outed as white by her parents. The moral? Be yourself.

If there’s one British actor who can look back on 2015 with satisfaction, it’s Ben Whishaw. The 35-year-old managed to appear in not just one but three major British films – historical drama Suffragette, indie hit The Lobster and Bond blockbuster Spectre – and also had the Stylist office speculating endlessly every Tuesday morning after the latest episode of BBC2’s cult show London Spy. Next on Whishaw’s agenda? Ron Howard’s Moby Dick epic In The Heart Of The Sea and appearing alongside Eddie Redmayne in Oscar bait The Danish Girl.

In May’s landmark referendum, Ireland surprised the world by becoming the first country to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. The overwhelming majority (62% backed the bill) was a historic moment for the traditionally conservative country. Just over a month later, 26 million Facebook users celebrated the US Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex marriage was legal in all states with a profile picture filter in the colours of the gay pride flag.

Forget the aperol spritz – in 2015 you couldn’t open up a cocktail menu without spotting the classic (and lethally strong) combination of campari, dark vermouth and gin with a twist of orange peel. Invented in 1919 in Florence, many bartenders added their own twist to the bitter Italian creation with Stylist staff raving about the pink peppercorn negroni at chic Bar Termini in the capital’s Soho, while purists rated the consistently high-quality classic at London’s Hawksmoor.

Words: Zoë Beaty
Photography: BBC pictures
Illustrations: Hattie Stewart

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Stylist Team