CULTURE

The Next Oscar/Grammy/Emmy/Pulitzer Winners Are Here: W’s Favorite Discoveries of 2016

From the buzziest designers to the most promising young actors, musicians, and writers, here’s a guide to the breakout talents of the year.


Collage by Alex Hodor-Lee

While some of our most beloved names in arts and culture saw a resurgence this year — Natalie Portman made her dark and twisty comeback in Jackie; Frank Ocean and Bon Iver made long-anticipated returns with new solo material — 2016 was also a fruitful year for up-and-coming artists from across literature, film, television, fashion, and music. Here, we round up a few of our favorite discoveries and raise a toast to an even better 2017.

Baryshnikov, Anna The daughter of American Ballet Theater legend Mikhail Baryshnikov is stepping out on her own as an actress. With a Kenneth Lonergan film on her resume — this year’s Manchester by the Sea — she’s ready to be a leading lady.

Boucht, Ella Fresh out of the Swedish School of Textiles, Ella Boucht already caught her big break when a comically large puffer coat she designed as part of her senior collection was spotted on none other than Robyn Rihanna Fenty.

Clay The purple-haired iconoclast loves glitter, soul music, dim sum, just wants to be herself.

Cline, Emma The writer behind summer’s hottest novel — The Girls.

Colovos; Namilia; PH5 Three of New York Fashion Week’s most promising young designers in the Spring 2017 season. Get to know the faces behind their standout collections.

Cosmos, Frankie The expansive musical project of Greta Kline — four albums in, this year, she finally geared up for a real studio release.

Photos: With Frankie Cosmos, Greta Kline Expands Her Universe

Photo by Matthew Priestley. Styled by Solange Franklin. DROMe top, price upon request, dromedesign.it. Produced by Biel Parklee.

Photo by Matthew Priestley. Styled by Solange Franklin. DROMe top and pants, prices upon request, dromedesign.it. Produced by Biel Parklee.

Photo by Matthew Priestley. Styled by Solange Franklin. Klein wears an Ellery slip dress, $1,010, Dover Street Market New York, New York, 646.837.7750; Karen Walker sweater, $315, and shoes, $232, karenwalker.com. Produced by Biel Parklee.

Photo by Matthew Priestley. Styled by Solange Franklin. Charles Youssef shirt, $550, charlesyoussef.com; DROMe pants, price upon request, dromedesign.it; Tamara Mellon boots, $1,095, tamaramellon.com. Produced by Biel Parklee.

Photo by Matthew Priestley. Styled by Solange Franklin. Jonathan Cohen shirt, $995, Forty Five Ten, Dallas, 214.559.4510; Simon Miller pants, $280, Barneys New York, New York, 212.826.8900; Manolo Blahnik for Wes Gordon shoes, price upon request, by special order, Manolo Blahnik, New York, 212.582.3007. Produced by Biel Parklee.

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D.R.A.M At the close of 2016, D.R.A.M. is probably best-known for his Lil Yachty collaboration “Broccoli” — but, like Bon Iver, he’s been something of 2016’s musical MVP, collaborating with Young Thug, Chance the Rapper, Ty Dolla $ign, and Erykah Badu.

Faux, Kari The native Arkansas-ian rapper and Donald Glover collaborator strikes out on her own as “the rap game Daria.

Fukuhara, Karen The mystery woman of Suicide Squad: master of her own stunts, still hasn’t figured out how to hold a normal conversation with Jared Leto.

Karen Fukuhara

Acne Studios dress, $850, acnestudios.com; Gucci sunglasses, price upon request, gucci.com; Fallon earring, $180, and choker, $60, fallonjewelry.com; Leg Avenue body suit, price upon request, legavenue.com; Carven boots, $690, carven.com.

Photo by David Flinn, styled by William Graper. Hair by Aaron Light at the Wall Group, makeup by Hinako at the Wall Group. Produced by Biel Parklee. Photography Assistant: Adam Ianniello. Fashion Assistant: Erik Ziemba.

Valentino dress, $17,000, valentino.com; Fallon choker, $310, fallonjewelry.com; Valentino belt, $2,575, valentino.com; Jennifer Creel rings, $850 to $2,400, jennifercreel.com; Bulgari pink, white, and yellow gold ring, $2,200, bulgari.com; Leg Avenue body suit, price upon request, legavenue.com; Versace boots, price upon request, us.versace.com.

Photo by David Flinn, styled by William Graper. Hair by Aaron Light at the Wall Group, makeup by Hinako at the Wall Group. Produced by Biel Parklee. Photography Assistant: Adam Ianniello. Fashion Assistant: Erik Ziemba.

J.W. Anderson top, price upon request, and skirt, price upon request, j-w-anderson.com; Leg Avenue body suit, price upon request, legavenue.com.

Photo by David Flinn, styled by William Graper. Hair by Aaron Light at the Wall Group, makeup by Hinako at the Wall Group. Produced by Biel Parklee. Photography Assistant: Adam Ianniello. Fashion Assistant: Erik Ziemba.

Baja East hoodie, $295, bajaeast.com; Bulgari pink, white, and yellow gold ring, $2,200, bulgari.com; Asta Faha choker, price upon request, asta-faha.com; Leg Avenue body suit, price upon request, legavenue.com; Aldo boots, $130, aldoshoes.com.

Photo by David Flinn, styled by William Graper. Hair by Aaron Light at the Wall Group, makeup by Hinako at the Wall Group. Produced by Biel Parklee. Photography Assistant: Adam Ianniello. Fashion Assistant: Erik Ziemba.

Acne Studios dress, $850, acnestudios.com; Gucci sunglasses, price upon request, gucci.com; Fallon earring, $180, and choker, $60, fallonjewelry.com; Leg Avenue body suit, price upon request, legavenue.com; Carven boots, $690, carven.com.

Photo by David Flinn, styled by William Graper. Hair by Aaron Light at the Wall Group, makeup by Hinako at the Wall Group. Produced by Biel Parklee. Photography Assistant: Adam Ianniello. Fashion Assistant: Erik Ziemba.

Christopher Kane dress, $1,275, christopherkane.com; Asta Faha choker, price upon request, asta-faha.com; Jennifer Creel rings, $850 to $2,400, jennifercreel.com; Bulgari pink, white, and yellow gold ring, $2,200, bulgari.com; Leg Avenue body suit, price upon request, legavenue.com; Carven boots, $690, carven.com.

Photo by David Flinn, styled by William Graper. Hair by Aaron Light at the Wall Group, makeup by Hinako at the Wall Group. Produced by Biel Parklee. Photography Assistant: Adam Ianniello. Fashion Assistant: Erik Ziemba.
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Heaton, Charlie The young star of Stranger Things is ready to take off — with a little help from Winona Ryder, of course.

Genesis, Tommy Awful Records’s honorary non-Atlantan and fashion’s new favorite subversive face. Oh, and she doesn’t rap — she makes sex-talk art weirdness.

Léon Though the comparisons to Tove Lo, Robyn, and any of the myriad Swedish pop stars are inevitable, Léon is doing her own thing.

Li, Claudia Central St. Martins-trained and an alum of the design studios of both Brandon Maxwell and Jonathan Anderson, Li broke out as a solo designer this year with her Converse-sponsored Fall 2016 show.

Photos: Claudia Li, Emerging Designer, Makes Her Mark

Claudia Li in her studio. Photo by Teddy Wolff.

Photographer: Teddy Wolff Stylist: Sarah Zendejas

Claudia Li

Hair and makeup by Hiro Yonemoto for Oribe and Chanel Rouge Coco at Atelier Management. Model: Valerija Sestic at Elite NYC. Produced by Biel Parklee.

Photographer: Teddy Wolff Stylist: Sarah Zendejas

Claudia Li

Hair and makeup by Hiro Yonemoto for Oribe and Chanel Rouge Coco at Atelier Management. Model: Valerija Sestic at Elite NYC. Produced by Biel Parklee.

Photographer: Teddy Wolff Stylist: Sarah Zendejas

Claudia Li Fall 2016 Look 1

Claudia Li Fall 2016 Look 4

Claudia Li Fall 2016 Look 7

Claudia Li Fall 2016 Look 9

Claudia Li Fall 2016 Look 16

Claudia Li Fall 2016 Look 22

Claudia Li Fall 2016 Look 23

Claudia Li Fall 2016 Look 24

Claudia Li Fall 2016 Look 25

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Lu, Kelsey Folk artist; making cello cool — one stadium show opening for Florence & the Machine at a time. (She’s also really, really well dressed, and, like most of us, a Björk fan.)

Menuez, India; Saylor, Morgan; Wood, Elizabeth The white girls behind White Girl. (Editor’s note: White Girl is now on Netflix. Go watch, then read.)

The White Girls Behind the Film “White Girl”

Miu Miu dress, price upon request, miumiu.com; Jacquie Aiche hoop, $1,400, jacquieaiche.com; Catbird bracelet, $220, catbirdnyc.com; Bulgari gold and lapis bracelet, $1,350, bulgari.com; Catbird ring, $364, catbirdnyc.com; Catbird ring, $438, catbirdnyc.com. Valentino dress, $7,900, valentino.com. Creatures of Comfort top, $320, and skirt, $250, creaturesofcomfort.com; Sydney Evan gold hoops, $1,870, sydneyevan.com; Ariel Gordon necklace, $625, arielgordonjewelry.com; Spinelli Kilcollin stacked rings, $2,000, spinellikilcollin.com.

Photo by Peter Ash Lee. Styled by Ryann Foulke. Hair by Yohey Nakatsuka for Bumble and bumble, makeup by Heather Schnell for Make Up For Ever at Utopia NYC. Produced by Biel Parklee. Fashion Assistant: Christy Key. Hair Assistant: Hide Suzuki. Makeup Assistant: Athena Montague.

Left: Trademark dress, $478, trade-mark.com; Jacquie Aiche hoop, $1,400, jacquieaiche.com. Right: Miu Miu dress, price upon request, miumiu.com; Jacquie Aiche hoop, $1,400, jacquieaiche.com; Catbird bracelet, $220, catbirdnyc.com; Bulgari gold and lapis bracelet, $1,350, bulgari.com; Catbird ring, $364, catbirdnyc.com; Catbird ring, $438, catbirdnyc.com.

Photo by Peter Ash Lee. Styled by Ryann Foulke. Hair by Yohey Nakatsuka for Bumble and bumble, makeup by Heather Schnell for Make Up For Ever at Utopia NYC. Produced by Biel Parklee. Fashion Assistant: Christy Key. Hair Assistant: Hide Suzuki. Makeup Assistant: Athena Montague.

Left: Creatures of Comfort top, $320, creaturesofcomfort.com; Ariel Gordon necklace, $625, arielgordonjewelry.com; Saylor’s own Scorpio necklace. Right: Molly Goddard top, $554, doverstreetmarket.com.; Mother jeans, $228, motherdenim.com; Ariel Gordon necklace, $625, arielgordonjewelry.com; Saylor’s own Scorpio necklace.

Photo by Peter Ash Lee. Styled by Ryann Foulke. Hair by Yohey Nakatsuka for Bumble and bumble, makeup by Heather Schnell for Make Up For Ever at Utopia NYC. Produced by Biel Parklee. Fashion Assistant: Christy Key. Hair Assistant: Hide Suzuki. Makeup Assistant: Athena Montague.

Left: Chloé dress, $8,295, available at Chloé boutiques; Wood’s own necklace. Right: Valentino dress, $7,900, valentino.com; Wood’s own ring set.

Photo by Peter Ash Lee. Styled by Ryann Foulke. Hair by Yohey Nakatsuka for Bumble and bumble, makeup by Heather Schnell for Make Up For Ever at Utopia NYC. Produced by Biel Parklee. Fashion Assistant: Christy Key. Hair Assistant: Hide Suzuki. Makeup Assistant: Athena Montague.
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Muna After touring with Dilly Dally and Grouplove throughout the fall, Muna — retro pop stars, tailor-made for the internet age — will release their debut full-length and embark on a solo tour this year.

NCT 127 Taylor Swift superfans have got nothing on admirers of NCT 127 — mostly because you can find out everything about K-Pop’s next big thing, right down to their blood type.

New Romantic, Starchild and the The stage alias of Bryndon Cook — Solange guitarist, Chairlift and Dev Hynes collaborator (and dancer in his latest video for the Carly Rae Jepsen duet “Better Than Me”), close personal friend of Porches, young crooner, and heir apparent to Blood Orange. A lot of adjectives for a 23-year-old musician.

Ottolinger A member of the class of VFiles Fall 2016 and a standout punk label — right down to setting their own designs on fire.

Sanders, Ashton One of three actors who play Chiron, the young black man growing up in the projects of Miami in Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight. But Sanders isn’t just a rising star of the screen — he’s also an aspiring model and designer.

Wilson, Charlotte Day Wilson — singer, songwriter, producer — signed with legendary Toronto label Arts & Crafts (the label of Feist, Broken Social Scene, and BadBadNotGood) and released her debut EP, CDW, this year.

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