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Dazzling Debuts of 2013

This year had its fair share of firsts—here are some of our very favorites from fashion, film and more

Separating the one-hit wonders from the newcomers that aren’t going anywhere in 2014 and beyond, here are 10 of the year’s people, places and fads that made a lasting first impression.


In TV: House of Cards

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright

Web-only television shows officially turned mainstream this year when the political thriller House of Cards—starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright—debuted on Netflix in February. The series has not only garnered acclaim among fans and critics alike—it also earned four Golden Globe nominations and became the first-ever web series to win an Emmy.


In Film: Ryan Coogler

Ryan Coogler’s first feature film, Fruitvale Station, about a 2009 BART shooting in Oakland, proved to be one of the most moving and talked-about films of the year. It also didn’t hurt that the film had an all-star cast including Octavia Spencer and Michael B. Jordan and was co-produced by Forest Whitaker.


In Dining: Grace


Grace Restaurant

An endlessly creative pastry chef and advocate for small, local farms, Curtis Duffy, lived up to the hype this year with the opening of Grace. He composed an artful menu around herbs and edible flowers, with dishes like roasted pumpkin with lemon balm, grilled Wagyu beef with mashua leaf and kampachi with Thai basil. All in all, Grace is posed to give Alinea a run for its money.


In Births: Prince George of Cambridge

Prince George of Cambridge

Prince George of Cambridge and parents

The highly anticipated arrival of Prince George dominated the news this summer as the entire world was on official Royal Baby Watch. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first-born had some fierce competition stateside, thanks to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby girl, North, who was born just a few weeks earlier.


In Hospitality: The Ace Hotel

The Ave Hotel

The Ave Hotel

Cool kid mainstay the Ace Hotel moved into the United Artists’ building in Downtown Los Angeles this winter, occupying not just a building, but a landmark that was built to be the home of Charlie Chaplin’s production company. Now the space houses funky accommodations in a burgeoning neighborhood, not to mention exclusive private events and cool concerts.


In Music: Haim



In a year chock full of great new music, including a game changing, last-minute release from Beyoncé, our favorite debut came from Haim, the California-based band of sisters whose smart, catchy songs (and covetable style) were impossible to escape and easy to love.


In Performances: Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o

One of the year’s most affecting films, 12 Years A Slave, featured one of the year’s best debut performances—that of recent Yale Drama School grad Lupita Nyong’o, who also happens to be our winter issue cover star.


In Books: Adelle Waldman

Adelle Waldman

Adelle Waldman

Some of this year’s most talked about books came from old favorites—Stephen King and Donna Tartt to name a few—but one of the most exciting reads of 2013 was Adelle Waldman’s debut, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. The dishy, absorbing story follows a Brooklyn-based literary lothario trying to make his way in the world and leaving a string of broken hearts—and enraptured readers—in his wake.


In Fashion: Nicolas Ghesquière

Nicolas Ghesquière

Nicolas Ghesquière

Can you teach an old dog new tricks? This is the question plaguing the fashion world after Marc Jacobs’ departure as Louis Vuitton creative director after 16 years. The 159-year-old French luxury house seems to think so, appointing Nicolas Ghesquière, the edgy former creative director of Balenciaga to the position. Stay tuned for Paris Fashion week, when Ghesquière’s first collection will go down the runway.


In Food: Cronuts™



Since the debut of Dominique Ansel’s half-doughnut, half-croissant concoction at his Spring Street bakery in May, New Yorkers have lined up for hours (in the very early a.m., no less)—some even resorting to scalping—for a taste, knockoffs named things like “doissants” have been created, marriage proposals with rings inside the pastries have been made, and its recent online reservations and ordering system has been crashed. With a new flavor released each month, we’re not sure the mania will die down anytime soon (by the way, next month’s flavor will be tweeted by the chef next week).



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