It was an exceptionally strong season, on both sides of the Atlantic. Optimism reigned, with designers looking towards a future full of colour, plumage, and glitter. People are in search for escape and are looking to treat themselves to something out of the ordinary – gone are the days of “norm core”. Accompanying our previous fashion week reports, here are our top 10 trends for the spring summer 2018 season.
And like a flash, another month of collections comes to an abrupt end. Over the past weeks we were introduced to hundreds of sartorial renditions for Spring 2018 where we can’t help but imagine our future beings embracing a new season cooly dripping in the latest fashions, fully equipped to conquer any task thrown our way…. and naturally to look fabulous.
Although some shout from the rooftops “the trend is dead!”, there was indeed a common narrative on the spotlit runways from New York to Paris clearly reflecting the environment at large. Optimism ran deep, exemplified through bright colours, uplifting motifs, and provocative styling. Perhaps out of resistance to less than satisfactory current events? Perhaps designers offering their loyal clientele escapism from the everyday? Designers delivered with intriguing inspiration and a convincing toolkit for individual expression, encouraging more risk to embrace standing out from the crowd. This common message was translated into daring trends suggesting the start of a new era – I like to call it hyper maximalism.
(Remember, we are living during an incredibly turbulent, yet exciting age and in many years in the future curious minds will look back, flipping – more like swiping- through the Vogue archive and analyse what fashion was saying about this decade.)
Most distinct on the runway was the unabashed return of glamour and overall pomp. Over the years we have seen a slow ascend towards maximalism, mostly thanks to Alessandro Michele’s cosmic transformation at Gucci in 2015 with his signature magpie chic. Maximalism (rooted within the arts and crafts movement, romanticism, and art nouveau) has come into full force, where even off the runway, the high street is too covered in groovy glitter and exaggerated silhouettes. The twinkling beads and sequence, perfected by for example Halpern, take us back to the disco scene – we are again at a time of letting loose and I dare say motivated to light up the dance floor? I sense a turn away from “Netflix and Chill” and (Maybe? Perhaps?) a return towards embracing the Saturday night fever. (e.g “That dress is a reason to go out”) The millennial generation has never been more active in partaking in protests, demonstrations, and social campaigns – could it be that such communal spirit is also translated to a leisurely context? I think, yes.
Along the lines of disco decadence, is plumage and volume. The pairing, most convincing under the lights of the Eiffel Tower at Saint Laurent, suggest playful seduction and a celebration of individuality. Have designers sensed the societal need for us to stand out in our Instagram snaps? Or is it our growing appetite for attention in the offline world? Or perhaps, it is our desire for personal experimentation where in a world of transparency and one ended possibility we are trying to discover who we are?
An additional antithesis to the passé aesthetic of “normcore” is the the return of the bold retro print. The favourites of the season were featured in the homage to Gianni Versace, where early 90s prints for jumpsuits, dresses, and coats were adapted for today. With the 80’s in full revival mode (partially thanks to TV shows such as Stranger Things), more brands are leaning on their heritage, celebrating their legacy by staging homage collections and resurrecting pieces and prints of yesteryear. Nostalgia?
Building upon last season’s triumphant debut by Raf Simmons for Calvin Klein, who presented the It coat of 2017 in yolk yellow covered in plastic, PVC has risen to become the protagonist of the season. Most used for preservation and packaging, the synthetic material was wrapped generously around stilettos as seen at Off White or transformed into boater hats, gloves, boots, coats and more at Chanel, thus shielding the precious tweeds underneath from the unpredictable atmosphere.
Speaking of protection, was the prominence of the trench coat. With news blasts coming at us 24/7 and where at times it seems were are all living in a reality TV show, there is a serious growing desire for security – no matter in what form. (Even last season various collections such as Cèline began to feature blankets in place of handbags!) It was the unique interpretation of the trench which made it so pleasing, most notably by John Galliano for Maison Margiela and at Balenciaga applying deconstruction and abstract layering respectively.
However in contrast, there was also some fantastic feminine touches including the rising trend of “see through” through lavish use of organza, which in particular played a leading role at Fendi. If you ask me, my guess is that see through is an extension to the rise in modest fashion. While the hems remain long, see through offers that whisper of sex appeal if desired.
Other Spring Summer 2018 trends include the dominance of plaid (a reference to the UK exiting Europe?), denim on denim (the return of Twin Peaks and it’s classic Americana style?), and the bitter tinge of pastel tones (millennial pink and co. continuing its world domination?)
Of course the true beauty of seasonal trends is that each of us interprets them in our own way. We have the freedom to unravel these curated codes and adapt them for our own needs and desires, so we can achieve our fullest potential. Trends are not a set of rules, they are fluctuating inspirations for us to communicate to the world loud and proud who we are and what we stand for.