London – With Paris Fashion Week for Spring/Summer ‘18 come to an end, the four main international women’s wear ready to wear Fashion Weeks have officially closed. As the industry’s leading insiders travelled from New York to London, Milan and Paris to see fashion houses and designers vision for SS ‘18, the recent of the world followed from afar. What is shown on the catwalks always influences what we will wear over the next coming season, but what are some of the key trends to emerge from the SS’18 international fashion weeks? FashionUnited’s own editors select their favourite trend from each fashion week and share them with you below.
The reemergence of fringe at New York Fashion Week as a leading trend for Spring/Summer ‘18 seems so undeniably right. Raf Simons’s tangled shreds of Americana for Calvin Klein represent how many are feeling in the U.S. about where the country is headed. His finale dresses symbolized the current challenge of holding it together despite the apparent chaos and good old American optimism.
Similarly, at Monse, the red, white, and blue was slashed and collaged into collegiate wear. A shower of fringe enriched the back of an Edun trench coat (preempting Loewe’s fringe-hemmed one shown a week later in Paris.) At Diane von Furstenberg, it edged a plunging décollete and swirled from satin, recalling images of the designer’s fellow Studio 54 dancing queen, Liza Minelli, and it turned flapper-ish when swinging from lace and dipped in shades of watermelon at Marchesa, undulating from the slinky curves of a modern-day Daisy Buchanan.
Embedded in American popular culture fringe evokes the suede-clad cowboy, the Bob Mackie-attired Cher, and the white-cloaked Elvis. Its perennial appeal seems to be that it can be unapologetically loud, slightly mesmerizing, always in motion and even politically engaged. Just like the modern American woman.
Ruffles were one of autumn/winter 2017’s biggest trends and it seems that fashion isn’t done with them yet as they were seen across the spring/summer 2018 London Fashion Week shows, and what I loved is there is no such thing as a subtle ruffle, only drama and romance.
At Simone Roche, it was all about the dramatic and most romantic of ruffles, with frills so big that they were collapsing to the floor. While at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi ruffles added an edge to asymmetrical gowns in pastel hues that were delicate and girlie, and emerging designer Ryan Lo used ruffles to give his accessories a romantic touch, with frills seen on long-sleeved evening globes and socks.
The most beautiful of all ruffles came at Erdem, with the Canadian-born designer showcasing waterfall ruffle inspired by Her Majesty, while at David Koma the ruffles had an architectural edge, and Roksanda added oversized ruffles to her statement cuffs. There were also dresses and skirts created entirely from puckered ruffles at Christopher Kane that were designed to resemble a mop as inspired by his SS '18 muse, the ‘domestic goddess’.
Milan Fashion Week saw a plethora of fashion houses embracing maximalism as designers revelled in all the excessiveness of fashion. One of the leading trends to emerge from the catwalks these past few seasons, this feeling of ‘overmuchness’ has trickled its way into all aspects of fashion – even down to one of the most common and most functional garments of all – the sock. First spotted at London Fashion Week at designers including Burberry and Erdem, the designer sock trend skipped its way to Milan, putting to bed the feared Dad sock and sandal combo for good.
For Spring/Summer ‘18 designers including Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Gucci, Fendi and Marco De Vincenzo completed their looks with dazzling socks fit for a queen – or king. Although this trend of pairing socks with closed (or open) heels for a lady-like appeal is nothing new, for SS ‘18 designers injected a sense of drama into their sock pairings, which I love as it gives new life to a garment previously overlooked. At Dolce & Gabbana, red carpet dresses and transparent suits were complemented with matching lace knee-high socks for maximum impact.
Over at Prada, who is long promoted the sock and court shoe pairing, creative director Miuccia Prada continued her sock love affair by raising the bar and pairing knee-high socks with striped shorts, pointy slingbacks and fringed brogues. Karl Lagerfeld took sock matching to the next level for Fendi and send models down the catwalk in plaid socks, producing a full-on stripe-on-stripe look. A few socks reached past the ankles and up to the thighs, which offered a touch of playfulness when paired with sheer dresses.
At Gucci, socks seemed almost plain compared to Alessandro embellished looks, but a closer look revealed ribbed or ruffled edges, while Marco De Vincenzo colour coordinated his fish-net ankle socks with matching heels. This trend certainly places the humble sock in a new light, reminding us that even the smallest details can make or break an outfit. In addition, it also offers consumers more accessible designer item, something that can be worn every day.
Decoding Paris Fashion Week can be a little like deciphering hieroglyphics, with designers this season showing a complex narrative of fashion in the digital age. It is as if designers have an acute awareness the companies they represent are facing challenging global times, and the collections this season, when decoded on a product level, were highly wearable and commercial.
The Spring/Summer ‘18 collections brought a renewed focus on femininity and we saw everything from the seductive little black dress to full floral gowns, the latter a key trend across the Paris shows. Designers appeared to be in full bloom, with Alexander McQueen, Dries van Noten and Nicolas Ghesquiere at Louis Vuitton, all boldly showing floral patterns, top to toe, with prints seemingly borrowed from your grandmother’s wardrobe.
What I love about this trend is its optimism and romanticism. Last season there may have been a mood borderlining on despair; this season designers were focused on bringing us joy, uniting in resilience and looking to the future. For evening, floral dresses were neither frumpy nor too technical – like at Sacai and Louis Vuitton – where the gowns were soft and fluid, often with a cascade of ruffles, also seen at Ronald van der Kemp. Dresses were easy to fall in love with, an achievement not to be dismissed in this day and age of too much product where nobody ‘needs’ to shop.
Dries van Noten embraced the trend most vigorously and was one of my favourite shows of Paris fashion week. There were a plethora of options of the floral variety, from a bold and bright yellow lily print, accentuated with sparkly starfish and checked sleeves to a wallpaper floral bomber that could have been a furnishing or interiors print, worn with abstract printed short and boots. Van Noten himself stated after the show, “We always say that fashion is a reflection of our times. Well, maybe that’s of enough of that!”
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