Paris Fashion Week: Spring/Summer 2018 trends
The women's ready-to-wear collections for the Spring/Summer 2018 on show in Paris from 25th September to 3rd October featured ten major trends, confirming the high degree of creativity of the Parisian fashion scene. Designers have plotted a new kind of woman, increasingly versatile and driven by diversity, whose clothes can be disassembled and rearranged, in a mix of reinterpreted classic items and futurist constructions.
1) The trench coat
A traditional item in a smart woman's wardrobe, the trench coat is a must for next summer. Many featured it in its simplest form, often worn as a dress, cinched at the waist with an oversize belt, but the majority of designers went for made-over versions: transparent for Chloé, trimmed down for Maison Margiela, ornamented dressing gown-style for Dries Van Noten, or with huge folded lapels for Céline.
2) Black and white
Parisian elegance is epitomised by the return of this great classic. Black and white looks were ubiquitous, and in some cases they even characterised an entire collection, as with Guy Laroche. Mugler, Balmain, Ann Demeulemeester, Olivier Theyskens, Off-White and Lutz Huelle offered the most interesting variations on this theme. Isabel Marant instead went sexy, daring with a white lace pinafore worn over a black leotard.
3) Balloon/burgeoning shoulder effect
Designers have worked on softer shapes with gusto this season, offering a mellower vision of femininity, very often culminating in cocoon-style dresses enveloping the body. Especially its top part and the shoulders, which burgeoned outrageously with a plethora of balloon and puffed sleeves referencing the 1980s. Anthony Vaccarello was undoubtedly outstanding in this respect, with his balloon mini-skirts and dresses bubbling with taffeta, feathers and leather. Thom Browne featured the same kind of airy, bubbling shapes, turning sculptural in his Michelin-man-style dresses, as did Rick Owens.
4) Sleeve effects
Sleeves were seen to disappear from the shoulders (summer dresses with dropped sleeves and bare-shoulder tops were omnipresent), only to pop up all over the body in unexpected circumstances. For example, a dress with long sleeves tied up at the waist, turning into a skirt. At Y-Project, which presented one of the season's most interesting collections, a cotton cape with two sleeves attached and tied at the neck blended into a tone-on-tone shirt. Lacoste played the same game, presenting a cable-knit sweater with four sleeves. As did Sacai, which used the sleeves of jackets, overcoats and other shirts both to tie the garments at chest height and as a decoration.
Quintessentially elegant, the silk headscarf is back centre stage. It was seen in Milan, draped over models' heads, and also in Paris, in the guise of extraordinary loincloth-skirts, slung over the shoulder or accenting the side of a black dress as at Dries Van Noten. At Christian Wijnants, it morphed into thin-strapped dresses in Persian silk, while Liselore Frowjin turned it into a corsair-style turban.
6) The veil-screen
Sheer effects were everywhere on the catwalks of the Big Four fashion weeks, but never in such profusion as in Paris. Veils and tulle drapes were used as coloured filters, by Atlein for example, or as a virtual screen layered over other clothes to mark a subtle distance or, on the contrary, to reveal and personalise an outfit. At Dries Van Noten, a veil dotted with brooches accented the tartan jacket of a trouser suit. At Altuzarra, it was the case of a fishnet covering a robe, while Chanel and Balmain featured transparent plastic alongside fabrics.
After lace, fringes and ruches, all still highly popular, it was the turn of gathers to make a remarkable appearance in the vocabulary of Parisian designers. Dresses were gathered in folds to create new volumes and sculpted shapes. The same technique was used in tops and dresses made of parachute fabric (Aalto), and in booties (Y-Project).
8) Strapped boots
Boots with frontal laces will be a must next summer, and not a single designer failed to present their version, whether in French cancan, ice-skating or gladiator style.
Buttons were back on the scene as fully fledged embellishments. They were often in different colours and arrayed around the neck as a decoration. Whether oversized, gilt or silvered, they were immediately noticeable. Designers also went for irregular buttoning, to create pleats in the fabric, as did Yohji Yamamoto, or for rows of black, white and red buttons to entirely redesign the garment's structure. At Victoria/Tomas, the alternance between press-stud buttons and flowery ones marked the difference between men's and women's styles. Talbot Runhof opted for garish jewel buttons. Elsewhere, at Isabelle Marant for example, rivets and press studs were used to create designs.
10) Chequerboard effects
Black and white chequerboard dresses will be a hit next summer. Nearly all designers featured this great classic in a variety of versions, from Sonia Rykiel's djellaba to Christian Dior's chequerboard jumpsuit. Junya Watanabe went further, swapping the large black and white checks in some of its outfits for giant polka dots in others, for a full range of geometric effects.
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