Womenswear trends from the Spring/Summer 2019 shows
Women’s fashion for the summer 2019 is emphatically feminine. Streetwear, sportswear and the uber-masculine clothes which dominated women's wardrobes in the last few seasons are on their way out, heralding the return of a new-found lightness and natural elegance, coexisting with boldly versatile items and a love of diversity and producing hybrid garments that can be disassembled and rearranged at will. The women’s ready-to-wear collections for the Spring/Summer 2019 have translated this mood in the ten main trends which emerged on the catwalks in New York, London, Milan and Paris.
Last June, fishnet fabrics were seen in menswear, but they were truly ubiquitous in the Spring/Summer womenswear shows. Designers seem to have been inspired as much by the sexy image of fishnet (Calcaterra, Anaïs Jourden), as by its more exotic, beach/nature connotations, like at Altuzarra, where fishermen caught plenty of seashells in their nets. Loosely woven into macramé dresses or tunics, fishnet played a hide-and-seek game, for example at Dior, Sonia Rykiel, J.W. Anderson and Ferragamo. The mesh was widely spaced at Missoni, tightly woven as in Balmain’s geometric, futuristic tracery, or even armour-like, as with Louis Vuitton’s metallic mesh.
2) Polka dots
White on a black background or vice versa, polka dots have been updated in a fresh take on this favourite motif of the 1940s and 50s. Some designers chose polka dots for their statement items, like the bubble mini-dress by Hedi Slimane for Celine or the figure-hugging dress worn by Monica Bellucci at Dolce & Gabbana. Burberry, Moschino and Prada went instead for a lingerie feel with speckled black veils. Polka dot fabric instead took on a more casual air in Koché’s summery dresses or gaberdine raincoat.
This material, synonymous with lightness and transparency, was featured in several collections inspired by different themes, ballet above all. The world of ballerinas, with their dance shoes, tulle dresses and bodysuits triggered the imagination of many designers, from Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, to Japanese stylist Chika Kisada and Ermanno Scervino. Tulle was also used for wedding dresses (Act n°1) or princess outfits. It had a cocoon feel at Brognano, it glittered at Marc Jacobs and went black at Richard Quinn.
Leather was confirmed as one of fashion designers’ preferred materials, for summer outfits too. It has never been as widely used as this season, in all possible shapes and types of treatment. Besides the classic leather jackets, overcoats, skirts and black punk-rocker trousers (Celine by Hedi Slimane), leather has taken on a fresh, modern look, sublimated into ultra-lightweight materials and unexpected colours, woven like a fabric or used as an accessory, like the belt with undulating peplum frill worn over lingerie dresses at Alexander McQueen.
5) Cycling shorts
They were included in the majority of collections showing on the catwalks of all the fashion capitals: cycling shorts are the must-have item that will have to feature in every wardrobe worth its name next summer. Especially in the body-hugging bib shorts version, which popped out everywhere, under sweaters, dresses and all kinds of jackets. They featured in day-glo Lycra at Blumarine, in printed jersey fabrics at Prada, they were shiny at Mugler, covered with gemstones at Roberto Cavalli, and appeared in denim or satin versions elsewhere.
6) Tie me up!
Strings, cordons and drawstrings were everywhere. The theme was introduced in menswear last June, and was present in every collection, riding a sport apparel wave, inspired by sailing and rock climbing. Strings slip into metal eyelets at Hermès, fit as drawstrings in trousers or even collars (Afterhomework, Dries Van Noten), and wind around the waist at Chloé, Monse, Victoria Beckham and Altuzarra. Straps and twirling ribbons have become an essential element in the architecture of clothes that can be assembled and disassembled, and they are also useful to create new volumes, by pulling on strings to pucker up the fabric.
7) Fringed hems
In the wake of the string theme, fringed hems have now become a staple. Whether short or long, thin or thick, as a dominant feature or simply as trimming on a skirt or woollen scarf, fringed hems come in all shapes, sizes and materials: in leather, pearls, crystals, feathers, as colourful shoe laces at Byblos, in gold or as multi-coloured ribbons at Dolce & Gabbana, in silver at Givenchy. They are garland-like at Calvin Klein, cowboy-style at Chanel, Coach, Longchamp and Michael Kors, and have a wrap-around feel on long shawls at Jacquemus and Marques’Almeida.
8) Multiple pockets
Pockets are becoming indispensable for an increasingly on-the-go everyday life. They are ideal for tucking away sundry gadgets, electronic and otherwise, doing away with the encumbrance of a handbag. Designers have added multiple pockets to all kinds of garments: shirts, jackets, gilets, trousers and even dresses. Sacai presented a multi-pocket skirt which can be dismantled thanks to a series of zips. Byblos thought about selective recycling, with pockets for paper, metal, glass and plastic, while Fendi stuck several pockets on cartridge belts.
9) Yves Klein blue
All colours are allowed for the summer 2019. From all-white to dark widow looks, to natural and pastel hues, to the ever-popular flashes of fluorescent colours. Yellow pops up everywhere, bright as sunlight or paler, more subdued, and the same does plant green. But blue is the dominant colour, from sky blue to marine blue, with a remarkable presence of Yves Klein blue.
10) Clothes as cages
Behind the image of free, perpetually active women, the idea of constraints drifted into some collections, signalling that the female body still remains shackled, both literally and figuratively. In some instances, bodies seemed to be imprisoned within garments, enclosed by tightly woven strings, squeezed into laced-up corsets or bound by fishnet fabrics clinging sometimes too closely to the body. Likewise, faces were sometimes hidden by masks or veils.
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