Womenswear trends from the Spring/Summer 2020 shows
today Oct 4, 2019
The women's ready-to-wear collections shown on the New York, London, Milan and Paris runways between September 6 and October 1 painted a picture of complex femininity, of women torn between a new-found ecological awareness and a yearning for exuberance. Besides putting an emphasis on recycled and ecological materials, the collections for the Spring/Summer 2020 focused on essentials, on minimalistic, low-profile looks in a subtle palette of pastel colours. An underlying trend that was amped up by the emergence of a more baroque kind of style, with daring colours, rare fabrics, billowing volumes, especially around the arms with a noted return to gigot sleeves, and a scattering of 18th century features like trains, crinolines, oversize bows and panniers.
1) Green fashion
Our planet’s environmental emergency featured extensively on the catwalks this season. A number of designers expressed their concerns and made their involvement felt through collections and settings that spoke volumes, from Dior's forest décor, whose trees will be replanted elsewhere, to Marni’s jungle made out of recycled plastic and cardboard, to the ‘oil slick’ theme evoked by Marine Serre. Nature blossomed on clothes in a riot of foliage and flowers, while hats grew in volume, from Vivienne Westwood’s bird-nest hat to the cascade of green vegetation planted on the models’ heads by Noir, the label by Japanese designer Kei Ninomiya.
2) Minimal essentials
Miuccia Prada led the debate on how to pollute less by showcasing a smart wardrobe consisting of basic essentials and practical, easy-to-wear items. Summer dresses, skirts, trousers, shorts, jackets and knitwear: the classic womenswear staples featured on every show in monochrome hues and natural fabrics, easy to mix and match. All-white looks were also part of this trend.
3) Pastel hues
From sky blue to pale pink, muted green and delicate yellow, pastel shades were ubiquitous, ready to take over next summer’s wardrobe with their freshness and sprinkling clothes with an array of delicate colours.
4) Terry towels
Last June, terry cloth popped up in some men’s collections. Now it also features in womenswear, in outfits made of this utilitarian/beach-friendly material, sometimes colourful as shown by Peter Pilotto and Afterhomework, which recycled towels picked up at flea markets. Elsewhere, some designers used classic white terry cloth to fashion corset dresses worn with a turban, or overcoats like hotel bathrobes, as Brognano did for example, or to create a lifeguard look, like Benetton.
5) Crochet and macramé fabrics
With their boho, 1970s hippyish style, the macramé dresses and handbags which cropped up in the last few seasons have now become one of the must-have items of the new summer wardrobe, with the added bonus of a recycling dimension. Granny-style crochet doilies are enjoying a new lease of life, for example morphing in avant-garde tops and patchwork dresses.
6) The giant tote bag
After going micro in the last two seasons, handbags are ballooning again. Especially popular was the giant hold-all tote bag, looking like a large seaman’s bundle, seen on the runways in all the fashion capitals.
7) The trouser suit
There is nothing more fashionable or sensual than a man’s suit worn by a woman. Especially if, as it seems to be the case for next summer, the jacket is worn on a bare chest or simply over a bra or bandeau bra. The trouser suit remains the main item in a woman’s wardrobe, preferably with a masculine jacket with a longer line and power shoulders, and trousers that are either overlong, ample and flowing, or snug and flaring at the hem. Suits are always in fashion, whether in a classic palette of white, black and beige, in a range of pastel hues or in brighter, even fluorescent colours.
8) Baring the shoulder
Designers are still obsessed with asymmetry. Besides the array of off-kilter dresses and skirts, the upper part of some of the outfits seen on the runways was also asymmetric, as models bared one shoulder and generously covered the other, with long, often voluminous sleeves. T-shirts, tops, little draped dresses and evening gowns featured a bare-shoulder look, while a growing number of bare backs was also on show.
9) New-style trench coats
Beige overcoats were absolutely ubiquitous, becoming a leading item in next summer’s wardrobe. In addition to ultra-classic models, with slightly modified proportions and lines, designers did their best to be creative, concocting a spate of entirely unexpected new trench-coat models, whether decorated, destructured, ripped up or reassembled. The venerable raincoat has been revisited down to its last seam, as shown this season by Japanese designer Junya Watanabe (and others besides him) who transformed trench coats into jackets, skirts and even evening dresses!
10) 18th century mood
In next summer’s eveningwear, women will want to feel free, jettisoning bourgeois minimalism to enjoy the excesses of a bygone age, like a modern-day Marie Antoinette. Hovering between Victorian romanticism and Baroque exuberance, they will travel back in time, borrowing, among others, several elements of 18th century fashion: large hats, gowns with trains, hoop skirts and panniers, crinolines, oversize bows, gigot sleeves and a profusion of lace details.