The new nautical
If the runways are any indication of how spring/summer 2018 trends will be practically translated into everyday life, one of the most intriguing styles is the new approach to nautical fashion. Granted, tailored denims, blue and white pinstriped offerings, and white wrap-dresses fit for yacht trips have been on the market for a while. But designers are turning it up a notch, combining masculine maritime influences with asymmetry and cutouts, while retaining a feminine appeal.
Known for its lace and crochet dresses, Self Portrait incorporated pinstriped suits, shorts and skirts in its next-season collection. These were paired with white, ruffled, sheer and star-printed blouses. At Jonathan Simkhai, striped shirts and dresses were decorated with white lace and appliqué detailing, or were finished with intricately cut necklines or wide, rope-inspired belts. Temperley London’s creations took the nautical trend to Havana — halter-neck dresses in striped patterns were punctuated with red zigzag stripes, and loose, button-down jumpsuits were styled with turban-style head wraps.
Jason Wu’s expert tailoring gave soft pinstripes an upscale attitude, and while some of his ensembles could have passed for androgynous, there was a delicate ease to the separates, making for covetable staples for the spring/summer season. At Ganni, meanwhile, wide-leg denims were styled with white rope belts, jackets were cropped, and tiered summer dresses were layered over blue checked shirts
The sparkle factor
Iridescent sequins — the sort that call to mind mermaid's scales, and change colour depending on how the light is reflected on them — made a sparkling statement on the runways. A maxi-dress by Temperley London was crafted purely from these, while luminous zipped cardigans at Emporio Armani were covered in large sequins, in hues of either strawberry pink or mother-of-pearl.
Sorbet-coloured dresses at Peter Pilotto were punctuated with metallic glimmers, featuring the petals of floral prints and tartan patterns, and at Christopher Kane, a somewhat sheer, colourfully speckled dress gave off a magical sheen. At Tom Ford, cowl-necked mini-dresses were formed from embellishments featuring shimmering gradients, with gold or cobalt-toned flames skirting up the hips of models.
Shiny, armour-like sleeves accompanied colourful draped dresses (a pink version was worn by Gigi Hadid), and metallics featured in shades of rose, indigo and fuchsia. Finally, a head-to-toe silver look — the fashionable woman’s version of the Tin Man suit — was finished with matching pointed-toe heels.
Naturally, Ashish included a fair share of shimmer in his witch-inspired collection, too. Sequinned moon and star motifs bedazzled some of the clothing, while other designs were decked out completely in gold, silver or black sequins.
Over the past few seasons, catwalks have been awash with high necklines, tiered maxi-dresses and oodles of lace, painting a pretty picture of Victoriana, especially brands like Monique Lhuillier and Zimmermann, as the trend is perfectly in keeping with the aesthetic of their labels. But for spring/summer 2018, the industry is upping its game.
While designers continued to showcase skeletons of these ultra-feminine silhouettes, many also proceeded to throw elements of grunge into the mix. At Erdem’s show in London, for instance, there was an abundance of floral ankle-length dresses, with frilled hemlines and leg-of-mutton sleeves. But some dresses featured a single shoulder strap pulled down over the shoulder, with a ribbon tied as a bow on the other strap. These were paired with mesh socks and Oxfords.
Models walking for Preen by Thornton Bregazzi displayed more of a dishevelled Victoriana vibe. There was no shortage of ruffles on these dresses, which were, again, coquettishly pulled down over shoulders. Sultry lace-adorned slip dresses came with single sleeves, and negligee-inspired silk dresses were haphazardly layered over sheer tops. At Christopher Kane, elaborately cut cardigans covered these sheer, lacy dresses.
Ensembles showcased by Simone Rocha incorporated so many layers of fairy-tale ruffles that you could almost miss the Gothic undertones. But layers of gathered tulle, peek-a-boo lace panels and asymmetrical lace appendages were affixed onto many of the dresses, and the pairing of a sheer embroidered Victorian dress over a basic white blouse reaffirmed the brand’s girlie-meets-grunge direction.
Good enough to eat
The endless waiting around at fashion shows is enough to make anyone hungry, so seeing lots of ice-cream shades on the runways was a welcome development. Maybe it was a collective hunger, or perhaps because these colours feel so refreshing in the sunshine, but multiple designers opted for a sugary palette. Pastels are a regular on the runway, but what felt new this time around was the slightly odd but complimentary tones chosen. While still pleasing, they were a long way from head-to-toe custard yellow.
Marc Jacobs went for silky tracksuit pants in rum-raisin and chocolate, mixed with crunchy textured tops in strawberry and lemon. Temperley London played with soft pistachio in bias-cut satin, and as layers of millefeuille tulle and vanilla. Tadashi Shoji went for apricot lace, while Tory Burch kept things neat and chic by adding a folded leather collar in sorbet pink to a belted camel coat.
Victoria Beckham had low-slung skirts, tops and dresses in lemon, lilac and salted caramel, even finishing one collar with what could well have been strawberry topping.
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi gave a lingerie-inspired slip dress a new twist with trailing embroidery and lace details in lemon, peach and lilac. For its first foray into ready-to-wear, Ralph and Russo presented a sheer wrap trimmed with feathers in a muted periwinkle blue so pretty that if it isn’t already an ice cream flavour, then it should be.
Needless to say we will probably all be donning dessert-inspired shades in the coming months.
Singing in the rain
While snow and sunshine are a regular inspiration for designers, this season everyone seemed enthralled with the idea of rain, prompting a blizzard of practical rain coats and anoraks.
Marc Jacobs gave us oversized versions, tightly belted with bumbags, and sliding off shoulders in either a zippy citrus yellow or completely transparent. British brand Burberry — which probably knows a thing or thing about being rained on — went all out, layering translucent versions over dresses, jumpers and menswear and, to protect from heavy squalls, even layered a long anorak under a short one. More checks were seen at Versus Versace, which layered a plastic coated sleeveless coat over matching trousers, top and hat.
Christopher Kane gave us patterned plastic housecoats — complete with large decorative buttons — while Mary Katranzou took the theme of waterproofing to heart, transforming drawstring anoraks into complete dresses. Shiny nylon tops, tightly fastened around necks, flowed into puffball skirts in vibrant prints, or vivid pinks or oranges. Pringle of Scotland went for a far softer aesthetic, using the vast acreage of flowing anorak and dress to depict landscape scenes.