Although we are all currently enjoying the winter weather in the UAE, fashion waits for no man (or woman), and labels are already gearing up for their pre-fall 2018 collections. While we don't need to think that far in advance, we do need to cast a glance ahead to the coming months and the inevitable wardrobe dilemmas in store for us. Here are our predictions of the season's key trends.
Spots and stripes
One of the biggest trends of late is stripes, and they show no sign of going away. For spring/summer 2018, Diane von Furstenberg gives us bold lines in shimmery 1970s sequins, while Gucci softens brazen stripes with accordion pleats. Hermès offers something more pared back with neat Breton lines, and regional brand Ingie Paris mixes horizontal and vertical stripes for evening chic.
An added bonus for spring is the arrival of spots. Whether in the form of enormous discs on coats, like at Marc Jacobs, or rough and ready dots at Prada, it is guaranteed that spots will make their way into your wardrobe somehow. A nice way to combine the two trends comes courtesy of Dior, which offers polka dots in neat and tidy stripes. Sorted.
Collections have been increasingly embracing colour, and spring/summer 2018 is all-out, head-to-toe, pulsing with energy. Marc Jacobs mixes oversized cuts with in-your-face hot pink, while Stella McCartney somehow makes tangerine wearable. Paco Rabanne has embraced bumble bee yellow and Versace – never one to be outdone – gives us trouser suits in shades of magenta, carrot and grape. Even Bottega Veneta, normally a bastion of elegant discretion, gives us pumpkin overlaid with uber-bright sequins.
Ultra Violet, Pantone’s colour of the year for 2018, pops up at Saint Laurent as a shoulder puffball; at Gucci as a chocolate wrapper dress; and at Moschino as a hot mess of feathers and butterflies.
Thankfully, not everything is about shouting this season, as the oh-so-delicious romance theme makes a return. Pretty ruffles continue to soften silhouettes, cascading from shoulders and around hems and necklines. Fittingly, Dior offers delicate dresses covered in dégradé lace and faded flowers, snagged on layers of wispy tulle, while Louis Vuitton has long floaty dresses, bold folds caught at the crook of the arm. Temperley London mixes a soft palette with gentle ruching from shoulder to waist, while Loewe brings us demure necklines with soft ruffles around the hips and lines of tiny covered buttons. The star of the season, however, has to be Alexander McQueen, whose distressed/undressed gowns, spilling from corsets with trails of foliage along the ground, are little short of masterful. Impossible to wear, but then what has practicality ever had to do with fashion?
Continuing the retro craze started by 1970s enthusiast Alessandro Michele at Gucci, it is impossible to move without tripping over some kind of reference to this kitschy era. Perhaps the hardest to carry off, but certainly the most fun to wear, the 1970s revival brings velvet crystal-studded green jumpsuits (now there is a sentence I never thought I would write), from Bottega Veneta (left centre), while at Armani, 1980s pleated dresses are printed with oversized orchids, complete with corsages at the shoulder (left).
Louis Vuitton heads for a totally different era with its King Louis XVI-inspired brocade frock coats, which are given a requisite Vuitton twist with silky boxer shorts and trainers (far left). Etro looks further afield – to India – to the traditional jama robes worn by the Mughals, now reimagined into fluid women's dresses. Marni sticks with the 1970s with patchwork coats over patchwork dresses, and Gucci… well, Gucci delivers fantastical mélanges of colour and pattern, with flared shapes, slippers and waist sashes. So skillful are the combinations, it makes me want to doff my wide brimmed, floppy hat in admiration.
We find a rest from the noise with pastel tones – so quiet and gentle, they are easy to overlook. A perfect antidote to city life, pastels are actually at their chicest amid the skyscrapers. Tory Burch presents tunic dresses in soft apricots and ballet-slipper pinks shimmering with sequins, while Chanel opts for asymmetric ombre tweeds, with colours sliding from Alice blue to cerulean. Tadashi goes for gentle blush pink lace, trimmed with feminine posies, while Temperley London gives us flowing pistachio printed with gold.
For true urban style, however, look to Tod’s and its lilac-y taupe leather trousers topped with buttermilk and lilac hooded zip-throughs. They speak of a lifestyle most of us can only dream of.