The new year is not only about fresh beginnings and the opportunity to make optimistic vows for self-improvement, but it also heralds an exciting new season in fashion and brings a host of ideas, cuts and colours into our lives. With their transformational power, the clothes we wear often offer the most stylish way to project how we wish to be seen by the world.
The pieces showcased on September's spring-summer 2019 runways are now beginning to hit stores, bringing with them an enticing opportunity to upscale our public personas. If, like me, you have grown weary of wearing the same things on rotation, look to the new collections for a tranche of covetable pieces that are begging to be folded into your wardrobes. That's the good news. The bad news is that, with so many trends now being bandied about, it is difficult to know which ones to follow.
As the fashion calendar continues to speed up, the days of two dominant trends per year are long gone, replaced instead with any number of micro (read: short-lived) trends that come and go, seemingly in the blink of an eye. This makes it impractical, not to mention financially ruinous, to try and keep pace.
Likewise, as the environmental impact of fast fashion continues to make headlines, concerned consumers are being urged to make more considered purchases. The smart money is now on strategic shopping, and the onus is on the savvy shopper to take time to weigh up new ideas, and then filter them down to a few relevant purchases. In short, it is time to adopt the shopping habits of our grandmothers and ditch the clickbait approach of late. Still, the trick is knowing what to follow.
Despite so many ideas swirling about, there are some key trends that are going to stand the test of time. For example, if your wardrobe is filled with monochromatic trouser-suits, then you will find solace in the calm tailoring of the jumpsuits seen in the spring-summer 2019 lines. Likewise, if vibrant patterns are your weakness, then the coming season and its playful pattern-clashing will have you dancing around the till.
Alternatively, if you are a child of the 1980s – or wish you had been – then the continuing wave of nostalgia will be heartening, while those of you who are captivated by beige will delight that this much-maligned colour is being championed by none other than Riccardo Tisci at Burberry. With nods to the past, present and future all on show in the latest collections, we digest the trends we believe are not just flashes in the pan, but long-term suggestions that will endure.
With nostalgia for the 1980s and 1990s peaking right now among millennials and Generation Z-ers, it is little wonder that washed denim is back in vogue across the board. Whether as faded bralettes and boyfriend shorts at Elisabetta Franchi, or a retro-bleached top and matching zippered jeans at Stella McCartney, the trick is to keep it light in tone and well worn in. Think vintage-looking over box-fresh. Don't feel like you have to dress yourself head-to-toe in washed denim, either. Look to Gucci and throw a cut-off stonewashed denim jacket over a simple dress to dial down the whole look.
While pastels have been around for some time, this season is it lilac that will take over from pale blue, and enjoy its moment in the spotlight. As with any block colour, the key is to find the right shade to suit your skin tone, and there is a hue out there for everyone. Try exploring the shade of mauve that Balenciaga carved into a sharp-shouldered coat, or the soft lavender that Gucci translated into a leather two-piece. If neither of those is right, why not follow Kenzo and opt for a retro knit in palest violet instead?
A bona fide long-term piece, the jumpsuit has lost much of its utilitarian edge this season, and evolved into something more elegant, more suitable for the evening. Max Mara has crafted a one-shoulder number in bitter chocolate, which dramatically cinches at the waist for after-dark glamour. Balenciaga, meanwhile, has gone for artful draping, pairing a sophisticated jumpsuit with an intricately looped belt. If zips are more your thing, Celine has just resurrected the biker look with a chic black leather all-in-one.
Clashing patterns never really went away, but this season is more fun than ever before. Kenzo went to town and mixed faux lizard skin with yellow gingham, and threw a green coat over it for good measure, while Gucci (the house that helped start it all) mixed more animal print – this time leopard – with a printed blouse and cascades of diamanté fringing at the neck, cuffs and on the boots. Top marks, however, go to Valentino for its splendid plissé gown, which seems to be patched from fabric offcuts, merging in gloriously beautiful chaos.
Many shades of yellow
Unfairly burdened with the reputation for being hard to wear, in fact the opposite is true of yellow, as it is a tone that can suit almost anyone. Pucci delivered yellow in the form of a pale daffodil belted dress, throwing on a clashing panel for drama. Max Mara went for head-to-toe butterscotch, a shade so creamy it actually glowed all the way down to the shoes. Moschino, meanwhile, indulged its playful side and delivered a scribbled motif gown in a sharp lemony shade, which was both acidic and eye-catching.
Normally the preserve of the festive party circuit, sequins are big news for spring-summer 2019. The cheap gold that is normally associated with the material was replaced by an altogether lighter, devil-may-care approach this season. There were swirling tones of purple sequins at Pucci, rolling over a light ground and topped with a beret, while SportMax ensured a high-stakes sequinned halter-neck stayed lighthearted by ditching the shoes. Meanwhile, Dolce and Gabbana embraced its Italian extravagance fully with densely worked areas of sequins sitting over a graffiti and piano-key-strewn gown. Glorious.