10 on trend: The cheat's guide to spring's top fashion trends
From must-have accessories to bold new shapes and silhouettes, Meadhbh McGrath takes a look at the season's stand-out trends.
On the catwalks, designers drew inspiration from the Golden State, with audacious tie-dye, languid crochet and nostalgic shell jewellery creating a dreamy, sun-soaked vision for spring. There were sporty flourishes at Calvin Klein, where pencil skirts were fashioned from neoprene and T-shirts featured the famous Jaws poster. At Chloe, haute bohemian girls wore puka necklaces, and the LA influence was evident in the proliferation of cycling shorts at Fendi, Marine Serre and Chanel, where the catwalk was built to look like a beach. But we're anticipating a major hippie moment this season as the high street is covered in tie-dye prints. Prada put a modish spin on the vibrant print by teaming it with knee-socks and headbands, Stella McCartney delivered laid-back chic in pastels and denim, and Proenza Schouler offered edgy, oversized shirting with bleached skirts and tailoring. Expect to see plenty of crochet, too, whether in bright dresses as seen at Micheal Kors, Victoria Beckham's neat camis layered over slim trousers, or Northern Irish designer JW Anderson's handcrafted details. Dive in - the water's fine.
Fashion may have rebranded it with all manner of enticing names - sand, ecru, biscuit, oatmeal - but there's no escaping the fact that the hottest shade of the season is… beige. It's cropped up here and there over the last few seasons, and for spring, it's a full onslaught. For his Burberry debut, new creative director Riccardo Tisci embraced the brand's classic trench-coat hue in a series of head-to-toe looks, and it appeared in everything from paperbag-waist trousers to ballgowns at the likes of Max Mara, Dior, Emilia Wickstead and even the ultraglam Kardashian favourite Balmain. As designers look to diversify 'nude' shades, the spectrum of flesh tones has expanded, and the way to wear now is by incorporating multiple shades in one look, dubbed 'tonal dressing', and mixing different textures like leather, linen and silk. Worn head-to-toe, it looks sleek and very expensive.
The 1980s love-in is still going strong, as glitzy party dresses stormed the catwalks and acid-wash denim made an unlikely comeback. For a more accessible take on the trend, try the bold shoulder. You can go all-out with a padded, boxy jacket, as seen at Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs, or go for a softer look with some dramatic puffs and a square or sweetheart neckline. Could this silhouette finally lay the Bardot to rest? Granted, it is a weather-permitting trend, as you'll need to forgo a jacket to let your shoulders shine, but it is sure to elevate breezy day dresses and occasionwear. Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, Rodarte and Brock Collection are leading the charge, with the look verging from romantic to razor-sharp in micro-floral prints, pastels, wafting lace and ruffled leather.
Florals, for spring? We hear you, but Richard Quinn's riotous interpretation feels, if not groundbreaking, then genuinely exciting. Fashion's fastest rising star, whose parents are from Meath and Donegal, offered up what he describes as "floramaniac" prints in swishy caftans, intricately embroidered gowns and puffball silhouettes. The effect was chaotic and utterly irresistible. And he's not alone: Versace draped micro-print florals into body-con silhouettes, styled with joyously clashing tights and headscarves; Preen by Thornton Bregazzi spliced up typically soft, dainty prints and added clunky flat sandals to make pretty florals deliciously ugly; Alexander McQueen presented vivid head-to-toe prints in decadent jacquard, while Louis Vuitton gave florals an edge with a vibrant brocade jumpsuit, which has since been worn by Emma Stone. Rixo London, the brand co-founded by Northern Irish designer Orlagh McCloskey, was responsible for last year's most in-demand dresses, and it has more head-turning florals in store for spring, too. This season, be a wildflower, not a wallflower.
Spring's It dress isn't a dress at all. While the prairie styles that reigned in 2018 remain popular, the must-have item from the catwalks is the boilersuit, which is already flying off the rails all over the high street. Designer offerings ranged from the hard-wearing everyday staples, as seen at Stella McCartney and Alexa Chung, to the monochrome and modern at Jil Sander and Louis Vuitton, to bursts of colour at Hermes and edgy leather at Celine. On the high street, there are already boiler suits in muted neutral tones, all shades of denim and the Insta favourite, pastel pink. Utilitarian, minimalist, party-ready glam - whatever your style, this is the all-in-one wardrobe solution for every occasion this season.
Prepare to give your skirts the summer off as shorts of all forms take centre stage. There's the Kardashian-endorsed cycling short, which only the brave and the bold should dabble in - and if you do, the fashion world recommends smartening them up with a longline blazer. If you're not loving the Lycra, there are also much more accessible, flattering and stylish options available for dressing up or down. Prada tried to bring back the divisive Bermuda short, this time rendered in duchess satin and styled with a plunging bodysuit and studded headband. The fit was looser and more sporty at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, using technical nylon fabrics, while Chloe went boho with paisley prints and earthy tones. Utilitarian styles popped up at Alberta Ferretti, where they were offset with a silky camisole; at Rejino Pyo, in slouchy, summer-ready green or lemon stripes; and at Loewe, with a beige utility jacket to match. Soften the look with a breezy blouse, or look to Tibi, where shorts were amplified with a structured, tailored blazer.
The XXL tote
Fashion loves a supersized piece - last summer, it was the viral Jacquemus straw hat, this winter saw street style stars ambling around in Balenciaga's densely-layered coats, and now, the XXL tote is set to take off. Ditch your micro-bags as at last designers are catering to the demands of modern life with an oversized carry-all. Victoria Beckham continues to appeal to working women with giant shapes in black, white and eye-popping red, while at Jil Sander, blue and beige bags were chic and structured, held under the crook of an arm. Proenza Schouler's acid-wash denim versions spilled open, Jonathan Anderson turned to supple tan leather for Loewe, and Jacquemus returned to straw for the ultimate beach bag. Finally, a handbag guaranteed to fit all the essentials, and then some.
Trainers aren't going anywhere - in fact, designers are going more bonkers with them than ever. But for those facing trainer fatigue, there are alternatives. At Kate Spade, new creative director Nicola Glass, from Antrim, put forth a hit lavender knee boot; Louis Vuitton proposed a summer ankle boot, and Givenchy and Tom Ford suggested razor-sharp pointed courts. But our pick of the bunch is the fancy flat. As comfortable as a pair of trainers, but a good deal more polished, these flats will give a stylish finish to everything from a simple LBD to jeans and a T-shirt. At Simone Rocha, the Irish designer's satin pumps sprouted feathers; and heavy hitters Valentino and Burberry got in on the action, too: the former grounded fanciful gowns with sturdy sandals, complete with detachable feather trims, and at Burberry, among the duct-tape-wrapped courts, new creative director Riccardo Tisci paired chunky Mary-Janes made for stomping with ankle socks and mini-dresses.
It's already a hit with the Insta-set, ruling the front row and the streets throughout the current fashion month. And the trend has filtered down to the high street, with affordable options in Accessorize, & Other Stories and Arnotts. The one-time schoolgirl staple is back, but the look this time is grown-up and unapologetically glamorous: headbands were romantic and beaded at Simone Rocha, feminine and sparkly at Miu Miu, and fabulously OTT at Prada (pictured), where voluminous padded styles in satin and leather were variously covered in decadent crystals or hard-edged studs. Worn with lived-in denim, a tough biker jacket or a chiffon gown, the headband will be everywhere this spring.
Are we finally seeing the return of the statement necklace? The trend for enormous earrings shows no sign of slowing down, but it looks to have ushered in a new era of flashy jewellery. This season's key piece is a chain choker. At the much-hyped label Off-White, buzzy designer Virgil Abloh offers a variety of industrial-strength chain chokers, worn against the skin to make an impact with crisp whites, and layered over a button-down shirt for more of a subtle statement. Marni's gilded necklace (pictured) was a standout, while Alexander McQueen paired hefty chokers with leather, sharp tailoring and pastel gowns alike. And don't feel like you have to choose between earrings and a necklace: when it comes to jewellery, in 2019, more is more.