Wardrobe updates from the spring-summer catwalks
What will you be wearing next season? As the latest round of fashion shows draw to a close, Meadhbh McGrath casts a critical eye over the emerging trends
Fashion month finally came to a close on Tuesday after four weeks of highs, lows and even lower lows across New York, London, Milan and Paris. The spring-summer collections were shown at a particularly fraught time, given the uncertainty around Brexit, rumours of major acquisitions (including the now confirmed Michael Kors-Versace deal) and the turbulence of the #MeToo movement, which came to a head last Thursday with the US Senate committee hearings over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's alleged sexual assault on Christine Blasey Ford.
It made for a complex backdrop to the usual glitz and glamour of Fashion Week: critics pondered what Britain's split from the EU next year would mean for the industry. Fans worried the $2bn Versace sale would mean a watering-down of the brand's ultra-luxe Italian allure for Kors' American market (Donatella Versace quickly released a statement reassuring that the house "will remain Italian, made in Italy and that it will keep its glamour, daring and inclusive attitude that have made you all love it").
And women despaired at polarising designer Hedi Slimane's first collection for Celine, which battered former creative director Phoebe Philo's female-focused design philosophy and offered up pouty babydoll dresses and micro-minis in its place. What will we be wearing next season? We've highlighted four of the key themes from each of the fashion capitals.
Or, to use Pantone's vernacular, 'Aspen Gold'. Each season, the colour institute releases a forecast of the shades we can expect to see on the catwalks, and it was exactly right with this sunshine hue. "Brightening our day, sunny Aspen Gold stimulates feelings of joy and good cheer," says Pantone, and it may be just what we need after another long, dark winter and even darker social climate.
At Carolina Herrera, Wes Gordon's debut collection celebrated bright colour, most joyously with a bold, blinding yellow strapless evening gown. Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford and now the world's most in-demand model, strutted out at Marc Jacobs in a rubber coat and head scarf.
Brandon Maxwell showcased a brilliant maxi-length shirtdress, while new name to know Pyer Moss's single-sleeve number would light up any room. Oscar de la Renta had sweeping ballgowns, too, but also offered daywear, including wide-leg trousers paired with a flowing striped tunic.
London brands made a strong case for statement lace pieces on the spring-summer catwalks. There was moody black and red lace at Christopher Kane in erotically-charged bodices, boned dresses and midi skirts that aimed to subvert the notion of 'sexy dressing' for something more empowering.
Simone Rocha favoured a similar palette, with more delicately feminine designs inspired by her Chinese heritage. Broad-brimmed hats were draped with lace-trimmed veils, while dresses were dripping with lace or edged with dainty florals. For a brighter perspective, look to Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, where a series of one-shoulder lace pieces dominated in vivid shades of orange, pink, green and blue. The dramatic ruffles were paired with flat boots or sandals and socks for a more laid-back look.
The fiery coat
Autumn's spicy hues look set to get a summery blast next season, judging by the Milan catwalks. Salvatore Ferragamo's gorgeous saffron duchesse satin coat was a standout. The cut was straight, almost masculine, and paired with khaki shirt and shorts, it was bold but accessible - likely to be one of spring's hero pieces.
The length tended to hit at, or just below, the knee, but the fit varied. Prada championed a 60s-inspired boxy shape in rich cherry red, and teamed with boxing-sock sandals and a punky Alice band.
At Versace, there were sleek satin jackets with 70s collars and a leather coat in loud lipstick red, contrasted with graphic prints and multicoloured stripes. Satin may not be the most practical for an Irish spring, but these shades will make for a cheerful wardrobe update.
Paris Fashion Week seemed to be haunted by a sense of deja vu this year. At Celine - the most anticipated show of the season - Hedi Slimane picked up right where he left off at Saint Laurent in 2016, sticking to the brash 80s-inspired glamour that has become his signature, with prom dresses slashed to the navel and cut to the thigh, puffball skirts, biker jackets and dramatic shoulders. It's a look that Anthony Vaccarello, Saint Laurent's current creative director, has run with since joining the brand, resulting in a pair of starkly similar collections that celebrated elements of 80s style that most modern, grown-up women wouldn't be caught dead in.
Balmain also ramped up the 80s with a string of party dresses, sharp shoulders and acid-wash denim. Creative director Oliver Rousteing paid homage to Thierry Mugler's iconic designs - perhaps a little too closely, prompting Mugler to post side-by-side shots on social media with the caption, "Seriously??? 'Probably a tribute', ha ha!"
Thank God for Isabel Marant, then, who delivered an 80s revival we can actually get behind. Yes, there were 'Mom' jeans and silver lamé dresses, but this was a collection attuned to what real women want to wear in 2019. It had a more relaxed feel, as Marant paired 80s excess with minimal make-up and hair styling (no perms here), plus slouchy, walkable boots.