After attending 188 catwalk shows over 30 days in four fashion capitals, Carolyn Asome, deputy fashion editor of The Times, picks the trends we actually will wear this spring.
A fashion expert’s guide to what we will actually wear this spring
1. The Seventies
Despite being referred to as the “decade that style forgot”, ever noticed how designers are constantly re-visiting this period? How “style icons”, Alexa Chung and Charlotte Gainsbourg refer to it as the coolest fashion period, heck – there’s even a Bella Freud sweater that pays homage to 1970.
And yet, and yet, it’s hard not to look like a retro pastiche when referencing ditsy florals, faded denim and an abundance of patchwork. Style mavens will wear their 70s references lightly come spring – cue suede and broderie anglaise –but in strong, stark shapes.
Spring has contrived a myriad new ways to wear denim, none of which involve a pair of skinny jeans. Thought denim was just for “casual”? Think again as designers set about plundering the archives for new/old denim shapes. The key message is that denim in 2015 is smart and tailored and the very antithesis of a battered, distressed silhouette.
If you’re not currently hankering after denim sailor pants (decorated with gold hardware), denim duster coats like this one from Sea NY, jackets or shirt-dresses, then don’t worry because you soon will be.
The unsung hero of our wardrobe and possibly the most flattering trouser shape according to Jane Lewis of Goat, a flares aficionado. “They make you look leaner and taller because the width of the flared hem balances out the width of your shoulder and helps to create a small waist,” she explains (her spring flares are pictured here).
Denim fares will be popular but so too will suede and wool crepe versions. Wear them with block heels or a chunky flatform.
18th century men’s nightshirts might seem a niche trend for next summer but mark my words: these will be big, quite literally. For starters, ask yourself when’s the last time you were able to disguise a pregnancy bump or mislay two dinners ever since smock tops died a death.
It’s the opposite of body con but it can still look very sexy and a little subversive. Raf Simons showed them with a period style boot but a summery wedge and a lorra lorra leg (popping up from the shores of St. Tropez to Portofino) are the way to make this work.
Where to find the look? Aquilano Rimondi (pictured) and Sophie D’Hoore.
5. Off-the-shoulder tops
Not since the mid-Eighties have off-the-shoulder tops been greeted with as much fanfare. The new erogenous zone? A woman’s clavicle (as fetishised by Ralph Fiennes in the English Patient) and the tops of your shoulders. Get onto those press-ups if you want to have a hope of flashing bare, toned flesh.
While some designers showed drop shoulders, Alexander Wang at Balenciga pulled them right down on ruched-sleeved dresses. Make it work by ensuring the rest of your outfit is covered up: this is not an excuse to get out your wares rather necklines, were resolutely above the breast.
6. Frayed hems
I should caveat this trend by saying that these were neat hems: models did not walk down the catwalk in unravelling dresses. Frayed hems cropped up on the edges of tops, dresses and trousers adding a folksy, macramé feel.
As details go, it’s not one that’s going to scare the horses and it will add a summery, beachy feel to an otherwise boring outfit. Expect sales of scissors to soar as fashion folk get to grips with a spot of DIY shearing.
7. Rolled up sleeves
Sometimes the fashion gods look down kindly and decree a trend which doesn’t require you to stick your arms on the 5:2 diet or take out a second mortgage.
No, I am not scraping the trends barrel but offering you a gratis solution to ooze Emmanuelle Alt insouciance. Rodolfo Paglialunga, who showed his first collection at Jil Sander, did it best with rolled up sleeves under cashmere tank tops and trousers (pictured and main image).
For the quickest way to adopt a rakish Fashion Ed pose next summer or sooner, look no further.
Say linen and what do you think of? Crumpled, 19th century safari wear springs to mind. Yet there was nothing dated about the bold, architectural shapes of the linen tunics and asymmetric dresses at Marni and Loewe.
Tailored and snappy, here were outfits for the cosmo city dweller. Furthermore, a sludgy palette of stone and beige has never looked less boring, especially when toughened up with slivers of black leather and juxtaposed against different fabrics.
In 2015 beige shall be known as stone. Why? Because this most bland of shades has had a makeover: in jute at Victoria Beckham, thick industrial-looking twill cotton at Rag & Bone and swishy-tastic linen dresses at Loewe and everywhere else.
It will be a fashion-forward, confident woman who wears “stone” (forgetting for a minute the 2 million other commuters who get onto the tube each morning dressed in beige). In a twist of fashion irony “stone” will mark out the individual dresser who is not perceived as trying too hard and who, as the French would say feels “bien dans sa peau.”
10. Vertical stripes
Can you imagine getting through a summer without wearing stripes? Me neither. Except put away your Breton tops because vertical stripes are a happening next year. Forget all you’ve read about them making you look wider or resembling a clown. Vertical can work if you mix stripes of varying thickness while also adding a slight curve.
Altuzarra mastered this on pencil skirts while Beckham - who appeared to have nailed most of the trends on this spread - showed them swirled over long, jersey knit dresses. They weren’t confined to monochrome either. Bold clashing stripes were popular, so too were the candy coloured ones at Suno. Rejoice: you will look “every day normal” but console yourself that in fashion speak, you will still be “working a look.”
11. The flatform
Frustrated by having to choose between being comfortable or feeling shorter and dumpy-looking? It was only going to be a matter of time before someone combined the comfort of flats with the positive psychological uplift of a bit of added height. “Pah!” said most designers in unison, “What Birkenstock can do to the shoe-scape, we can do better!”.
Flatforms ruled the catwalks, appearing in many guises from sleek, minimal-looking, rubber moulded versions at Coach to sportier, beachy styles at DKNY or minimal, encrusted jewelled ones at Rag & Bone. Be warned spindly heels, your days are numbered.
Where to find the look? DKNY and Miss KG (pictured).
By Carolyn Asome, The Times