Spring/Summer 2017: 10 Trends To Know Now
Spring/summer 2017 got off to a messy start – not least because some of the shows we were viewing were on-season autumn/winter ones. Turns out expounding the merits of an autumn collection being available for purchase – drum roll – in the autumn is hard when September in New York spells 30 degree heat and an even more heated pre-election political climate. That political subtext continued in London, as designers tried to come to terms with Brexit amid unrelenting waves of ruffles and uneven (disorderly?) hemlines. Milan, with typical Italian tenacity, sought to kill confusion with spectacle. And by the time we got to Paris, it was pops of fuchsia, Eighties throwbacks and kitten heels galore. Here are the ten biggest trends of the spring/summer 2017 season.
Miuccia Prada’s collection may have been about a return to “normal clothes”, semaphored in that opening knee-length black skirt, but she also threw in some left-field styling tips, namely: bralettes over buttoned-up shirts. (These cropped up again at Miu Miu, in the form of ruched Fifties bikini tops worn over utilitarian dresses.) Elsewhere Alexander Wang experimented with wrap-around styles, some sexier than others; Alexander McQueen showed studded leather ones with diaphanous dresses; Altuzarra gave them a retro makeover with tiny cherry prints and frills; Victoria Beckham paired bralettes with everything, including suits; and Céline offered crochet knitted bralettes (nipples clearly outlined) over shirts. A feisty take on officewear? Consider this glass ceiling ammunition.
Think pink – but not sugared almond or dusty rose or sickly bubblegum. No, the Paris catwalks defiantly dictated fuchsia. It cropped up at Topshop on pointed stilettos, resurfaced at Bottega Veneta in the form of a hot pink leather mackintosh, then came out loud and proud at usually neutral Hermès, where it comprised a stunning tulle skirted evening gown. Valentino sealed the deal with its cape/dress hybrid, tight at the neck to elegant effect, and Balenciaga followed up by pairing it with purple Spandex. Do you dare?
3. Deconstructed Shirting
A trend that began in New York and didn’t let up. The best were oversized and loud at Marques’Almeida, one-shouldered and sexy at Victoria Beckham, naïve and eccentrically cut at Jacquemus. Monse, Tome and Alexander Wang also added spins on the trend, chopping them up and adding extra sleeves and collars and cuffs. Conclusion: if you don’t have a blue striped shirt in your wardrobe now, buy one, and do the buttons up wrong. Or wait until spring to buy the best.
4. Kitten Heels
A close call, as flatforms were a popular shape on the catwalk, but the kitten heels have it and here’s why: the French street style set are all wearing them. Theirs are classic black slingbacks from Prada or two-toned reissues from Chanel or tiny Céline pointed pumps. Regardless, we all know that where the French style set leads, we follow. At Dior they were branded; at Loewe they were funky; at Prada bordering on the ugly.
Eighties excess was writ large this season, quite literally in the oversized silhouette that came to define many collections. Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia inserted whalebone rods across the shoulders of coats and jackets to create his hulking power shoulders, but it was the Joan Collins-style tops secured with vintage brooches and paired with Spandex leggings that made the biggest impression. Likewise at Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello imagined young girls going through their mothers’ old YSL and pilfering the bits they liked: velvet devoré draped and sweetheart neckline mini dresses, cropped smoking jackets and liquid gold lamé numbers. Gucci’s Eighties looks were more Princess Diana-oriented, while other designers such as Lorenzo Serafini at Philosophy and Isabel Marant merely borrowed elements: a Siouxsie Sioux belt here, a puffball sleeve there. Combine that with slogan T-shirts at Dior, vintage neon surfing sweaters at Alexander Wang and Debbie Gibson earrings just about everywhere, and we’re facing a full-on revival.
Maria Grazia Chiuri chose sportswear for her debut at Dior, taking the theme of fencing and rendering it utterly chic, if a little prescriptive. Gucci’s nod, having been decisive in recent seasons, was more cursory for spring, as Alessandro Michele put Seventies running leggings underneath elaborate floral and flouncy ball gowns. It was Versace who had the most fun with the trend, studding anoraks and tracksuit tops with crystals and pouring models into go-faster leggings and drawstring-pulled nylon. And the prize for the most unexpectedly fabulous accessory? The Teva-style flatform sandals. Race you to the checkout.
Calling all wannabe ballerinas: tulle will be everywhere next spring. Molly Goddard has built a brand on the fabric, and presented it in tutus of stylish navy and brazen party pink, but it was interesting to map how other brands took on this trickiest of trimmings. At Dior it formed the feminine counterpart to logo branding; at Dries Van Noten it added a dark surface layer to oriental florals; at Rochas it was flouncy and unapologetic in sherbet tones and frothy layers.
8. Skewed Skirt Hemlines
The only consensus on hemlines? There is no consensus. Erratic, asymmetric and handkerchief hems ruled – quite literally at JW Anderson, where the designer constructed a dress out of Irish linen handkerchiefs. He continued that theme at Loewe, yanking them up and then down in uneven, offbeat lengths; and that was the case at Marni, too, where plissé pleating didn’t straighten matters out. At Louis Vuitton, sheer and solid panels vied for attention in gowns whose trains undulated whimsically; at Preen they were layered and unpredictable, as they were at Simone Rocha. And at Marques’Almeida they rose and fell according to the model’s mood. Where will yours take you?
9. Mini Bags
Bags are tiny and multifarious for spring: just big enough for a lipstick at Valentino and worn slung across the body in twos or threes on gold chains; big enough to handle some wallet shrapnel at Hermès; comprising tiny pouches attached to the vintage snap-fastened frame bags at Céline; and attached to gold bracelet bangles at Chloé. Only one took the trend to its logical conclusion, however: Louis Vuitton turned its Petite Malle into an iPhone case.
10. Modern Ruffles
So many ruffles, so little time – but this season they were presented in unusual fabrications. Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen offered some of the gutsiest, presenting them in black leather embroidered and printed with Scottish roses, while Erdem’s were perfectly frayed and linen; and Preen’s were haphazard and punky and occasionally sequined. Meanwhile at Jacquemus, Dries Van Noten and 3.1 Phillip Lim they were tiny and throat-constricting, with Victoriana overtones. You’ll be wearing them with cargo pants come spring.