Fall '19 Ready-to-Wear Trend Report
Fashion Month is always such a wonderful opportunity for artists to voice their opinions on how the world is shifting, and it seems that this season there are many things to think about and so many conversations to be had regarding what we’ve seen on the runways.
I found it to be such a creative and bold season with one big theme in mind: an exploration of femininity. So much of what has taken place in the past year has to do with the changes in how the world views women, whether that’s with regards to their historic rise to power in Congress, their taking over of major fashion houses across the world, or voicing their opinions and telling their stories. This RTW season, I feel that fashion wants to celebrate the major strides society has made in supporting and empowering women around the world.
It was such a defiant and beautiful season, with so much focus on showcasing the power in femininity. We saw so much wonderful color and texture. Many collections were very fun and playful, but simultaneously, I think we saw a lot of joyous strength in the volume that designers were sending out. There were incredible and unique proportions to garments that we’ve never seen before, many wonderful coats that I’m certain will make quite a splash in stores next September, and very innovative executions of the fashion show from Moschino’s Price is Right performance to Saint Laurent’s Glow in the Dark extravaganza.
We’ve seen a wonderful blend of high and low that I think many designers are fixated with at the moment. There are always conversations surrounding the blending of two different cultures, but now I think we’re seeing so much discussion about the mixing of two cultures within the same city. I must cite Ricardo Tisci at Burberry, who showed a wonderful mix of dramatic coats and hoodies this season that completely emphasized an optimistic vision of togetherness and unity.
Finally, with the loss of one of fashion’s greatest legends Karl Lagerfeld, I think the one thing we’ve seen so much of is a respect and love for this world of fashion. While the news was certainly devastating, I have to applaud the houses of Fendi and Chanel for putting on two wonderful shows in Karl’s honor. It’s truly remarkable to see an artist’s legacy continued in such a beautiful way with so much reverence, optimism and love.
There’s certainly a lot of food for thought following the Fall 2019 fashion season, but thankfully, we can feast our eyes on all the wonders that fashion has brought us in the past month right here, right now. So without further ado, here are our top trends, straight from the Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear runways!
The Floral Coat
We have seen a lot of florals this season, again emphasizing the focus of fashion houses on redefining contemporary femininity. I think the most effective way to wear florals for Fall (groundbreaking!) is in the form of a fabulous coat. I find that a good mix of masculine tailoring with such a vibrant, blooming print creates a wonderfully structured and playful image. I must say, this trend was completely mastered by the wonderful Richard Quinn, whose florals this season looked both glamorous and youthful, with a subversive touch in head-to-toe floral skin-suits and enormous floral bows. I also loved Erdem’s romantic take on the trend as well as Prada’s and Jacquemus’ very modern, three-dimensional blooms adorning their coats this season.
Huff and Puffs
Designers, particularly in America, seem to be all about accessible romance and whimsy this season. It seems that many houses are questioning how to dress the modern woman in a way that flatters her feminine qualities without dampening her innate strength. We’ve seen a lot of very dramatic silhouettes and really unique proportions throughout the month, but it seems that what will sell and what will catch on trend-wise will be the puff sleeve. From a looser bell sleeve at Zimmerman to a higher princess puff at Brock Collection to a dramatic ruffled puff like at Tomo Koizumi’s freshman collection, the emphasis on strengthening the body through volume, yet softening that drama through feminine draping seems to provide a framework for a new and contemporary kind of woman.
Shreds and Patches
Textural eccentricity and variation went in a decidedly bohemian direction this season with designers focusing on mixing prints through patchwork. There’s an eclecticism to the blend of so many different prints and textures, but also a carefree playfulness that I think designers want to emphasize for women this season. I must credit Michael Kors for adapting leather patchwork into fabulous, glossy long coats for fall, which I suspect will be quite popular with his customers. I also must cite the wonderful nomadic sweater dresses at Etro, which I think highlight a focus on comfort and coziness. And I must say, I certainly appreciated Rio Uribe’s patchwork denim gown for Gypsy Sport. Though it might not be the most wearable garment, I appreciate his subversive, bizarre and wonderfully wacky work.
Birds of a Feather
It seems that fashion houses have recently been very interested in how to make a wearable piece more dynamic or more vibrant texturally. I think the technique that many designers have been focusing on this season has been the implementation and construction of feathers. We saw fabulous flamingo feathers at Christian Cowan’s show and wonderful feathered gowns at Marc Jacobs in New York, and of course, who could forget YSL’s amazing glow in the dark feathered cocktail dresses? I’m interested to see how sustainability plays into the design game this year. With the Paris Good Fashion act underway, are designers implementing techniques that utilize more synthetic textiles?
It’s all about making a statement on the runway these days, and what’s a more effective way to do so than to have it written on your clothes? We’ve certainly seen some rather unfortunate instances of wordplay dressing (cough cough Melania Trump) in the past year, so it seems that designers are trying to really establish a clear message that hopefully won’t offend any more people. Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior appears adamant on using text to underscore the solidarity of women while Jeremy Scott seems to use the rebellious nature of graffiti and the potential for miscommunication in language to spread a more anarchistic message. I must also cite Christopher Kane who uses the statement tee in such a fun way to explore something as complex as perverse sexual expression. Ultimately, the focus on text is a trend that I think many people can implement into their daily lives to express whatever message they hope to share, and what fun that will be for us to see.
This season, we’ve certainly seen a lot of designers look towards hyper-femininity as a starting point for their collections. Many houses seem particularly interested in the nouveau-look silhouette that Christian Dior made famous in the 50’s and it’s quite engrossing to see how they’ve been subverting that silhouette to reinterpret a contemporary notion of womanhood and femininity. Obviously looking at how Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior reinterpreted the look for the modern woman, we can see that femininity goes hand-in-hand with mobility, an active lifestyle and accessibility. At Jeremy Scott, we saw a mix of Midcentury silhouettes with the vigor and spirit of punk in accessories and print and at Oscar de la Renta, we saw a retention of that fabulous and glamorous structured silhouette as a means of bringing 50’s glamor into the 21st century.
Contrasting the hyper-femininity of the 50s, we’ve also seen a lot of houses looking at dressing women in more masculine tailoring. Sharp suits and wonderful trousers rendered in beautiful prints seem to hint at women appropriating a traditionally masculine trend but retaining an air of womanly power. Standouts included Julien Dossena’s decadent tailoring and prints at Paco Rabanne, Anthony Vaccarello’s super sexy suiting worn without much else, and Tom Ford’s fabulous velvet pantsuits, which seem fit for a sensual, textural look, perfect for the dynamic women of today. Though the queen of tailoring this season was definitely Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen who presented what the house is best known for: mens suits with subversive details.
Finally, we come across the revival of the underwear-as-outerwear trend. So many designers seem occupied with a return to or subversion of classic sensuality. There’s something very empowering in houses choosing to focus on showcasing a woman’s lingerie, but done in a way that highlights the contemporary freedom of the modern, sexually liberated woman. I must cite Simone Rocha’s fabulous transparencies with embroidered gems imitating corsetry boning, as well as JW Anderson’s wonderful pajama sets and sheer slips at Loewe. I’m fascinated by the ways designers translate classic sensuality and bring it to a level of punk, or rebellion, and the reigning king of this must be Olivier Rousteing at Balmain, who released the most stunning denim corset I have seen in my life.
All images via Vogue.com