How best to sum up the Spring / Summer '18 season? The easiest way would be by not attempting to. This was a catwalk season that defied any neat explanations, in much the same way the world does at the moment. The fashion world responded to global turbulence the way it knows how, by wilfully celebrating beauty and the joy of life.
What that means depends on who you ask. In one corner of the fashion world, there was an explosion of unabashed glamour and glitter. In another, an overwhelming wave of humour and nostalgia. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, a sense of punk rock rebellion. And running throughout it all, a stand for uplift and individuality in uncertain times.
But, as always, we will attempt to distill this season's plethora of themes and sub-themes into digestible chunks for the fashion-hungry, so that you can be sure to enjoy the best that 2018's designer offering has in store.
So, if you're to get ahead of the game, here are seven trends from the SS18's fashion show season that will be big news for 2018.
We've been seeing a return to glamour and glitter for a few seasons now.
Dries van Noten called it, dedicating his Spring/Summer '18 show to 'The Optimist, she knows the rules to break the rules. Cocktails at five. Addicted to fun, elegance...' But the ubiquity of evening wear this season signals a real shift. It's time to get the heels back out and give in to the pull of sequins and glitter, as seen at Saint Laurent, Erdem, Maison Margiela and more. This season's update: the return of the bubble hemline, the voluminous pouf that Cristobal Balenciaga made famous. A glamorous pouf of a dress covered in opulent, swaying ostrich feathers or black molten shimmer has inarguable impact.
Similar Trend: 80s Party Girl. A sense of feel-good nostalgia ruled the Milan and Paris shows and this often surfaced through the return of trends and icons from the Eighties as seen at Stella McCartney, Isabel Marant, Givenchy and more.
This was the season when the original Supermodels broke the internet, stonewashed denim and pouf hemlines made a comeback and Cindy Crawford's daughter, Kaia Gerber, emerged as fashion's biggest new catwalk star.
All that's missing is the My Little Pony reference. Oh, that happened too (thanks, Moschino.)
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May your skirts be long and transparent come spring. Dries van Noten, Christopher Kane, and Christian Dior all made strong cases for sheer dressing, giving new meaning to the words light and airy. From tulle to net, multi-layered to super simple, the sheer skirt has many guises.
Micro-trend: Clear plastic bags. Arguably also part of the 90s nostalgia trend, these clear bags blend easily with the sheer trend for giving the audience a glimpse of what's beneath. Helmut Lang, Chanel, Valentino, Celine - see-through bags were an SS18 staple.
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When designers weren't revisiting the Eighties, they were looking back to the Nineties, reviving some of their biggest selling hits. At Burberry, this meant the revival of its classic check.
While at Versace, Donatella celebrated founding designer Gianni's entire archive, bringing back his most famous prints and designs. But be it plaid dresses over t-shirts, silky slips or the 2018 take on the feather boa, the nineties are to be celebrated.
Other Nineties ideas coming your way this spring: pastels, cargo denim, grunge and the unlikeliest comeback of all, cycling shorts.
Micro-trend: Monogram bags. Whether it was at Gucci, Fendi or any of the big houses known for their repeating logos, the monogrammed bag is firmly back. And styles varied from giant shopper, right through to bum bag and clutch.
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Plastic, traditionally the stuff of grocery bags, water bottles and rain ponchos, is having a real high fashion moment, appearing everywhere from the functional rain coats at Burberry in London through to Valentino's futuristic moto jackets and Chanel's glamorous capes and boots.
It's a trend loaded with irony. In the process of elevating the synthetic stuff to luxury status, designers used it to dress down glamour and add an element of sport.
Prepare for your coats to be see-through and your textures to be rubbery.
Micro-trend: Elevating the ordinary. From the humble marigold washing up glove at Christopher Kane, through to 'table cloths' over bags at Balenciaga, fashion is pulling some of our simplest and most basic household accessories into the realm of couture and adding to it a sense of fun and whimsy.
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Fringing is to SS18 what feathers were to AW17, everywhere.
The season's decoration of choice made an appearance in Céline, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Loewe and many, many more.
Fringing has a tricky fashion history, becoming synonymous in the last few years with music festival fashion culture that similarly elevates flower crowns and bindis. Style's re-appropriation of the fringe hem though comes with a few stipulations, namely, go big or go home. Fringes should be made of luxe fabrics or modern fabrics and should be rich in abundance. Nothing lacklustre.
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Athletic-inspired women's wear isn't going away anytime soon, as proven by the extensive lineup of polo shirts, parkas, gym shorts and retro sneakers shown by the likes of Junya Watanabe, Prada, and Marc Jacobs.
Layer your speed-striped onesies with multi-material sports-jackets as seen at Valentino and Isabel Marant or go for a preppy polo shirt à la Marni and Moncler. But just, for the love of all things fashion, stay away from the wedge trainer.
Micro-trend: quirky trainers. Sports shoes and trainers aren't going anywhere - let the flat-soled die hards rejoice for another season. But where we were once supporting a Nike flyknit or a simple B+W Vans slip on, 2018 will see the rise of the fun trainer. Bordering on novelty, these trainers are a feature unto themselves.
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In a year in which many designers reached new levels of political outspokenness, it's not surprising to see the sartorial tropes of resistance return.
At Balenciaga, Demna Gvasalia epitomised this when he spoke backstage about creating his own corrective and 'good' version of 'fake news,' the phrase popularised by Donald Trump, in his collection that borrowed elements from punk throughout.
And the rebelliousness marched through Miu Miu, Junya Watanabe, Kenzo and more. So be it slogan tees, spike earrings, slashed fabrics, gelled fringes or even a revisiting of your Dr Marten days, make a statement with your wardrobe.
Micro-trend: Chokers. Another of this year's accessories staples, the choker is certainly not going away in 2018. Bolder, velvetier, more ornate, the choker fits with the rebel punk's aesthetic.
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