So what will we be wearing in 2016?

sissinghurst 10 april 2011 016

And will it be Tudor-inspired?  More of that later.

Fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris have just showcased designers’ collections for Spring-Summer 2016.  Buyers have committed their budgets, journalists are determining the trends they will highlight, and designers are considering where they go from here to Autumn-Winter 2016-17.  So what will we see in Vogue’s March 2016 issue, and even more interesting, what might be the trends that emerge and persist into Autumn next year?

New York designers know their customer.  A rich tradition of trunk shows and a strong commercial vein leave little room for wild experimentation.  Jo Ellison at London’s Financial Times highlighted the prettiness of collections from Givenchy, showing silk and lace slips; richly embellished fabrics at Proenza Schouler; 70s Stevie Nicks inspiration at Rodarte; a rose-themed collection from Carolina Herrera, and a Spanish feel at Oscar de la Renta.  Crisp shirts and simple shapes were mixed with a richness and embellishment as this season’s romantic theme continues.  Marc Jacobs first collection since consolidating his label’s main and subsidiary lines will get heavy exposure, especially in the US press – it was a joyous celebration of US culture and a riot of beautiful fabrics and colour.

London had its share of glitter and glamour too.  Gareth Pugh’s show featured showgirls and a Cabaret-esque 1930s glitz; there were beautiful floral printed and embellished romantic dresses from Erdem and Marques Almeida but there was also graphic and modernist colour from Jonathan Saunders and Christopher Kane.  Stylist magazine loved the variety of textiles: plastic and lace from Christopher Kane; Faustine Steinmetz’s glorious embellished denim (see more here); and Erdem’s feather-like frayed chiffons. The London Daily Telegraph liked Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s ballet-inspired collection and Emilia Wickstead’s “playful and daring” clashing colours and prints.  One of the most-admired pieces was Giles’s astonishing fan-vaulted gowns in a collection that seemed to have been inspired by Tudor and Stuart court dress.  They were simply stunning, in construction as well as visual effect.

Fendi in Milan picked up a similar theme, showing dramatically ballooning sleeves, lavish collars and leather like armour: “an ode to the tudor rose” in Vogue’s Suzy Menkes’s words. Opinions were divided on Prada’s show.  London’s Financial Times and Daily Telegraph gave it a cool reception but Stylist pronounced the boxy 60s skirt suits “the hit of 2016”. It was certainly an eclectic collection, featuring flapper-styles as well as 50s and 60s shapes and some 70s wallpaper prints.  Gucci delivered another eclectic, colour and print packed show and its probably safe to say that both Prada and Gucci’s eclecticism will feature strongly in Spring’s trends: vintage-chic continues to run as a trend.

Paris gave us everything.  The more conceptual labels offered blue witches at Comme des Garcons, more wonderful 3D sculpting at Sacai and a theme of reclamation and utility at Maison Margiela.  Dries van Noten, Lanvin, Yohji Yamamoto and McQueen were all praised by Vogue’s Suzy Menkes for the sheer beauty of their collections, featuring respectively lavishly embellished fabric clashes, simply elegant black, frilled lingerie-inspired clothes, and frills, flowers and translucence.

So Autumn’s romantic trends look set to persist into next spring, though perhaps with stronger colour and more bold print clashing and eclecticism.  The magazines might also pick up on some of the ballet-themed collections to showcase frilled, translucent, lingerie-inspired gowns.  There will probably continue to be a vintage focus, perhaps especially with a more historical feel.  Grunge will also feature, echoing new label Vetements’s collection – influential now that its lead designer, Demna Gvasalina has been recruited to Balenciaga.

Continuity is only part of the story though.  One of the most interesting new ideas featured in this round of shows was the tudor influence at Giles and Fendi.  As innovative fabrics and technologies like 3D printing enable more architectural shapes, like the amazing Giles fan-vaulted gowns, I wonder whether we will see more in this vein.  I would never have expected to find myself yearning to wear a gown inspired by a ceiling support but fashion at its best inspires us with the unexpected, the innovative, the dramatically desirable.

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