In 2018, we got a complicated catwalk season that’s difficult to sum up tidily – rather like the rest of world affairs this year. Some parts of the fashion world exploded with unapologetic glamour and glitter. At the same time, other houses concentrated on nostalgia and humour. There was even a healthy dose of rebellious punk rock on display.
Chester Jefferies explain this season’s latest developments into some easy-to-digest chunks that will hopefully prove helpful as you try to make sense of 2018’s hottest trends.
Glamour and glitter
The urge toward more glamour and glitter has been growing for a few years at this point. Dries van Noten’s dedication of his Spring/Summer ’18 show to the Optimist really sets the standard. DvN says ‘the Optimist knows the rules only so that she can break the rules.’ This season brought forth so many evening wear selections that the trend toward elegance is impossible to deny. 2018 is the year to get the heels out of the closet and surrender to the allure of sequins and glitter. Chic glitter was on display at Saint Laurent, Maison Margiela, Erdem, and elsewhere. The latest refinement for this season is the return of Cristobal Balenciaga’s favourite volume-amplifier, the bubble hemline. An audacious shape embellished with additions like shimmering sequins or opulent ostrich feathers.
The 80s Party Girl look is making a comeback, too. This was just one of the signs of nostalgia on display at the Paris and Milan shows. 80s looks were especially prominent at Isabel Marant, Givenchy, Stella McCartney, and others.
2018 will likely go down in fashion history as the season when pouffe hemlines and stonewashed denim came back and Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford’s daughter, became the biggest darling of the catwalk.
Let your skirts come down and get transparent this spring. Sheer looks were much in evidence at Christian Dior, Dries van Noten, and Christopher Kane. Sheer skirts of every description, from super-simple to multi-layered, and tulle to net, were all being offered.
Another see-through micro-trend: The clear plastic bag is back. You might tie this little development into the rise of 90s nostalgia, but visually it belongs right alongside the new enthusiasm for sheer. See-through bags were spotted with Chanel, Helmut Lang, Valentino, and Celine.
It seems like every designer who eschewed a trip to the Eighties set their sights on the Nineties instead. Long-lived designers were particularly interested in reviving their own best sellers from the decade. Burberry, for example, focused again on its classic check.
Donatella Versace went for the nineties in a huge way, celebrating a huge sampling of founder Gianni’s most famous works. Silky slip, plaid dresses over t-shirts, and modern updates of the feather boa – Versace is all about the nineties this season.
This spring you’ll also probably pick up on the following resurgent 90s trends: cargo denim, grunge, pastels, and, believe it or not, cycling shorts.
Mini-trend: Monogrammed bags. It seems like every house with a repeatable logo – Gucci, Fendi, and more – brought the monogrammed bag back this season. Styles were diverse, ranging from giant shoppers to bum bags and clutches.
Often eschewed as an inherent bargain-basement material, plastic is enjoying a moment in the spotlight in the couture world. Burberry in London is showing functional plastic raincoats, Chanel’s combining glamour and shine in capes and boots, and Valentino is introducing futuristic moto jackets.
This trend is drenched in ironic self-awareness. The mocking aspect of incorporating synthetic materials into luxury wear is fully understood; in 2018 designers are consciously employing plastics to contrast more glamorous offerings and contribute a feeling of sportiness.
Get ready for see-through coats and rubbery textures.
Micro-trend: Celebrating the everyday. Totally run-of-the-mill marigold kitchen gloves made a splash at Christopher Kane this season. Balenciaga put purely domestic ‘tablecloth’ patterns on bags. This season designers are appealing to a whimsical, fun feel by injecting a little simplicity into the world of high fashion.