Think big—very big. Think pink—hot pink. Stop wearing streetwear. Upgrade your denim. Wear animal prints in the daytime like it’s no big deal.
Those are themes for clothes that will start arriving in stores in about six months—or sooner, at fast-fashion retailers. Designers drove home the message in dozens of shows and presentations during New York Fashion Week, which ended Wednesday. What’s new? Roomy, oversize silhouettes along with a palette of vivid colors and neon. Also, tailored denim dresses and jumpsuits for work and animal prints to flaunt before dark. Finally, the winds of fashion may be shifting from streetwear toward polished but not staid looks.
Some of these fresh-off-the-runway concoctions for Spring 2019 might be spotted on celebrities over the weekend before the Emmy Awards or at the ceremony itself Monday night.
Twice a year, New York Fashion Week kicks off a month of activity that moves on to London, then Milan and finally Paris. London Fashion Week began Sept. 14. Themes that emerge in New York can cross the Atlantic but designers elsewhere also may have more experimental riffs on trends or start completely new ones. Here’s a tipsheet from New York Fashion Week:
Continuing a trend that arose in Fall 2018 collections from labels including Balenciaga, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs, more designers showed roomier or downright oversize silhouettes for spring 2019. They ranged from voluminous prairie dresses and baggy sweaters at Coach to roomy pants and gigantic tote bags at Proenza Schouler. Designers declared an end to the era of body-hugging, va-va-voom styles favored by Kim Kardashian West and others over, at least for now. Marc Jacobs underscored the trend with his show at the close of New York Fashion Week. So, next spring, go big—or go home and change your outfit.
SHINY HAPPY COLORS
While spring collections tend to be vibrant, what’s notable this time is colors that are vivid, bright and, well, ’80s-looking. In addition to neon, shades ranged from pastels to candy hues and saturated tones at labels including Prabal Gurung, Pyer Moss, and Michael Kors. Sies Marjan, a label known for its color sense, even played R.E.M.’s “Shiny Happy People” during its show, where models wore a mix of primary colors alongside earth and jewel tones. Brandon Maxwell, a designer who in the past made mostly black dresses, embraced color at his show with hot pink, neon green, golden yellow and candy red. The colors signaled optimism and defiance amid the city’s overcast skies. They also sounded a promising note about New York Fashion Week itself, which is grappling with questions about its relevance. In challenging times, designers and retailers bank on colors and prints to lift spirits.
With a few exceptions, designers showing in New York resisted pandering to millennials. Instead of slapping logos on clothes and pairing everything with thick-soled sneakers, Gabriela Hearst, Oscar de la Renta and other houses doubled down on grownup-but-not-old styles. Even their casual ensembles tended to look polished. Many designers and retailers in New York have streetwear fatigue and are eager to bid farewell to the trend. Tom Ford said as much in notes for his show: “I feel that fashion has somehow lost its way a bit and it is easy for all of us to be swept up in trends that have lost touch with what women and men want to actually wear. So I did not want to make clothes that were ironic, or clever but simply clothes that were beautiful.” Few designers are an island so Mr. Ford’s peers in London, Milan and Paris may feel the same.
Design houses including Coach, Proenza Schouler and Zero + Maria Cornejo gave denim elegant new couture-level twists, turning the humble fabric into skirts, dresses, jumpsuits, and overcoats. Michael Kors showed a denim jacket with flower-gem buttons. While jeans have been a fixture of the runway, the elevation of denim into more formal looks furthers the blurring between casual and dressy afoot in fashion. That said, check with human resources before wearing these pieces to work: some firms still see denim as a no-no, no matter how “elevated.”
Many designers have pledged to stop using fur but have fallen in love with animal prints. Calvin Klein 205W39NYC, Christian Siriano and Baja East were among labels who sometimes proposed pairing animal prints during the daytime with everything from tank tops to T-shirts and jeans or sneakers. Call it a defanging of what once seemed a daring style choice reserved solely for after dark. Designers on New York Fashion Week’s runways neutered leopard spots and tiger stripes so they became NBD, no big deal.
Write to Ray A. Smith at email@example.com