Who What Wear… SS20 Trends

By Rebecca McNelly-Tilford

We are at a time when fashion may be asking itself why? Even what? I.e. what is the purpose of fashion, and the reasoning behind twice-yearly shows and presentations?

There may have been a reason to see less-sure collections, but the Spring Summer 2020 season was filled with bold silhouettes, masses of texture and colours all combined in unique ways. No sign of anyone really questioning the purpose, it was all shows as usual. This was clear at the shows at the big four fashion weeks, Milan, London, Paris and New York.

So what are the key trends captured on the international catwalks?

Sheer, one of the most wearable trends. From an almost all-over sheer collection from the likes of Supriya Lele and Mugler, all the way to subtle details from sleeves as seen on the catwalk of Off-White, and via fullness from Molly Goddard. Layered sheer textiles over block fabric was also seen from Erdem, tops and skirts layered on the MM6 Maison Margiela catwalk. Dresses in classic tight 50s silhouettes, ruffles and delicate prints were the heart of the Huishan Zhang, Dior and Alice Archer’s collections. The 70s trend mixes with the sheer trend on the Prada catwalk, injecting everyday cuts to this bold, yet subtle trend. But of course, you can always go for full statement jackets, in bold colours as seen by Underage.

Sheer did not stop at womenswear; it also made an appearance in menswear SS20 shows.  Qasimi translated the sheer trend into a streetwear tracksuit, in what seems to be, waterproof textiles. The SS20 collection was the last for designer Khalid Al Qasimi who unexpectedly passed away in July 2019.

Designers like John Lawrence Sullivan injected the trend via undershirts, with jackets layered over the top. With D&G doing the opposite, layering sheer shirts over vest tops while Dior created sheer boiler suits, with only the Dior monogram to create a pattern. Using a pattern is something that Giorgio Armani also did successfully for the SS20 season. Using sheer materials and heavy prints, making the sheer element look like a trick of the eye.

Traditionally seen on the Autumn-Winter catwalk, sparkle and shimmer garments transitioned into the Spring-Summer season, this trend will feature everyone beaming under the summer sun. Ashish is the king of glitter, and sequins and is an eternal gatekeeper of this trend, this season he took a more cultural approach in style and silhouette. Another two champions of glam are Julien MacDonald and David Koma who take ordinary garments to the shimmer extreme. Poster Girl took glitter body shimmer and metallic fabric to a new level, which could also be seen at Celine and Paco Rabanne shows. While J.W Anderson took a more subtle approach by layering diamond accessories over garments, Roland Mouret and Saint Laurent took the trend from head to toe. Creating dresses and suits in muted colour palettes, really letting the fabric shine.

Dresses themselves are the oldest garment for females, and over years has seen many reinventions but on the SS20 catwalk, gowns took centre stage above all other silhouettes. Molly Goddard is a genius when it comes to using texture to create unique gowns in a wide variety of bold colours. Floral patterns swarmed garments from Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Dries Van Noten, while Roksanda and Richard Malone used streamline cuts and fabrics to create structured yet soft gowns. Ruffles and delicate details made gowns from Simone Rocha breathtakingly beautiful, and colour was the statement for Edeline Lee’s SS20 collection. All the designers used intricate details to inject their own style to this timeless trend, on the other hand, Richard Quinn, Mary Katrantzou and Balenciaga took gowns to the full, oversized and over the top look that truly is a dictionary definition for ‘gown’.

The catwalks of Spring Summer 2020 saw the reinvention of the timeless trend of suits with the 1970’s flare and 80’s power shoulders. Balenciaga went over the top with silhouettes from both suits, to oversized coats and of course power shoulders, while Alexander McQueen’s power shoulders take a more modern feminine approach. Versace showcasing feminine dress suit, an 80’s nod to power dressing. While the Celine and Coach 1941 bold 70’s influence was heavy, from the coats, aviator glasses, and knee-high boots. Gucci featuring suits and flares. Prada showcases long-sleeve button-up shirt and knee-length skirts, while Rixo took it to the next level, the entire collection was filled with Woodstock vibe and flower power. Stella McCartney used a soft 70’s colour palette, but the Tory Burch approach was a floral wallpaper/carpet vibe.

Pinstripes is another detailed design that came back in a big way for the Spring Summer 2020 season. Balmain took the trend very literal, and in a bold way. Featuring black and white bold stripes as well as pinstripes. For the SS20 collection, Balmain layered a pinstripe suit, over a pinstripe shirt to really make a statement. Saint Laurent also took to the classic suit to translate this trend but paired it with clashing colours and patterns of floral print. In keeping with Celine’s 70’s influence, which can be seen in both the men’s and women’s collections. Taking a classic pinstripe blazer and layering it over a double denim look. While Chalayan took a monochromatic miss-mash approach pairing loosely tailored black trousers with oversized white shirts, the pieces almost create a reflective illusion. Paul Smith took the idea of a pinstripe suit and refreshed it adding a sport-luxe vibe while the colour palette detaches itself from the tradition of pinstripe in black or navy which was similar to the checkered print from Dior’s short suit.

As well as suits, statement shirts took over the catwalks. Hawaiian and bowling shirts are no longer just for the father figures in your life. Marni took to layering patterns over patterns over colour and masses of detail to the SS20 collection. While Valentino and Dsquared2 were not shy of pattern and colour. Edward Crutchley took a more feminine soft approach, creating soft floral prints, in a colour palette of pink hues. Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY’s collection featured layers, colours and textures created an overwhelmingly yet classic take on shirts.

The menswear trends look at more than just a singular garment, it’s all in the details. This season pockets weren’t just hidden in trousers or inside jackets, but as a design focus feature. Prada took a utilitarian approach, using four pockets to actually create a pattern on jackets. Fendi and Stella McCartney‘s pocket details are similar to that of Prada, but take a more natural and nature-based approach in both silhouettes and fabric. Tiger of Sweden took a delicate design approach, keeping pockets simple but highlighting them with contrasting stitching resulting in a subtle yet modern approach. While Tods took the trend to accessories with bags, turning backpacks and briefcases into modern-day styles with masses of pocket design.

Colour palettes as a trend are the heart of keeping a collection cohesive, colours of neutral and neon however tobacco was heavily featured across the SS20 catwalks, from Burberry and Bottega Venetta using almost all neutral colours across the entire collection. While Max Mara introduced head to toe natural looks into a mixture of other monochromatic looks. Margaret Howell, featured statement pieces like coats, Chloe creating power suits and accessories. Charlotte Knowles used colour to break up her intricate designs. Toga, Matty Bovan and Dolce & Gabbana injected the neutral colours into a bold colourful collection to add a more classic fresh approach to, sometimes an overwhelming colour palette. Colour is the feature as seen on the Ferragamo catwalk injecting it in subtle key ways.

While neutral and tobacco colours made subtle and bold statement, another colour featured in the SS20 catwalks was black. Another departure from the Autumn Winter collections, black is a timeless statement and after a period when it was defiantly part of fashion, many in the industry are truly thankful to see its return.

Fyodor Golan and Christopher Kane featured leather-looking fabrics in shades of black to contract again soft fabrics of silk and floral patterns. While Phoebe English used more everyday fabrics injected one all-black look into an overall blue collection. Marine Serre and Rick Owens used black as the base colour palette. Dilara Findikoglu collection overall had a dark approach and not in only the colour palette but overall Salem vibe. While Osman used black as a base for garments with volume and feminine designs, Versace used black to celebrate classic Versace designs, making the colours within the collection really pop. Chanel and Saint Laurent take black back to a more modern, classic injection of using colour to break apart and simplify collections.

Design is all about the details, but pattern, print, silhouette and colour are just as important. Keeping colour at the heart and this season it went from the sublime to the ridiculous of neutral to pastel via uber colour and black. Louis Vuitton took the pastel colour palette and reflected it into every individual piece in the collection, making it the main focus and statement of the collection. Lanvin used this style heavily at the start of the collection, also featuring head to toe pastel looks. Givenchy used a duo-chrome pastel shift to create statement pieces. Hermes and E.Tautz injected pastel hues to a primary colour-based collection to add a softer edge.

Another bold trend was animal print, this was seen in on the catwalk of Autumn Winter 2019 for women’s wear, but it’s time for the men, those not shy of print. Celine infused the 70’s inspired collection with statement leopard print jackets, showcasing a more wearable approach to this trend. Using the same print but in an ombre colour infusion that created an almost bleached effect. Sacai opted for a zebra approach, from classic black and white print, to mimic colour to create statement pieces. Zebra print was also featured in accessories on the Dries Van Noten catwalk, amongst many other bold and intricate prints. Philipp Plein took zebra print into a metallic modern neon infusion. While Dolce and Gabbana took the print from subtle to the main focus, using the print in almost every piece of the collection, including this bold print alongside other rich glamorous textures and prints of silk, satin and roses.

Trends for the SS20 also came in small detailed ways, via handbags, shoes, beauty and overall atmosphere.

J.W Anderson created the cap bag, first seen on the catwalk for the AW19 show. The bag comes in a variety of colours and finishes, the cap bag seemed to be the first of many unusually shaped bags. Louis Vuitton created a bag in the shape of a cassette tape. Roksanda transported fashion week to the Serpentine Gallery and sent models down a yellow catwalk, this collection featured small structured box and rectangle bags. The Chanel SS20 rooftop set-design hosted traditional Chanel shaped bags, as well as new modern introductions. Bags where held vertically with more spherical silhouettes.

This concept of creating classic and new bag styles also was seen in The Hermes SS20 catwalk, with the traditional Birkin clashing hugely with unstructured oversized tote bags. Hermes features two trends in the SS20 collection, covering shoes and bags. The SS20 take on the trend for Alexander McQueen was not the shape, but more the textiles used to create these crochet-inspired bags.

Shoes and bags help complete the vision and overall creative outcome of a collection. Two main trends for shoes took over the catwalks of the SS20 season: Long/knee-high boots and strap detail/wrap shoe. Celine took a 70’s approach using boots to fill the gap with knee-high dresses, generally in a scrunched style, which can also be seen on the Miu Miu SS20 catwalk.

Dries Van Noten SS20 boots where true showstoppers, oversized in shape and bold in colour and print which came in floral of tapestry textile. Longchamp and Isabel Marant SS20 collections saw a feature of both shoe trends, creating not just knee-high boots, but also trainers. As well as showcasing a more feminine wrap ribbon gladiator sandal. Whilst Louis Vuitton did send models down the catwalk in knee-high shoes, they also created an illusion of knee-high with socks and tights details. Miu Miu and Stella McCartney are other designers whose collections for the Spring Summer 2020 season feature more than one detailed trend, Stella takes over the catwalks with strappy heels and soft nature-inspired elements, like leaf skeleton earrings. While Off-White and Valentino confirm chunky strapped or wrapped sandals will be a hit for SS20.

As previously mentioned as a feature on the Stella McCartney SS20 show. Nature was another trend for this season. Making featured in both accessories and beauty. Prada infused natural elements via woven baskets and snakeskin. And Miu Miu via floral prints, Simone Rocha injected soft floral and pearl details with silver spikes and straw headbands. While Marine Serre, Jason Wu and Dior created a whole forest for the Set design of the SS20 show. Designers like Marni, Missoni, Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu and Giambattista Valli used make-up and hair to translate this trend. Marni featured hair slicked back with clay and real flowers, berries and leaves as hairstyles/headpieces. Flowers in hair was also a feature for Missoni SS20, also placing a bouquet of flowers inside handbags. Marc Jacobs used butterfly inspiration and block colour eyeshadow in his collection as well as Jason Wu. Who seemingly used the colours of his floral set design to inspire the eyeshadow colour. Giamattista Valli used bunches of flowers to create a crown to complete the cohesive feature for the SS20 collection.

The last trend looks at the finer details, more about attitude and atmosphere. Many designers for the Spring Summer 2020 season made a soft punk approach. For example, Fyodor Golan mixed leather and lace in a dark colour palette, contrasting with silks in pastel tones. Helmet Lang and Proenza Schouler also mixed dark black leathers, white stark white floating later and Vera Wang also featured leather and lace. Tom Ford took to punk-inspired hair and make-up and meshed it was soft satin suits and pinstripe tights.

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