“What’s your take on Celine?” This was the conversational juice that fueled the front row in the closing moments of the Spring 2019 collections. Paris Fashion Week hasn’t been this whipped up since the Ritz closed for refurbishment in 2012 – or maybe since Hedi Slimane, author of this fresh controversy, dropped the Yves from Saint Laurent. Hell hath no fury like a woman overlooked – and many took Slimane’s line-up of young, pencil-thin, predominantly white models as a personal burn.
Those women soothed their outrage with some retail therapy. Philophiles descended on the Céline store like a plague of locusts, buying up every last reserve of Phoebe Philo and her team’s final collection (some, allegedly, in pursuit of a Vestiaire Collective windfall). They’d have taken the accent aigu from the sign above the door if they could have, not to mention all that divine marble flooring that will inevitably go when the stores are redesigned.
The show, reviewed for Vogue by Anders Christian Madsen, injected some drama into a month that has largely been devoid of an overarching theme for fashion’s rune readers to analyze. It made show-goers question whether they were irrelevant in the face of advancing millennial and Gen Z shoppers – for this is whom it is supposed Slimane (and numerous other brands who splashed logos all over their wares) is targeting. It put questions of casting centre stage: let’s not forget Milan’s march of the Nineties supers, now in their forties and fifties and looking better than ever; nor the emergence of Adut Akech, the sassy Sudanese-Australian teenager making a bid for single-moniker status. It made us question what an intelligent, 21st century woman searching subtlety might wear in 2019.
In amongst all this soul-searching (Brett Kavanaugh will never know how many furious show reviews he influenced) was a series of stand-out trends. Lightness of touch and neatness of finish prevailed at myriad houses. The takeaways: the Eighties is still going strong; the color of the season is beige; we’re dreaming of California shores; can I really pull off cycling shorts with a blazer? Here’s Vogue’s edit of the biggest Spring 2019 trends.
Christen it with a fancy name – “contemporary oatmeal”, “stony ground” – if you desire, but the catwalks were clear on the color of the season: be more beige. Riccardo Tisci redrew Burberry in 50 shades of classic-trench-coat color, and the neutral snuck into collections as diverse as Max Mara (where it was to be expected) and Balmain (where, perhaps, it was not). Head-to-toe is how the internationally sleek will be wearing it come spring.
California on your mind? Must be all that zesty tie dye and those endless wetsuits that slunk down the SS19 runways. Raf Simons kicked things off with Calvin Klein’s homage to Jaws (“one good bite deserves another”, as the Jaws 2 movie poster dictated), dressing models in fangirl T-shirts with unpeeling wetsuit skirts while Proenza Schouler brought up the rear with some polished takes on tied-and-dyed. The Italians caught shark fever in Milan, with surfing-inspired collections at Etro (two real-life surfer girls even walked the catwalk) and Sportmax. Meanwhile in Paris, Marine Serre worked her usual magic on upcycled neoprene wetsuits and transformed them into statement-making gowns.
A trend that first surfaced in the Cruise collections cemented its status for spring: lace is no longer a lunching lady, and now has “down with the kids” aspirations. Next season’s exemplars at Christopher Kane, Erdem and Victoria Beckham saw lace sliced and diced, and reworked into masculine silhouettes.
There will be no getting away from folk elements next season: from patchworked Seventies-era crochet to fisherman weaves to macramé appliqué, its threads left to fly, a crafty theme swept through the spring collections. There’s nothing homespun about this trend, though: artisanal handiwork has gone high-end.
Next season’s partywear diktat is as frou-frou as they come: just add feathers and fringe. From Givenchy’s rhinestone capes, which boasted a healthy hip-skimming length of crystal fringing, to the explosions of feather trims at Richard Quinn, No.21, MSGM, and Loewe, a fanciful impulse for frisson-pumped clothing is a non-mover.
You’re not fully dressed without a hat – but which will take your fancy? Rodarte’s tulle net explosions and Valentino’s raffia sun hats are so bombastic they require a drop-top; Simone Rocha and Erdem were both feeling a Victorian sense of discretion; and Max Mara has revived the chic scarf.
Fashion’s preoccupation with florals is inexhaustible but for 2019 it’s nearing saturation point: now, prints should be worn all-over, clashed merrily and madly with little concern for what goes with what. Versace and Dolce & Gabbana set the tone in Milan with pieces that mixed the puritanical with the proud, executed in retina-searing hues; Balenciaga picked up the print pointer with a collection that fused the most severe of tailoring silhouettes with shouty print-splattered dresses, a take on the Balenciaga logo for those customers madly buying into branding. Wall flowers need not apply.
The easiest way to energize your wardrobe? Take your tailoring in joyful tutti frutti shades next spring. At the recently revived Escada, suits came in saturated shades of mimosa, while citrus shades proliferated at Balenciaga, Roksanda, Peter Pilotto and Boss. Optic white shoes are the footwear match of choice, and as for underneath? Ideally, nada.
Some people decorate their days with perfume or diamonds. May we suggest a supersized bow – preferably, pinned to your shoulder blades, left to trail majestically in your wake? At Emilia Wickstead, Erdem and Richard Quinn, bows were as bouncy as children’s castles; at Valentino, where they exploded from the bust of taffeta gowns, they announced their wearer with more fanfare than a trumpet.
Chanel first paired slick black cycling shorts with an oversized bouclé jacket and logo chain belt back in 1999, via the lithe form of Linda Evangelista. An almost identical look graced the catwalk for 2019, when Anna Ewers donned a fuchsia jacket, sleeves rolled up, and waltzed across the beach barefoot (if you haven’t seen the Chanel set yet, you’re in for a treat). This means cycling shorts, a slow-burn on the street style front as well as on catwalks last season, are back – and Fendi, Prada, Roberto Cavalli and MSGM all agree. Time to start doing some steps (with or without Jane Fonda’s encouragement).
Like that dinner party bore who believes you’re genuinely interested in the minutiae of his children’s academic records, the Eighties just won’t go away. Party dresses and strong shoulders are still going strong, but it’s the acid wash denim that caught our eye, first at Proenza Schouler in New York, then at Isabel Marant, Off-White, Celine and Balmain, in Paris.
The ‘it’ item of the season? Time to renew your boiler service: an all-in-one suit is now your go-to wardrobe solution. At Hermès they came in pops of color; elsewhere, at Stella McCartney and Giambattista Valli, jumpsuits confirmed the new mood for utility in shades of white and cream.
This article first appeared on Vogue.co.uk