I’ve worked through the Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear collections and pinned many directional looks along the way. It wasn’t easy making sense of what I saw, because looks were all over the place, with models wearing everything plus the kitchen sink. There’s usually a cohesive theme that brings a collection together, but this season that was seldom the case. Chaotic, complex, uncertain, dramatic, directionless, quirky and varied are words that come to mind. There was also little regard for creating traditionally flattering proportions.
Then it dawned on me that this was the new direction of fashion. The complexity of the collections and the enormous variety of designs coming down the runway support what I call the Individualism and Maximalism trends that started last year. This year they are stronger than ever.
Athleisure and simple outfits were all but absent from the runways. Skinnies took a backseat in lieu of wider silhouettes (although retail continues to flood the market with body-con skinnies and Athleisure no matter what). Asymmetry wasn’t as popular as it was in seasons past. The shows were rife with garments and outfits that had playful and whimsical undertones. Irregular outfit juxtaposition continues to be a styling tool in modern fashion.
My favourite shows were: Gucci, Akris, Alice & Olivia, Bally, Lela Rose, Michael Kors and Prada.
On to the trends.
There is no one way to be stylish, and fashion has become a melting pot of sartorial choices. Increasing diversity in fashion with each passing year means that there is something for everyone. Trends are no longer seasonal and fads no longer exist. Take the PERSONAL in personal style to heart, because you have the power to pick and choose from the trend buffet, and sport it your way.
Maximalism means wearing it all together to create a harmonized whole. Think of wearing complex silhouettes, combining them in one outfit, layering all sorts of pieces to create interesting proportions, accessorizing to your limit, pattern mixing, texture mixing, patchwork, embellishment, remixing high-contrast colours and clashing colours, wearing statement make-up, and adding nail polish and rainbow hair. Think drama, not subtlety.
Remember that Maximalism runs on a continuum, and you’re free to interpret it as fully as you see it on the catwalks, or tone things down considerably to create a minimally maximal look. Either way, I’m inviting you to find your maximal outfit limit this season. Have fun exploring new possibilities and by all means “wear the kitchen sink” if that makes you happy. The only limit to the Maximalism trend is your own tolerance for it.
3. HIGH-CONTRAST BROAD STRIPES
Most of the shows showcased one or several high-contrast, broad-striped outfits in a dramatic dress, suit, trouser, top or skirt look. Blue and white, and black and white stripes were common. They’re hard to wear, very bold, sporty, and widening in horizontal form. But they can be super cute when you love stripes and are up for the challenge of making them look just flattering enough.
4. MODERN RETRO
Modern Retro means that you’re incorporating a style, trend or design from a bygone era AND adding a good dose of modern to the look. Retro items are new pieces, not vintage items that actually come from those eras. Silhouettes from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s continue to hugely influence today’s fashion. Less so the ’90s, which were a lot more minimal. Ruffles, flounces, bell sleeves, pleating, fringe, flares, tie-dye, suede, cold shoulders, sharp shoulders, pleated trousers, one-shoulder dressing, boho, disco, dandy, New Romantic, bows, wrap tops, graphic statements, embroideries, embellishment, punk, neon and goth.
Matchy-matchy outfits are retro, and a fun way to wear the trend as long as you create a little tension or irregular outfit juxtaposition in the outfit.
5. STRUCTURED WAIST DEFINITION
There was an incredible amount of waist definition coming down the runway. AGAIN. This was created by garment tailoring, fit-and-flare frocks, peplums, belts, garments with attached belts, and tucking tops into high-rise bottoms. Oversized slouch has reached its peak as silhouettes begin to once again narrow at the torso. Showcasing the waistline is trendy. If that’s not your thing, allow garments to hint at a waistline for a bit of structure. I really hope that retail takes this trend to heart because there is only so much slouch that we can take.
6. HIGH RISES
Most trouser and jeans rises were high or very high, which goes hand in hand with the structured waist definition trend. It’s also a strong ‘70s and ‘80s flashback. The fashionable point is to showcase the high rise, and not cover it up with a top. This is a hard trend to wear if you’re short-waisted and apple-shaped, so grab those mid and low-rise jeans and trousers while they’re available.
7. CROPPED PANTS
Jeans and trousers in ANY silhouette, fabric, colour and pattern are trendy — as long as they are cropped two to four inches above the ankle and worn with complementary footwear.
8. ROOMY SILHOUETTES
Oversized and fluid fits are still there, but they are no longer the most trendy fit. Tailoring is definitely gaining momentum, and I couldn’t be happier about that.
9. GARDEN FLORALS
Giant florals that make you think of warm weather vacations were THE pattern at the shows. Some were tonal, some high-contrast, and all wardrobe items were represented in the pattern.
10. FLAT FOOTWEAR
Designers made a statement with dressy and casual flat footwear (in which I include heels up to the height of an inch.) Pointy, square, round, and round square toe boxes were popular. Backless and slip-on footwear is all the rage. Peep-toe booties are still going strong, as are all sorts of styles with ankle treatment like straps and ties. Sneaker and sneaker hybrids are still going strong. Dainty and refined footwear is as trendy as chunky silhouettes.
11. PLATFORMS & BLOCK HEELS
Flatforms and wedged platforms in sandal, mule, bootie or oxford footwear silhouettes are very fashionable. Block heels are the trendy option, but stiletto heels continue to come through too.
As far a colours go, I saw it all. Colours seemed to be making a stronger statement than neutrals. From the happiest brights, merriest mid-tones and softest pastels, through to earth tones like mustard, jewel tones like emerald, and greyish mid-tones like mauve, sage green, and air-force blue. They’re remixed in all sorts of combinations, so having a high affinity to colour mixing is in your favour.
I’m extremely pleased to see the Maximalism trend continue with gusto because I’m enjoying the break from Minimal outfits. I’m still all over trends like Modern Retro and Cropped Pants, and love the idea of Garden Florals, Waist Definition and Colour. As someone who enjoys wearing footwear with a one inch heel, I say bring on the dressy flats.
Filter through the trends. Keep the ones that tickle your fancy on your radar and leave the rest. Don’t stop rocking your signature looks, but do try something new. The “personal” in personal style means styling the trends your way, which is the best part in all of this. Feel refreshed and empowered as the new season unfolds.