The new decade brings a slew of fresh ideas, with some designers reimagining concepts from the past—be it three decades or three centuries ago. Lightness pervaded the spring/summer 2020 collections, resulting in new hero pieces and modern style solutions. Colours were pared back, allowing for craft to shine, while silhouettes went graphic and clean with a ’90s bent, placing the spotlight firmly on the woman.
With political tensions running high the world over, many designers had escapism on their minds. This season, many turned the clock back a few centuries, serving up Victorian drama and Marie Antoinette-worthy extravagance based on a wasp-waisted, pannier-skirted silhouette. At Balenciaga, jaws dropped at the sight of Demna Gvasalia’s gargantuan crinolined gowns. Thom Browne transformed his signature suiting with hoop skirts and veils while Rei Kawakubo sent out similar silhouettes at Comme des Garçons in lush brocades and damasks. Over at Loewe, Jonathan Anderson knocked out the stuffiness from panniers with sheer layers to make them instantly wearable.
"DRIES VANNOTEN. RICHARD QUINN. THOM BROWNE. NOIR KEI NINOMIYA. BALENCIAGA. NINA RICCI. LOEWE. COMME DESGARÇONS. MARC JACOBS"
IN THE TRENCHES
This season, designers zeroed in on the trench coat, reinventing the wardrobe classic in many fabulous ways. The most ingenious and compelling propositions came from Junya Watanabe and John Galliano at Maison Margiela, who chopped up and deconstructed the trench to form entirely different garments. At Balenciaga and Michael Kors Collection, shoulders were the focal point, blown up huge at the former and romantically ruffled at the latter. At Hermès, leather harness details harked back to the House’s equestrian DNA while Burberry went soft with trimmings in crystal and eyelets—ensuring that trench codes will never be the same again.
"BURBERRY. OSC AR DE LARENTA. DOLCE&GABBANA. SACAI. COACH. JW ANDERSON. MICHAEL KORS COLLECTION. JUNYA WATANABE. HERMÈS"
Tailoring mounted a full-forced comeback last year, but for spring/summer 2020, designers put a new spin on power dressing that will prove popular and practical for summer months and warmer climes. The season’s most alluring suits were worn with shorts; specifically, the longer, roomier bermuda variety. Colours ranged from monotones to cool greys and violets. At Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello updated the House’s iconic Le Smoking with plenty of leg on show. Ian Griffiths of Max Mara sent out an army of Bond girls and boss women in cropped, monochromatic suiting while Virginie Viard fashioned shorts suits out of tweed for a more youthful take on Chanel’s new brand of French chic. The long and short of it: It’s the season to be making strides in reworked workwear.
"CELINE BY HEDISLIMANE. SPORTMAX. MAX MARA. CHANEL. NO 21. SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO. GIVENCHY. CHLOÉ. TOD’S"
Like a metaphor for the start of a new decade, white emerged as the go-to colour for many designers this season. In their hands, it was a blank canvas on which craft and construction were pushed to the highest levels. Far from the austerity and minimalism usually associated with the hue, this season’s snowy creations approached the heights of haute couture—laden with incredible sculptural and textural details. At Valentino, Pierpaolo Piccioli conjured couture magic using humble cottons and poplins while over at Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton repurposed old fabrics and employed ancient techniques to paint an exquisite picture of modern beauty.
"LOUIS VUITTON. MARINE SERRE. DIOR. SIMONE ROCHA. JIL SANDER. LOEWE. DRIES VANNOTEN. ALEXANDER MCQUEEN. BURBERRY."
Move over, power shoulders and supersized sleeves. The body zone du jour for spring/summer 2020 is the bust, which designers highlighted in the most inventive of ways. Cleverest of all were the bejewelled bras at JW Anderson, which Jonathan Anderson layered over everything, from draped jersey tunics to floral dresses and shimmering metallic gowns. At Versace and Saint Laurent, Donatella Versace and Anthony Vaccarello constructed novel necklines that drew the eye to the bosom while Tom Ford sculpted bust-shaped body plates that were lacquered glossy as a Jeff Koons sculpture. But for the ultimate in camp, nothing beats the sequinned pineapples at Dolce&Gabbana.
"BALMAIN. BURBERRY. TOM FORD. DOLCE&GABBANA. GIVENCHY. JW WANDERSON. SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO. Y/PROJECT. VERSACE"
DRESSED TO THE ’90S
...or perhaps, “undressed” would be more apt. The biggest trend of the season served as a palate cleanser after years of ’70s sepia-tinged nostalgia, exuberant ’80s maximalism and the increasingly homogenous streetwear today. The revival of the ’90s took its cues from the bare-skinned, slip-dress sensuality of Calvin Klein and the anti-fashion fashion of Helmut Lang. Daniel Lee led the charge with his ongoing refresh of Bottega Veneta, while at Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller revisited her Klein years and the New York of her youth. Even Alessandro Michele, ever the maximalist, felt the change in the air and presented a more stripped-back vision at Gucci that nodded back to its Tom Ford years, marking time to rewind and hit refresh.
"TOD’S. HERMÈS. BOTTEGA VENETA. COACH. GIVENCHY. BALENCIA GA. THEYSKENS. ECKHAUS LATTA. CHANEL "