It can be argued that few things change from each spring/summer fashion season. Color is lively. Feminine silhouettes take precedence. Bohemian flourishes are a requisite. And florals for spring? Groundbreaking. But when trends shift, they move in dramatic and bold directions as seen on the Spring/Summer 2020 runways.
Melissa Moylan, Fashion Snoops vice president, creative director women’s wear, outlined the key takeaways from Spring/Summer 2020 fashion week in New York, London, Milan and Paris, in a webinar Friday, describing a mix of minimal and ethereal women’s wear trends to watch.
In a snapshot, Moylan said New York exuded a sense of joy with immersive experiences by Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford. The mood in London was fantastical with oversized silhouettes and over-the-top romance. Milan bowed down to Jennifer Lopez who walked the Versace catwalk in a familiar frock, and Paris made sense of it all with a balance of commercial and couture-like looks. “Paris always puts everything in context,” she added.
The French capital was also a stage for luxury fashion houses to show off their latest efforts in sustainability. With the likes of Givenchy, which grounded its ode to ’90s minimalism with upcycled denim pieces, and sustainability leader Stella McCartney presenting her greenest collection to date, Moylan said luxury houses are beginning to take note of the various ways sustainable manufacturing can help differentiate their brands.
Here’s a closer look at the decades, themes, colors and details on Fashion Snoops’ radar for Spring/Summer 2020.
Nostalgic fashion stories emerged, Moylan said, stretching across three decades of influential fashion.
A warm mid-tone color palette swept over Milan, Moylan said, where the ’70s took shape in two different ways: retro sportswear or hippie-inspired statement pieces. Tailoring and knitwear brought a sophisticated look to the trend, while Fendi added a sense of playfulness with “groovy floral prints.”
Suede patchwork was present in both apparel and accessories. Other key accoutrements included printed block heel sandals and cross-body satchels.
When it comes to fashion inspiration, the ’80s is the decade that keeps on giving. The ’80s powers on, Moylan said, with an emphasis on shape. Expect to see puff sleeves, strong tailored shoulders (on jackets and dresses), bright colors, polka dots, ruffles and bubble hems infiltrate various categories in women’s fashion. In accessories, the look is bold with doorknocker earrings and matching necklaces, evening bags with statement handles and neon-hued kitten heels.
Nineties and Nice
The ’90s lived on in Paris, where Moylan said luxury brands like Givenchy and Balmain pulled influences from the minimalist decade. More tailored blazers, slinky slip dresses and leather separates dominated the theme, which was punctuated with “great plays on black and white,” she added. Simple accessories like slim chain chokers, square toe heels and pouch bags with polished chain handles bring the look home.
The utility trend that has percolated for several seasons is back with a chic and minimal makeover. Cargo pockets take on an elevated look, Moylan said, as details on classic shapes that incorporate tailoring. Jumpsuits, blazers and cargo pants are among the key items.
Meanwhile, a fresh color palette that spans sorbets to vivid neutrals also breathes new life into the utility trend. Expect to see the theme carried into accessories as structured satchels, slide sandals with a smooth upper and active sole and leather bandannas—which Moylan said are an example of how something “super casual” can be upgraded with sleek materials.
Taking style cues from the intimate apparel category, Moylan described how designers are incorporating sensuous silks and satin materials to add a luxury feeling to relaxed silhouettes. Bra tops and layering are key elements to the trend, especially long layers over pants and nude draping.
Whimsical and fun women’s fashion personify spring. Spring/Summer 2020 brings in a rush of maxi dresses, knitwear, eyelet, florals and head-to-toe white, Moylan said. For accessories, look for top handle handbags with fringe or floral appliques, novelty eyewear shapes with yellow tinted lenses and sling-back flats with crochet uppers.
Bohemian fashion is a seasonal must-have, but Moylan said the theme takes a turn toward exotic prints and luxury details like macramé and fringe for 2020. Though prints drive home the message, voluminous silhouettes still play a big role.
An earthy neutral color palette is just one element to this new wave of natural fashion. The trend, Moylan said, is defined by the use of raw materials like linen, knitwear dressing and organic printing motifs. The organic story is carried into accessories with raffia hats, oversized leather hobo bags and lace-up sandals with a low heel.
Spring/Summer 2020 is a season full of optimistic color, Moylan said, with bold primary hues like green, sunny yellow, carrot orange and scarlet red gaining traction. Various shades of green, from jade to grass, serve as the accent color of the season, while orange—from deep carrot to bright cantaloupe—steps out as an important fashion color.
Fluorescents continue to illuminate collections, especially hot pink, electric green and highlighter yellow. However, the twist, Moylan said, is that the colors are being splashed on couture-like dresses instead of streetwear.
“Denim was a key part of Paris Fashion Week,” Moylan said, adding that denim was often the casual and commercial counterpart to the “high level” designs in collections.
All-over dye effects on denim were among the boldest looks. Isabel Marant, Dior, and Alberta Ferretti, which Moylan said has a burgeoning denim business, tapped into the trend.
Trucker jackets were also a core item in collections. The staple piece was refreshed with strong ’80s-inspired shoulders by Versace, deconstructed by Off-White and artistically dyed by Koche.
The season also introduced a new silhouette: the cropped slouchy jean. Moylan said designers like Chanel embraced the low-rise, tapered or cropped bottom. Pleats and darts play up the style’s roomy fit.
While one part of Spring/Summer 2020 fashion favors fuss-free minimalism, another side is lively with feminine details. Polka dots, ruffles, tropical floral prints and silken structures are among the sartorial elements adding a joyous feeling to fashion, Moylan said.
Oversized proportions like puffed sleeves, “big sweeping” maxi dresses and exaggerated ruffles bring a fantastical look and feel to fashion. While it may be challenging for some brands to find a commercial interpretation of these couture-like motifs, Moylan urged designers to approach these elements as details to otherwise wearable garments.