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F/W 19-20 Color and Leather Trends Embrace Contradictory Ideas

From news and digital reality, to the lives we choose to depict on social media, the points of distinction between real and fake are becoming few and far between. And that distortion and manipulation of real life is leading to material and color trends that keep consumers guessing.

Trend forecaster Chiara Fantig outlined color, trims and leather trends for Fall/Winter 19-20 at Lineapelle in New York Wednesday.

The key to understanding the season, she explained, is to find creative ideas between real and fake. Artistic color combinations break from traditional autumnal constraints; light and darkness coexist; ornamentation feels archival yet futuristic and surfaces are both opaque and reflective.

“Anything is possible in between,” Fantig said. “You can cross over. Anything works.”


Color serves as the foundation for this chaotic theme. Rich shades of red, orange and yellow bring a warm and protective feeling that’s in direct opposition to cooler luminescent shades of aquatic blue, oxidized green and purple, Fantig said.

Transeasonal colors like chalky pink and light yellow add youthfulness, while a family of grays, dark browns and blacks serve as “indispensable” basics.

colorful leather

In fact, basic dark colors take on a new life when juxtaposed with liquid-like surfaces and vivid pops of pink, purple and red. Fantig said there’s an interest in hidden treasures and the deep sea that’s inspiring a luminous trend story for F/W 19-20 full of polished mirror finishes, iridescence, soft shapes and crackling.

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Prints and embroidery

Screens got our eyes acclimated to images, Fantig said, and now we seek out images as they are one of the few things that actually hold our attention.

Fantig urged designers to take full advantage of new printing capabilities and “print on everything” from the tiniest button to embossed leather. “We can cover any surface nowadays. Use it to make something interesting,” she said.

Embroidery is bound to be a useful technique to create hyper-tactile and visual fabrics. “Embroidery helps us to link stories in textiles—it’s a connecting thread that adds something special to small parts or entire materials,” Fantig said.

For F/W 19-20, embroidery replaces brocades and damask—or is placed over the fabrics. Embroidery will appear on fur and leather, come layered over prints and it will decorate logos, too. Fantig said she expects to see more logos with a handmade look and feel.


Sport continues to influence designs, but Fantig pointed out that the F/W 19-20 iteration brings with it a casual sense of luxury. Think logos cut from fur. It’s a little retro without being 100 percent reflective of one specific decade or geography, she explained.

Geometric sporty prints, fine chevrons and diagonal stripes are mixed with soft touch materials. Long hair suede, sheepskin with glossy coatings, fur bonded with sheepskin and glossy gold leather with grain that can be seen but not felt are part of the story. Elasticized fabrics like clean nylons are a must, too. All materials are exploring stretch, Fantig noted, which is allowing designers to execute designs in new and surprising ways.

Oversized zippers, which Fantig described as thick and full of character, live here. Heat sealed seams, reflective tape, fluorescent trims, technical cords and hardware that mimics climbers’ carabiners reinforce the theme’s sport roots. Fantig said the goal should be to keep the small parts animated.

And surprises

While the season’s trends may be culled from various and often dueling sources, that lively sense of fun, movement and discovery abounds. And playing with prints, colors and finishes will keep consumers surprised—a quality that works to brands’ and retailers’ advantage.

Sensory overload comes in the form of hairy insets on belt buckles, patchwork, pleats that play with hidden color, modern quilting and twisted fabrics. Rubberized metallic ornamentation, camouflage in new colors and crackled surfaces with a precious, jewelry-inspired look deliver new ideas.

Metallic lining, hologram effects and laminates play with light. And the appeal of glitter and sparkle isn’t waning anytime soon. Fantig said to expect more glitter in traditional metals and youthful pops of color.

Gen Z’s influence on incoming trends is something Fantig calls “youthquake.”

“Young people have a big influence,” she said. “They’re good at mixing colors and materials in a pop way.”