Anyone who attended the recent Global Citizens Festival in New York City would be forgiven for thinking a large portion of the young women present had simply forgotten to finish dressing. From sports bras worn as crop tops to bodysuits paired with jean shorts to kimono jackets atop leggings, it was plain to see that millennials wear what they want, when they want, and not necessarily in the way brands would expect them to.
Looking ahead to Summer 2018, that mix-and-match approach to dressing will make for a more interesting retail environment, as long as brands realize that the current declassification of product is sticking around.
“I call the modern lady a ‘cheerful eclectic’ because it’s always a lot of energy and a lot of fun and what you see this woman wearing is a crazy mix of ideas,” said trend forecaster and founder of Concept Paris, Jos Berry, speaking recently at Interfilière New York. “She’s wearing pajama pants with a little guipure lace top which costs a fortune and then on top of that she is mixing something which is perhaps from her grandmother or which she bought secondhand very cheap. This idea of individualism in the modern wardrobe shocks people.”
And while it’s become difficult for brands and buyers alike to pinpoint what will attract her attention, she must be taken seriously.
“This is a woman who is traveling a lot, who is very interested in the urban environment, who mixes all the ideas she finds everywhere together, who is not afraid to show off her emotions, and the way everybody is seeing her wearing lingerie is quite different than we have seen before,” Berry said. “She is especially in the market for sporty things and for casual things but she is putting them together in a very, very new way.”
Some might say there’s no such thing as trends anymore, but that in itself is a trend. And in the world of lingerie and intimate apparel, color has become a big one.
As Berry explained, “That little piece of lace is now also worn to be seen or that pajama suit is suddenly part of your everyday wardrobe and you [the brands] have to deal with different colors, not the typical lingerie colors anymore.”
Pastels: yellow provides a pop to palettes, but as an accent rather than worn top to toe
Blues: ranging all the way from blueish greens to oceanic colors
Minerals: soft grays and grayed out colors, not just in solids but also camouflage patterns, making it suitable for beachwear as well as intimates
Porcelain: another muted palette of grayed out shades, with light mauve showing particular promise when paired with slightly darker accents
Charming: textured whites and off-whites, especially in loungewear pieces
Liquors: deep, jewel-like tones of purple, blue and pinkish purple that look luxurious when accented with gold brocade or jacquard
Despite technology’s increasingly tight hold on society, designers are becoming more and more influenced by nature, with eight of the 10 manufacturers Berry spoke to before Interfilière New York referencing different types of gardens as their main source of inspiration.
When it comes to florals, the challenge, always, is making them look new. Berry advised brands take a leaf out of Gucci designer Alessandro Michele’s book in Summer 2018 and embrace kitsch patterns and clashing colors.
“The idea of using very dark colors in a summer season. These are especially driven by the blue and the purple families. You also see this very important message as well for embroideries and you even see it in laces,” Berry said. “Updating something in an easy, romantic, classic pattern becomes new when you start to mix techniques, like flocking, embroidery and lace, all designed with the same idea in mind. That idea of storytelling, even in materials, something you see in a shop and you keep in your hand.”
Here, Berry advised designers to look to gardens in China and Japan for ideas, to decorate the body with lace and jacquard featuring orchids, cherry blossoms and chrysanthemums.
“We call it blooming erotica. That’s where we see almost-classic colors become totally new,” she said. “Guipure placements play the role again of visual detail, and placements not only in the way of looking at small details, it could even be something quite 3-D and quite fantastic.”
Silk and satin kimonos and pajama sets present the perfect canvas for embroidered blossoms and snakes, while Berry predicts high-impact lace or white embroidery on skin-toned mesh will appear in almost all collections.
The garden of the mind
“It’s actually in the simplest part of our wardrobes where we would like things to last. We don’t want to constantly be forced to buy new things,” Berry said, pointing to mindfulness in design and using knit technology to create beautiful things. “The idea of simplicity with a point of difference, that is what we see people would like to invest in. Comfort plus femininity so even when your garments are considered everyday basics, the idea of giving them that little bit extra.”
That means including something special, like a touch of lace, in even the most basic cotton panties, or using cut-and-sew techniques to create a bra that’s based on the architecture of the body.
“Organic textures are important here, too,” Berry said, citing pottery, ceramics and marble as points of reference. “Certainly both in knitwear and in lace design, all kinds of novelty, organic patterns and very lightweight. Even when the inspiration is coming from natural resources, lightweight is what we’re talking about.”
This is where athleisure comes into play. Specifically, the influence of sporty garments on intimates, whether that’s a sports bra or an everyday style featuring an elastic banded bottom.
“We also talk more and more about glitter and metallic effects, very luxurious ideas in jacquard, in lamé, foil printing,” Berry said. “We see the combination of creativity and technology going forward in a big, big way. Everything that’s laser-cut, that’s laminated, that has glued edges.”