A common thread ran through the Fall ’15 womenswear collections that came down the catwalks at the recent edition of New York Fashion Week: Anything goes. With looks running the gamut from ’90s grunge and minimalism to ’70s bohemian to Cry-Baby-inspired greaser get-ups, it seems that focusing on any one trend is a thing of the past. And buyers hoping to see some cohesiveness in Spring/Summer 2016 — as opposed to broad categories spanning styles from every decade — will have to content themselves with more of the same. According to trend forecaster Fashion Snoops, designers of all ilks will build their offerings around four main themes: tropical, hippy-chic, athleisure and ’90s clubwear.
Speaking at Magic’s “Global Trend Forecast: Spring/Summer 2016 Fashion and Accessories” seminar on Tuesday, Melissa Moylan, Fashion Snoops’ creative director for womenswear, described the tropical island-inspired trend — dubbed “Alive”— as “falling in love with the world around us” and said it will feature homegrown influences like organic textures and a magnified approach to looking at plant life and cellular structures. “It’s about looking at every day like an experience, living life to the fullest and living it out loud.”
The color palette will focus on saturated greens (think spring green, green grass and soldier blue) as well as sunset gold, chartreuse, red and olive. For women, jacquard, reptile skins, tweed-like textures, chiffon and nature-dyed silk will dominate materials, while palm repeats and Amazonian motifs will be key patterns. Standout silhouettes will include easy camisoles, relaxed, oversized blouses, culottes, palazzo pants and maxi-dresses. Wedge sandals will anchor the look below the hem.
Men’s, meanwhile, will take on a more deconstructed vibe. “It’s a nice exploratory theme,” Moylan noted. Materials will be textural, with netting and loose knits playing a main role, and tattoo-like and photo-real screenprints of dark palm leaves and botany illustrations speaking to the scientific nature of the trend. Moylan points to postcard tanks, field shorts with utility pocket details, sleeveless island shirts, bucket hats, sport slides and perforated hi-tops as important items.
Sticking with the ’60s and ’70s references of recent seasons, Spring ’16 will feature the free-spirited craftsmanship of those eras, Moylan said, calling the trend “Global Commune.” “It’s about hand-me-down traditions, artisan techniques and having a passport that belongs to nowhere and everywhere at the same time,” she said. Women’s collections will take on the spirit of Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell with crochet, tapestry, fringe and patchwork in an array of copper, red, persimmon, dark teal and moonstone blue. “It’s a deeper appreciation of worldly cultures,” Moylan explained, noting that kimono-sleeved jackets, pajama pants, dirndl skirts and boxy tees will portray ease and sensibility, especially when paired with clogs and patchwork ankle boots.
International influence in menswear will hone in on Japan, with indigo-dyed denim and linen, wax surfaces, blanket motifs and suede all making an appearance. “Stitching is key here,” Moylan said, “either contrast stitching, basket-weave techniques or raw weaving.” Significant silhouettes will span handkerchief shirts and rugged ponchos to vagabond suits (read: roomy blazers paired with peg-leg pants), as well as sport sandals and oxfords with cut-out details.
Think the Lululemon-led athleisure phenomenon was a flash in the pan? Think again. Spring ’16 collections are likely to incorporate a plethora of activewear influences, Moylan predicted. “This is really relevant to anyone, regardless of what type of brand or designer you are,” she said, describing “Seamless Innovation” as part of the urban minimalist aesthetic, a technical balance of utilitarian softness.
Orange, sea glass, custard, hazy taupe, dove gray, navy and olive will take over color palettes. Women’s collections will focus on such utilitarian materials as cotton twill, gabardine and army surplus materials combined with activewear-inspired mesh, nylon and silk jersey, while men’s offerings will speak more to the technical side of the trend — reflective nylon, mesh-jersey blends and rubberized materials. Jumpsuits, sleeveless trench coats, wide-leg pants and parkas will be key for women, whereas menswear is more sports-inclined with short-sleeve sweatshirts, shirts with detachable hoods that can double as outerwear and blazers with technical lining. Teva sandals and straightforward tennis shoes retain their hold on both men’s and women’s footwear selections.
The junior and contemporary markets are set to focus on fun for Spring ’16. “Gen-U,” as Fashion Snoops has christened the trend, embodies a bold, intense, creative urban spirit. “It’s this whole idea of creating your own destiny,” Moylan explained. “It’s about an expression of color as well as the digital undercurrent that’s influencing customers.”
Womenswear will feature an explosion of color, with a lively palette of limoncello yellow, deep magenta, candy apple red, orchid purple and periwinkle calling to mind an EDM-inspired look that Moylan called “candy raver.” Crop tops, mini wrap skirts, baggy joggers, bomber jackets and elongated T-shirts hark back to ’90s rave culture but are updated with holographic or iridescent surfaces, PVC, distressed jersey, bonded fleece and technical mesh. “It’s almost like you’re in a club when you’re looking at this clothing,” Moylan added.
Men’s clothing, on the other hand, is a little more futuristic, with flat depth surfaces, exterior fleece burnouts, sprayed-on color, metallic denim and light-activated fibers. Sporty polos and tanks and three-quarter-length painter bottoms will play a starring role here. “This guy is a product of his environment,” Moylan said, “He’s getting out into the world, exploring and generating new ideas out of really remote, obscure aspects.”