After the last designers presented their creations at Paris Fashion Week at the beginning of October, Fashion Month in the four major fashion capitals is now already over. This year's programme was peppered with much-discussed debuts and farewells, but what ultimately remains are some decisive inspirations for spring/summer 2024. It was a season marked by journeys through the fashion worlds of the past that paved the way for the trends of tomorrow. FashionUnited has summarised the most important trends for you.
90s minimalism and Y2K denim
New York Fashion Week not only kicked off the fashion weeks of the four major fashion cities, but also set the tone for one of the first trends of the season with Peter Do's debut at 90s cult label Helmut Lang. Do was not the only one who was in the mood for the minimalism of times gone by; other designers in Milan, Paris and London were also reminiscing about simplicity.
The simple silhouettes of the 90s were revisited in combinations of tank tops and long skirts or slim, black suit trousers by designers such as Acne Studios' Jonny Johansson or Svitlana Bevza of the eponymous label Bevza. The latter chose a sheer mesh fabric to add depth to her all-black look, while 90s prodigy Helmut Lang opted for a black jersey dress with thin straps and knee-high boots that evoked the spirit of icons of the decade like Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy.
However, 90s nostalgia is not enough to knock the Y2K trend, which has been omnipresent for several seasons, off its throne. This season, fashion designers devoted themselves to denim fabric in particular and revived it in the look of the 2000s. In concrete terms, this means wide trouser legs and low-slung jeans, where the hemline is allowed to touch the floor a little.
The low-slung jeans are paired with crop tops or bra tops, ideally also worn on denim, to give the ‘Canadian tuxedo’, i.e. the combination of two pieces of denim, a sexy update, as demonstrated by Dion Lee and Di Petra. For a slightly more everyday version, the trousers are worn with a short baby T-shirt with logo print and an open bomber jacket, as in Didu's case.
Practicality is not necessarily the first word typically associated with the collections of designers in the fashion capitals of the world, but for SS24 some of them are in the mood for functional details and practical cuts. The resulting 'utility trend' gives a fashion update to workwear and pieces often borrowed from the military, turning functionality into a fashion statement.
However, a touch of Y2K is not far away in the 'Utility Trend' either, as the cargo trousers with their large patch pockets, currently popular with designers, already had their moment in the limelight in the early 2000s. Now not only this model, but also so-called boiler suits or overalls, are back on the catwalks of brands like The Attico, JW Anderson and Saint Laurent, with designer Anthony Vaccarello proving with the latter how elegant functionality can be.
80s power suits
The fashion retrospective doesn't stop at Y2K or the 90s, because when it came to suits, many fashion designers seemed to look to the 80s, or rather the shoulder parts of the 80s, for SS24. Oversized tailoring has of course been a trend for several seasons now, but next spring it's the shoulders in particular that are coming in XXL format. This stylish exaggeration of the shoulder area already gave outfits a self-confident, powerful aesthetic a good 40 years ago and was worn by many women as an expression of emancipation and professional self-confidence, qualities that are still very important today.
Female designers in particular went for the trend that inspires self-confidence. For her first collection at Carven, Louise Trotter showed a structured grey jacket in an XXL version and pronounced shoulders with a top of the same colour paired with a slightly transparent skirt, while Stella McCartney turned her attention to the trouser suit, also focusing on the wearer's shoulders. But it was not only female designers who emphasised this trend, but also their male colleagues. Another jacket-skirt combination with accentuated shoulders was featured in Matthew Williams' collection for Givenchy, among others.
Focusing on a specific part of the body is also the aim of the micro shorts for SS24, where everything on the catwalks revolves around the wearer's (often endlessly long) legs. While the shorts, which were almost considered underwear in previous seasons, could still be seen here and there this year, variants for SS24 are still micro, but somewhat more suitable for everyday wear than their extreme predecessor styles.
The newcomer at Gucci's creative helm, Sabato De Sarno, is especially keen on shorts for SS24, whether in combination with blouses, bra tops or in burgundy leather with a casual logo print hoodie. A more elegant version was seen at Gabriela Hearst's last show for Chloé, where the designer paired ultra-short black shorts with a leather-look bomber jacket, while Tom Ford debutant Peter Hawkings went for sex appeal and chose cream shorts with an open leather jacket in the same colour and lots of accessories.
The next trend for SS24 is also of the revealing kind. This season, belly buttons have always provided unexpected accents, but not in the 'traditional way' á la Y2K, thanks to crop tops or low-slung jeans, but thanks to sophisticated cut-outs, which were the order of the day for many designers.
Designer Christopher Esber, who travelled to Paris from Australia, is known for cut-outs and draping in his designs, and for SS24 he sent a white bustier dress down the runway with a diamond-shaped cut-out at the centre of the body. Alberta Ferretti, on the other hand, opted for a flowing red evening dress with a comparably small cut-out that just barely hints at the wearer's navel, while a white, long-sleeved bodysuit at Courreges was adorned with a long, oval cut-out below the bust down to the navel.
A more covered up trend but still revealing is the trend of see-through skirts, which were seen in droves on the catwalks of a wide variety of designers. Depending on the degree of transparency, the generally seductive item is not only suitable for everyday wear but can almost be worn to the office, as the combination of a slightly transparent skirt with a high-neck cashmere jumper by Coperni proved.
Of course, these pieces can be party-ready too, as demonstrated by semi-transparent, sequined versions at N 21 and Proenza Schouler.
Feathers and fringe splendour
Not every trend is expressed in a specific garment or explicit vibe, sometimes it's the recurring elements that leave a lasting impression at the end of a season and give a groundbreaking taste of next season's trends.
As for SS24, there seems to be no escaping fringes and feather looks. In each of the four fashion capitals, there were different performances and variations of these elements, optionally adorning both evening and everyday wear. While you have to look twice to spot the feathers on a cream-coloured, partly tattered dress at Loewe, they can be admired in all their paradisiacal glory on a floor-length dress at Bottega Veneta. Calcaterra went for a similar look to that of Bottega Veneta, but shortened the version and presented a cream-coloured bandeau top made of feathers with sorbet-coloured wide trousers.
Anyone who thought feathers and fringes were more or less the same thing will be proved wrong in the spring/summer 2024 season. Both elements are definitely visually related, but achieve different impressions depending on their use. How versatile and adaptable fringes can be became clear at the catwalk presentations of brands like Akris and Burberry. Both used a variety of thin fringes for dresses, but while the Swiss label's dress was elegant, Burberry's shorter version stood out for its casualness. Prada, on the other hand, coloured the fringes silver and made the tinsel-like elements the focal point of the spring collection.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.DE. Translation and edit from German into English: Veerle Versteeg.