Paris: fait accompli. It’s been a nine-day sprint (marathon?) to fashion month’s finish line. And one with no shortage of eye-widening, jaw-slackening moments. Models strapped to models in a show of female strength/crotch at Rick Owens. Disintegrating garments in a shower scene at Chalayan. Color reinvented at Dries Van Noten. And, of course, theatrics at Chanel, this time set at an airport; très littérale. All of which were incredibly artful and made for fantastic observer sport. But what stories will go beyond the runway? Here as the voice of retail reason, we’ve honed in on Paris’s most commercially viable trends for Spring 2016.
The Major Trends
Think of these as the headline-grabbers. The four trends from Paris which function as full themes, equipping retailers with myriad ideas for a fully merchandised offering. For trend-led retailers these will set the scene for entire ranges, fill out marketing and take over entire floor spaces come spring.
Paris joined its three predecessors in embracing the trend which is shaping up to be Spring 2016’s biggest. Slip or camisole dresses are the biggest takeaway here. You will need them in your Spring ’16 range. Then layer in frills, ruffles and flounces. Let them slide across dresses, fling them over shoulders and work them down sleeves. Lace, acres of it, can be used liberally – sheer slips and blousons are frivolous although lace trims to more opaque items will have broader appeal. Brassiere shapes were worked into dresses and trapeze tops at Balenciaga.These could quite easily inform direction for actual underwear too, or even nightwear. Think flirty, feminine and free, then render it in a light palette of ivory, powdered blue and pink blossom.
2. Military Functionality
In stark contrast to all that lingerie was militarization. This is great news for retailers that can invest in both trends and cater to a wider audience. There’s an emphasis here on outerwear, meaning this will be good in the early season. This story takes the successful sleeveless blazers of Spring ’15 and conscripts them into the military. Think epaulettes, utility pockets, embroidery and frogging. Transitional parkas were also seen in droves – festival-ready at Paco Rabbane, Akris, Saint Laurent and Céline. It’s the trend which gives the bomber jacket new life too, good news as 25% of Fall’s bombers have already sold out. Beyond the outerwear, there are overalls, crossover skirts, shirting and the simple tee. A focused palette of navy, red, burgundy, khaki and grey sees this story offering some work-appropriate options.
Designers got intergalactic in Paris, at times through a 60s-lens (hints of Swing at Courréges and Maison Martin Margiela) and others a thoroughly contemporary take (Estebar Cortazan). Silver pants were a statement piece, seen at Courréges, Loewe and Isabel Marant. These will pair well with the lightweight summer knits around. Metallic hints were carried through to other garments – seen in the kick of a skirt, the lapels of outerwear and even on footwear. Simple shapes carried the theme best – shifts, oversized t-shirt shapes, high-neck cuts. The brave can venture towards boilersuits like those seen at Alexis Mabille and Hermès.
4. Recent History
Many of us will remember the 80s and 90s with too much fond regret to dare go near this trend. Thankfully, there’s a swathe of Gen Y shoppers who do not: this one’s for the younger customers at Forever 21, H&M, New Look and Urban Outfitters. It’s normcore with soul – an appreciation for sportswear but no shyness towards color or print here. Halter necks, vest tops, net fabrics and blue denim all get a look-in. Sleeves take on the rounded shapes of the 80s – Saint Laurent’s leather jacket sums it up well – and pants get slung low on the hips. There’s not much embellishment here – instead there’s a carefree, sporty ease. Which is probably easier to pull off when you don’t remember the actual 90s.
The Minor Trends
Macro themes aren’t for everyone. They’re less suited to brands with a strong look or a loyal customer set. For those guys, we present our minor trends. They’re subtler references to the new season, which will add needed newness, without alienating shoppers.
It looks modish, fresh and sporty – piping can be used to update core pieces for the new season. Running down the side leg of pants, pointing out the complex pattern cutting of outerwear or delineating the many tiers of a skirt, the detail contributes just a flash of color.
2. The White Shirt
In shirt dress form, with the new season’s oversized and detailed sleeves or with asymmetric hems and knotted to hint at the figure beneath, the white shirt will be a winner for Spring ’16. It’ll put focus on statement pants (wider fit) or drive home hints at utility dressing. It’s also getting a lot of airtime in street style. This is a piece which will appeal to the chic dresser at any age.
If you’ve paid attention to New York, London or Milan, you’ll already know shoulders are out for Spring ’16. Paris agreed and revealed them in tops, knits and dresses. It doesn’t matter if it’s done in a romantic just-fallen way, or if it’s a cleaner-cut modernist reveal: just do it.
There are few garments more summery than a plissé skirt, so inject exactly that for wedding and high season. Stella McCartney took pleats into languid layers, through skirts and into camisoles and dresses. At Vionnet they provided and sculptural look, while Hermès worked knife pleats in a mixed-fabric suede dress.
5. Summer Knits
In modern offices across the world, the main summer complaint is not of heat but of aircon chill. That’s where summer knitwear steps in – the heavenly polo shirts and skirts at Stella McCartney, or the slinky, body-skimming dresses at Céline. Knit travels well and has trans-seasonal appeal which will justify the price point. A smart choice.