There’s a fairy tale-like aspect to this trend, but more Hans Christian Andersen and Brothers Grimm than Disney. With lush fabrics, lace, and florals blooming on dark colours, the mood was one of intriguing mystery and Gothic romance. Miuccia Prada sent models down the runway looking like alternate versions of Wednesday Addams while Valentino opted for whimsical illustrations on the garments themselves. Marc Jacobs’ versions were big on drama while Dolce&Gabbana utilised heat transfers and raffiawork for their gorgeous floral prints.
Tartan made a huge comeback this season. Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton offered us tailored suiting with an ever-so-subtle nod to grunge; while Gucci’s Alessandro Michele gave the trend a youthful and contemporary update by fashioning it in the brand’s lively colours. And, of course Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci sent models down the runway in tartan—a print synonymous with the British label—emblazoned with the brand’s name in red lettering.
Styling with accessories played a definitive role this season, with designers using belts in all kinds of materials from luxurious leather to chunky chains. Off-White’s Virgil Abloh cinched his fleece coat with a detachable belt; while Lanvin’s Bruno Sialelli showed the trend could be subtle yet still effective with a thin leather belt and Bottega Veneta’s Daniel Lee gave us belts richly embellished with gold metal hardware.
In the decade signalling the fourth wave of feminism, power suiting has become a huge trend, with designers constantly finding new ways to elevate it. Givenchy’s Clare Waight Keller made an impression with strong-shouldered ’40s suits while Max Mara offered an alternative take in the form of a pinstriped skirt suit paired with an oversized blazer.
The biggest runway-to-walkway trend this season was electrifying, seen when Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello sent models in neon down a darkened runway as walking glow sticks. Issey Miyake made a case for the fluorescent trend with puff-sleeved blouses while Philipp Plein gave us a streetwear edge in quilted outerwear and Nina Ricci’s electric blue coat and scarf showed the look could be restrained yet still pack a punch.
Like it or not, Gen Z are the pacesetters of fashion—symbolised by purple taking over from millennial pink on the runways. Designers from Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing to Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo are turning purple, with a good dose of grape to every shade of violet. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele highlighted the hue with a long leopard-accented coat; while Moschino’s Jeremy Scott opted for a sexy asymmetric dress in amethyst and Sally LaPointe went for soft lilac knitwear paired with a tonal snakeskin skirt.
Utilitarianism is back with a haute vengeance in the form of jumpsuits, oversized pockets and an overall outdoorsy aesthetic (think: Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider but via Net-a-Porter). Off-White’s Virgil Abloh sent models down the runway wearing irreverent jumpsuits that only a streetwear label could pull off; while Stella McCartney’s take came in earthy tones with relaxed British tailoring. Salvatore Ferragamo’s Paul Andrew offered up full leather with metal hardware; and Hermès’ Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski’s sublime iteration came in the form of a tan leather-turtleneck sweater combination paired with leather culottes.
This season bore witness to a bourgeois revival with consolidated separates-based dressing, as opposed to single seasonal statement pieces. Chanel sent models down the runway in sophisticated layers infused with the spirit of Parisian irreverence. Tom Ford’s version took the form of slinky silk pants, a blazer, turtleneck and a scarf for good measure; while Proenza Schouler gave us a more tonal approach with a pleated skirt teamed with a generously-sized navy blue blazer atop a pristine white turtleneck sweater.
Fashion reflects the zeitgeist of our time—and this is especially true as the decade draws to a close and we look towards 2020. There was an overarching supersized spirit permeating the collections, from the neon hues by Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent to Miuccia Prada’s haute utilitarianism. Take this as our love letter to all the trends we’ve adored, lost and hope to wear again for the next decade.