They called Rei Kawakubo’s exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of New York “The Art of the In-Between” and that’s exactly where we are in fashion and textiles at the moment. Of course, fashion is always in a state of flux otherwise it wouldn’t be fashion, but the changes we are looking at, now, are far more radical and convulsive than anything seen before.Technical innovation, digitalization, individualisation and democratisation are coming together for the ‘perfect storm’ that will tear down all the existing structures around which we plan, time and create textiles. We are stepping into a new moment of fashion freedom built around the unexpected and accidental.What’s interesting is that it is the haute couture, once the bastion of convention par excellence, that is pointing the way. There, we have already seen a breaking down of barriers, not only in who attends the couture shows but in the way France’s Chambre Syndicale has invited a roster of new names onto the official schedule in a bid to inject a more global viewpoint into the exalted world of haute couture. We also saw a breaking down of barriers in the clothes shown on the runways, with denim and sportswear, even recycled effects, popping up alongside the exquisite handcrafted gowns and luxe furs, which are the hallmark of the traditional couture ateliers.
The doors are truly opening onto a brave new world!
Season in review
Infographics of the development in men’s and women’s retail bestseller S/S 2017 offered very strong, in-store visual statements, but underneath these trend concepts and top line messages, what were the real success stories driving both newness and profitability? And how will these evolve for S/S 2018?
Menswear r-t-w designers
Today, in fashion, to be modern means a multitude of things. It can be to embrace cyberspace; it can be to wear vintage iconic prints and logos; It can be to capitalize on social media, and it can be to embrace unexpected collaborations.
Stories focus on moods that are soft, stable and cocooning or, conversely, are driven by vibrant, energetic and shimmering colourful stimuli.
The new generation of designers is rewriting the rules to tell personal stories and turn the spotlight on the things that matter. Impressive is the depth of their investigations as well as their new malleable thinking and flexible working processes.
Womenswear key looks
Shapes and fashion looks for A/W 18/19 primarily align themselves closely to the properties and behaviour of the chosen cloth.
Of course, there’s black and textures, but what’s so striking about this season is the determination of manufacturers to play with colour, shine, pattern and embellishment. Accidental fashion has taken root.
Womenswear trimmings and accessories
From the playful and virtual world of the future to the treasured masterpieces of the past, that remind us of our origins and heritage, designers want to inspire with stories that project a deeper awareness, personality and emotion.
Casualwear colours and styling
Technology disrupts work and play, becoming a driving force in how we live and how we dress. New advances in fabrics and technology are breaking down the barriers between work and leisure, casual and formal, old and young, art and commerce.
For A/W 18/19, there is a clear dichotomy in terms of fabric design and experimentation, the one playing with a pensive, subtle, invisible cloak of texture and pattern, the other taking a bold and extrovert approach.
Womenswear and menswear fabric and colour forecast (6)
Here, just this once, we will not be talking about fabrics for fashion, but rather fabrics for clothes that don’t dazzle, but actually help us navigate in a world that becomes more unfathomable by the minute.
Print design forecast
The emphasis is on unabashed, powerful pattern embracing sportswear for the street, rebellious and taking no prisoners. Prints are loud and proud on functional fabrics, with a militant message. Broken pattern for a broken society – the proximity to chaos calls for defiant combinations of theme and colour.
This season we prefer to ignore the date, and instead feel for cross seasonality, or a trans-seasonal code that speaks to a multi gender constituency looking not to be boxed into types or fashion ‘looks’.
Future of making
We enter a wonder-world, full of radically new aesthetics and disruptive technologies, where designers are operating at the borders between creative human gesture, machine robotics and computer algorithms to explore material, shape and function.