Keep it casual if you want to tap into modern fashion’s dominant mood, that’s the message from influencer designers as the Resort 2017 collections come thick and fast.
A few years ago we were all talking about sports luxe as the next big thing. Well it happened and as each season went by it kept on happening. We tried to come up with new names (sports deluxe, luxury sports and more variations on the same theme) but essentially we were rebadging exactly the same thing.
But just what was it we were rebadging? It wasn’t just a sports trend. It was a massive shift in the way people think about clothes and the acceptability of informality.
You only have to look at movies and TV shows from as recently as the 1980s and 90s to see just how formally people used to dress. Today in most (if not yet all) situations, we embrace a level of informality that would have been frowned upon just a decade ago.
Athleisure is, of course, part of that trend and those inspirational designers that rule the runway are making sure they’re part of it too. Their customers probably have more opportunities to attend formal occasions than the rest of us do, but while they give them plenty of choice for dressing up, they also know that informality is where it’s at today.
Casual is cool
Which brings me to the point of this piece. The Resort 2017 collections. Casual was the name of the game for many labels and even the more formally-focused included a nod to comfort dressing for day and – crucially – for evening too.
For occasion dressing the trend is being interpreted via luxe materials that are cut into relaxed and sporty shapes. Think sequin vests, lace blouses and lace or brocade skinny pants, tunic and pant combos, or the popular sidestripe track pant-style trousers teamed with a more formal blazer as a new take on careerwear.
For day dressing, direct sports influences also stay strong with those track pants dominating the look. Athleisure-influenced leggings also continue their comeback and while they’re frequently statement standalone pieces, we’re also starting to see dresses/skirts-over-leggings creeping back as a styling choice.
This pre-season the top half is going ultra-sporty too with scuba-influenced tops and dresses making a major impact. And the footwear of choice for most of these looks remains the skate shoe or trainer, with a chunky sports-inspired sandal or slide also popular.
For less sporty casualwear, we’re also seeing strong choice that continues the move of day dressing into more casual directions. Denim is a big part of this with its current love of acid washing and tonal effects that The Industry has already analysed. But other materials are also stepping up to take their place in the casual spotlight.
Neoprene, cotton twills, marl jerseys and cotton poplin are popular, as are humble T-shirt jerseys with an extra layer of embellishment to give them more of a fashion edge. Logo tees and sweats, as well as print and colour tweaks also offer plenty of opportunity to update volume basics.
The Prada factor
But while most designers this pre-season have nodded towards casual to a greater or lesser degree, influencer label Prada has gone head over heels for the look. Showing its women’s pre-season alongside its men’s SS17 collection (and, interestingly, labelling them both as SS17), Prada went full-on for outdoors looks and extreme casualwear.
The signature embellishment that had still been present in its Normcore-influenced collection of a few pre-seasons ago was gone and its quirky evening looks were nowhere to be seen. Instead it was an offer that reminded me a little of a late 90s Miu Miu collection and also of Prada itself in the early days the Prada Sport line. Think drawstrings, water-repellent fabrics, webbing belts, even a print that looked lies a giant satellite weather map.
It was a clear statement that Prada believes in the new casual, sporty fashion world we’re all living in. More evidence of that came through in the shoes and accessories. Even when Prada styles its RTW ultra-casual, those other high-margin key items usually feel more formal. But while there was a level of formality in some of the bags (and the high heels that were carried rather than worn), the decoration gave them a more relaxed edge.
Meanwhile other shoes and bags took sporty and outdoorsy to extremes and made a virtue of those features. Velcro-fastened straps, floral uppers that extended into floral sports soles, and brightly printed and quilted backpacks set the seal on the importance of the ultra-casual to modern fashion.
Main image: L to R Alexis Mabille, Gaimba, No 21, DKNY, Tomas Maier, House of Holland, MSGM, Raoul, Gucci
Evening and formal looks: L to R, Giamba, Aquilan Rimondi, Giambattista Valli, Bally, Raoul
Sports influence for day looks: Louis Vuitton, No 21, Fendi, M Missoni, No 21, Emilio Pucci, Louis Vuitton, Cinq à Sept, Versace
Prada images: Resort 17 collection
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