After a few seasons of subtle style shifts and trend tweaks, AW18 was a riot of all things new. Colour palettes popped with neons and paint pot brights, contrasting prints interplayed via artful clashes, silhouettes took a step forward by looking backwards and textures were utilised to full effect to revive fashion classics. Throughout hundreds of shows at New York, London, Milan and Paris, we drank in every look and every style nuance in order to bring you the best of the trends. These are the ones to watch for AW18…
1. Print Perfection
For AW18, fashion is flat out refusing to succumb to winter’s dark mood, and is fighting back with a cacophony of prints. New York led the way with animal prints galore from the likes of Proenza Schouler, Calvin Klein, Victoria Beckham and Michael Kors, before the wild state of mind crossed the Atlantic and continued to dominate at Gareth Pugh.
When animal prints weren’t stealing the show, tartan checks were. Burberry built on last season’s theme, going back to their roots with their iconic house print, Emilia Wickstead doubled up showing both Prince of Wales and tartan, and Versace threw out the rule book, riffing with contrasting proportions, clashing colours and punk undertones.
2. Winter Warmers
Knitwear took a trip down memory lane at the AW18 shows. Gucci and Margaret Howell approached the cardigan revival from opposite sides of the spectrum, with Gucci going for preppy yet oversized and Howell opting for neat and chic. Holly Fulton and Ports 1961 also opted for cardigans, while at Preen, Erdem and Rejina Pyo, granddad knits were the order of the day, from fairisle to cable. How to update the look? Pair your knit with something dressy and rethink eveningwear from a cosier perspective.
3. Trending Textures
Cascading over evening gowns, peeking out from beneath the hems of blazers and dangling from belts, fringing is the texture that’s set to make waves next season. Marni used fringing to step up their accessories; deploying it on their belts and bags, while Richard Malone and Asai applied it to add volume and drama to knits and dresses. Prada and Ports, meanwhile, debuted iridescent fringing that shimmered like jellyfish tendrils.
And from shimmer to sparkle: sequins and diamantes became shorthand for easy glamour as Christopher Kane and Y-Project applied them to elevate everything from ankle boots and pencil skirts to cardigans and chinos. This season’s textures invite casual wear and eveningwear to meet in the middle.
4. Capes and Drapes
Throw on style is the breakout star for AW18. For those who still like a hint of structure, capes are sure to be a staple. From fleece at Christian Dior to jacquard at Erdem and animal prints at Dolce & Gabbana, luxury most definitely has a place within the trend. Prefer a more low key approach? Follow Salvatore Ferragamo’s lead with a dramatic yet muted cape anorak.
Where capes were absent, artfully draped scarves filled the gap. From Roksanda’s picnic-blanket inspired offerings, to graphic typography at Ports 1961 and asymmetric wraps at Delpozo, it’s high fashion meets a low key mood.
5. The Old New: Silhouettes
Fashion’s ability to look backwards in order to move forwards is crystallised in next season’s key silhouettes: cinched waists and broad shoulders. They’re undoubtedly the blueprint for 1980s style but they feel refreshed for 2018. Marc Jacobs stuck most closely to the original era with his boldly exaggerated shoulders and tightly defined waists, and Gareth Pugh also communicated in a similar aesthetic language but made use of avant garde accessories and structured bodices to modernise.
Elsewhere, however, the offerings were much more removed from the decade of excess. Off-White deployed antique-inspired textures reimagined in contemporary silhouettes to balance out their OTT shoulders, Lucio Vanotti injected a sportswear mood and JW Anderson kept his proportions fresh.