Early Trend Messages from Spring/Summer 2019 Runways in New York, London, Milan and Paris

Spring runway month has barely finished, but we have already pinpointed plenty of new directions for the upcoming season—from sturdy workwear to flouncy dresses, from tie-dye to daytime glimmer.

Here are some of the early signs of Spring.

Workers Unite

Workwear is a direction we’ve been watching for some time. The influence evolves for Spring/Summer ’19 with softer colors and lighter-weight fabrics. Materials include denims, sturdy canvases and poplins, but there are also laundered satins and organzas, bringing an unexpected femininity to these utilitarian silhouettes. Adding more freshness are interesting cuts such as one-shoulder styles. Flap pockets, industrial zips, twill-tape trims and boxy cuts underline the high-function inspiration.

Dye Job

Tie-dye is looking super fresh, especially when executed in the new acid, nearly-neon brights illuminating the runways. The hippie-dippy motif is used for everything from satin mini-dresses and sheer tees to fully fashioned sweaters and marabou trims. It also works particularly well in shades of indigo as an update for bleached denim. The pattern can be achieved with real tie-dye techniques as well as with digitally printed facsimiles. For a more subtle approach, there are dip-dyed ombré effects that feature gentle gradations in pastel shades. Giant crystals laid out in tie-dye-like starbursts are the perfect embellishment.

The Glimmering World

There is something about the new glimmering surfaces that is different from old-fashioned bling. Rather than a show-offy, ostentatious vibe, these new treatments seem to reference otherworldly auras, conjuring a more spiritual state of mind. There are tees covered in clear or iridescent sequins and lustrous organzas cut into wearable shapes such as cargo pants or slipdresses. Sometimes the effect is contained in one place on a garment, such as a paillette-encrusted patch pocket or sprinkling of sparkle on sleeves. For the ultimate in everyday opulence, there are giant gems set into straps or linking a plunging V neckline.

Imprint This Moment

It seems we are entering the golden age of prints. Not only are runways awash in spectacular prints and patterns, but designers are also loading them on, one atop another. There are wonderful painterly brushstrokes, scarf prints, checkerboards, Warhol-meets-Rauschenberg layered silkscreens and knitted intarsias that mimic hand-painted daubs. Giant blossoms share space with jumbo arabesques. Stripes and plaids are part of the mix too. The large-scale motifs work well for all the ankle-skimming silhouettes and boxy tee shapes that define the season; collages of smaller designs are used for more body-con-draped styles. Mismatched earrings, patterned bralettes and printed bags add to the free-form feel.

The New Modest

The Batsheva show, held in a downtown diner, was the talk of the town during New York Fashion Week. Designer Batsheva Hay’s fascination with the Laura Ashley–meets–Courtney Love punk-pretty look was echoed on many runways this season. The style has been percolating for a while. Ruffled prairie dresses started appearing in forward-thinking collections from Demna Gvsalia and Miu Miu the last two seasons and were featured in every glossy magazine as well as spotted on street-style stars. For next Spring, the covered-up frocks get updated in metallic florals, batiks and plenty of smock details. The prim aesthetic works for tops as well.

String Theory

Crochet, which started edging its way into current fashion a season or two ago, is in full expression on SS’19 runways. Crochet, pointelle and other open-work stitcheries are used for midi dresses, pencil skirts, pullovers and bodysuits, bringing texture and interest to basic silhouettes as well as experimental shapes. Some designers showed crochet pieces as an underpinning for flouncy frocks or layered them under macramé cage dresses for even more-crafty dimensions. Deep ruffles, scallop edges, fringes and little beads add more post-hippie chic to this time-honored technique.

Out From Under

If modest is the new sexy, then full-coverage bras and briefs are its handmaidens. Runways abound with vintage-y foundation garments that seem borrowed from granny’s lingerie drawer. While these demure undies will certainly influence true intimate apparel, most shown on the runways are meant to be seen under the season’s sheers and meshes or peeking out from an unbuttoned shirt. Strategic seam lines on bra cups are outlined in contrast stitching for emphasis, even when the extra-supportive aspect is more fashion than function. Many briefs feature boyish touches like fly fronts and band legs, adding a bit more subversion to the equation.

Bow Peep

The bow is a key signifier this season, holding all the ambivalence of the moment—sweet/not sweet, prim/provocative, innocent/sophisticated. The bows on runways are made from self-fabric or from contrasting materials and can work as functional drawstrings and as closures instead of buttons, creating an adjustable fit. Designers used bows for purely decorative purposes too—the looped ties appear at necklines, sleeves and hems or accent a shoe, handbag or headband. And while there are string bows and wide versions, slim flat tapes look newest.

Soft Headed

The most wearable hats for contemporary life are those that can be squashed into a bag and not lose their shape. Soft buckets and easy turbans fit the bill, and there are many on the runways that inspire. The casual bucket shape evolves with a variety of brim widths, from narrow bands to eye-covering styles that are deeper at the back for full sun-protection. Materials include sturdy twills in solids or prints, lizard effects and lustrous jacquards. Trapunto stitches or contrast facing for brims provide a bit more structure. The turbans can be interpreted as wide headbands for even more wearability.

Spring Color

Color evolves with greens taking on an aqua cast. Pinks go either toward orange or morph into lilacs. True blues uptrend, even for denim. Teal emerges as a new dark neutral, and yellow shifts from its egg-yolk color toward a greener, nearly neon cast. Here, left to right are Archroma 323-270 / Archroma 108-320 / Archroma 435-280 / Archroma 431-480 / Archroma 326-820 / Archroma 220-460 / Archroma 217-380. All from

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