Top Denim Messages from CR20 Collections With an Eye Toward CR21
Cruise collections offer plenty of denim ideas, from updates on silhouettes to subtle details and evolved washes. Wide barrel legs confirm the movement away from the skinny jean, while clean, unblemished surfaces signal a downtrending of extreme distressed looks. The ’70s era is a key driver—inspiring flares, midi-lengths and culottes. Even though many of the new looks are polished, there is no shortage of textures and artisanal techniques, including colorful tie-dyes, high-contrast bleach effects and new prints. Pure whites and delicate pale washes keep denim ready for sunny Resort dressing.
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The Barrel-Leg Jean
One of the new silhouettes emerging for Cruise/Resort is the barrel-leg jean. These jeans fall straight from hip to ankle in a clean, cylindrical shape. These can be fairly wide legged for a more advanced customer, but there are also somewhat slimmer versions that offer a more classic look. Deep cuffs at the ankle underline the stovepipe effect. As with most jeans this season, the waist sits at the natural waistline or slightly below—no hip-huggers here. This item works in any finish, but true indigo denims work well with this timeless style.
The Sleek Flare
Flare legs have been out there for a while but really seem to be catching on for Cruise/Resort ’20. This shape is part of fashion’s seasons-long love affair with all things 1970s. High waists, self-belts and patch pockets bring even more of a ’70s feel. This shape works well in medium-blue denims, either slightly distressed or clean finished, whether unpressed or with a sharp center crease. In keeping with the decade’s inspiration, these flares are worn belted and are often topped off with a shrunken blazer, a snug knit or a silky blouse.
The Polished Set
There is a new interest in work-appropriate dressing. A denim-matched set can hit the mark between the stodgy dress-for-success career wear of yesteryear and the hyper-casual ripped jeans and tees that seem a bit out of place, even in a shared co-working space. The new sets are generally cut from dark, premium or lightweight denims, popped with bright, white stitching. Tops range from neat trucker jackets to crisply tailored denim shirts. Bottoms include straight-leg jeans, culotte crops or denim midi skirts, whether A-line or pleated.
The Denim Midi Dress
Another wear-it-to-work item is the denim midi dress. Look for denim that is refined and lightweight enough to be cut into billowy shapes. Volume is achieved with paneled constructions, smocking or gore insets. Styles range from sleeveless fit-and-flare and soft peasant dresses to more tailored shirt or coat styles. Contrast top-stitching or white piping add more interest, as do soft ruffles or a mix of dark and light blues in alternating panels. Roomy on-seam pockets bring more swagger and practicality to these everyday frocks.
The Culotte Crop
Another ’70s-derived silhouette, culotte shapes have been gaining momentum for several seasons but really took hold for Fall/Winter ’19 with the divided skirts shown at Hedi Slimane’s influential Bourgeois collection at Celine. For Cruise/Resort ’20, designers showed cropped A-line denim pieces that hit at mid- or low-calf lengths. Many of these items are not quite so voluminous, blurring the line between cropped jean and culotte. Details include front-center seams and placed whiskers or fading. A high waist with a button-up yoke fly completes the retro feel.
The Vivid Tie-Dyes
Tie-dye evolves each season, moving beyond its crafty-hippie reputation and becoming a cherished part of the artisanal movement that continues to have an impact on fashion. For Cruise/Resort ’20, the technique is used with brighter colors, such as mottled yellows, vivid aquas, and intense mixes of pink, purple and orange. The effects can be mottled, splotchy or dip dyed. While white denim is an obvious choice for the ground, many of the new tie-dyes are on bleached or acid-washed blue jeans, letting bits of indigo show through all the color.
The Palest Blues
Warm weather always brings out the lighter denim colors. This time around, the washes get pale and delicate, resulting in pure baby blue or shades that suggest a cloudless sky. Finishes include allover bleaches, even-toned acid washes or pale yarn-dyed denims. Any silhouette works in these gentle tints, but classic straight legs, A-line flares or slim skirts look particularly fresh. Raw edges underline the softened mood. These are styled with basic black or light neutrals. A pale-blue silk blouse gives the look an almost denim-on-denim effect.
The Splotchy Bleachers
Another technique that has evolved from its down-and-dirty roots is the splotchy “bleacher” effect. Designers use the mottled effect for any denim look, including head-to-toe ensembles, trucker jackets, workwear coveralls, tailored shirts and five-pocket jeans. The bleachy blotches can be all over or placed, as in a pair of short shorts with a bleached effect at the hem.
White denim is on the uptrend for any season—even winter—but looks particularly right for Cruise/Resort. Any denim silhouette works in white, from easy duster coats to straight jeans or polished bootcuts. Subtle details include brown or colored topstitching, raw hems or cream-colored fabric piecing at the hip. Pure white flares are shown with a pressed center seam, elevating simple jeans into a refined foil for a perfect white shirt and a camel coat.
Printed denim is a way to bring novelty to classic denim silhouettes. Tone-on-tone printing gives the illusion of a dye technique, but closer inspection will reveal a subtle floral or paisley. Other prints are more obvious, like a pink floral on an indigo ground or silk-screened, photo-printed motifs on white denim. There are also subtle logo prints, geometrics, and prints that imitate distressing or creasing for a trompe l’oeil effect. When a print is used in matched sets, there is newness in material mixing, as in a printed-denim trucker jacket worn with a chiffon skirt in an identical print.
MintModa is an online trend-forecasting service and consultancy, led by noted forecaster Sharon Graubard. All photos: Courtesy MintModa