The spring 2014 shows are over and next season’s trends have been set. There’s the good, the not so good, and the “hmm, I’ve seen that before”. Whilst the fashion won’t be in store until early next year, we are fortunate that as Australians, we can reference the new looks now, just as we head into our hottest months. The key themes here are important, but have also been chosen for other more practical, and yes, okay, sensible reasons. They’ll make every woman, at any age, look like a million dollars.
1) Longer lengths
There was a definite absence of the tiny dress on the runways, as longer lengths made it into almost every show. The other positive news was that the silhouette varied from narrow and straight like a Hitchcock heroine (at Burberry) to Grace Kelly full and mid calf (Rochas), ballerina length (at Dries Van Noten) to longer, boxy and fluid (at Marni). We’ve seen so many band-aid dresses over the past few years that knee length seems to be the most lovely breath of fresh air, gorgeous at Michael Kors seen as a split, flowing skirt, or lovely crepe de chine dresses, or elegant and strapless at Christian Dior.
2) Lace and lacy effects
An ongoing classic that looks fresh every time it makes a reappearance, lace was a standout in pretty gelato colours (Burberry) or in perfect, seductive black or white (Dolce and Gabbana, Oscar de La Renta, Valentino and Stella McCartney). While a skintight version with visible undies may not be every woman’s choice, there are other beautiful ways to wear lace, such the pure simplicity of Dior’s perfect musk pink lacy t-shirt worn with a chic black skirt, or Valentino’s magnificent white embroidered evening dress.
This is normally the part where the reader rolls her eyes and moves to the financial pages, but bear with me. Sheer is a trend, but can be beautifully adapted into a wardrobe, provide the whole outfit is not transparent. It’s about a hint of skin, the shadow of legs. Michael Kors showed it beautifully with his tailored jackets worn with filmy long line pleat skirts, Fendi used it in fluttering layers of transparency that cleverly overlapped or in panels to reveal flesh discreetly. I’m not going to report that crop tops are in.
4) The perfect ladylike dress
There is no better solution than a gorgeous dress that conceals more than it reveals but sadly, this option cannot always be found when we are panic shopping for a new outfit. Hallelujah for this spring’s 2014 examples – the ’70s chic options at Michael Kors, the ’60s cocktail shapes at Dolce & Gabbana, the linear dresses at Marni, the upmarket bohemian versions at Dries Van Noten. Easily four of my favourite shows, these designers can be always be relied upon to deliver beautiful, wearable (and forgiving) collections.
Another trend that can traditionally send one running for the hills (a pleated skirt on a waistband is not something many of us desire, especially after lunch), but this time it’s different. Designers are using pleating as an alluring effect in an underskirt (Dries Van Noten) or draped, or hanging off at the hip to achieve flattering, liquid lines. The most beautiful examples were at Dior, Chloe, Celine and Salvatore Ferragamo.
6) A touch of sport
On the assumption that you have a pair of Michelle Obama toned arms and are keen to embrace a slightly more sportif trend, then it exists. The influence of the racer back shape so enthusiastically embraced by the Abbot daughters showed up confidently at Gucci, Victoria Beckham and Tommy Hilfiger.
7) Flat sandals
It may be that designers actually managed to design the maximum height that could be walked in for show shoes, because heels have certainly come down. There were still towering stilettos, but more exciting were lace up loafers, kitten heels and – joy oh joy – flat sandals. The new sandal is halfway between a health sandal but embellished like an evening shoe, something I feel calls for a global celebration, where we invite podiatrists. Run (because you will be able to) to Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Valentino, Prada, Rochas and Alberta Ferretti.
8) The one shot perfect coat
Coats were plentiful at the spring shows, but the most beautiful for our weather were lightweight, clean-cut and in one divine colour. The minimal shapes at Burberry, Max Mara and Jil Sander were an exercise in perfection. The pretty fondant shades make them perfect for work and evening- consider these (and a good dry cleaner) wardrobe staples.