As we are about to enter 2020, I have been poring over photos and catwalk references from the past decade to see what trends pushed our collective buttons, and what looks like continuing into the future.
There was a lot of movement in fashion, with major and much loved designers leaving their posts (Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton, Christopher Bailey from Burberry, Phoebe Philo from Celine) some startling new arrivals (Alessandro Michele at Gucci, Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga, Pierpaulo Piccioli at Valentino).
Then, the death of one of the all-time greats, Karl Lagerfeld, whose absence has cast a pall over the world of high fashion in terms of heritage and history.
But fashion is based on change, and the new crop of designers sent out collections that, whether most people knew it or not, have shifted the way we dress.
Michele championed the throw-it-all-on, mix-up-the-decades look, a sort of nutty, genderless exercise in free expression, putting the fun back into the sometimes po–faced world of luxury.
Piccioli introduced a serene romanticism at Valentino, showing longer lengths, high necklines and sculpted sleeves, a modest femininity that has permeated fashion right down to the high street and swept a lot of the hyper sexy tat from the early 2000s into oblivion, especially the micro dresses, worn with very high heels look that horrified us (well, me) for seasons.
Normcore was a thing, the idea of basics, and even ugly but comfortable utilitarian items like Crocs being highly fashionable. Brands like Vetements and Balenciaga (both designed by Gvasalia) elevated staples such as trench coats, sweatshirts, and puffer jackets with clever doses of irony.
Vetements’ very expensive yellow DHL Express T-shirt, emblazoned with standard logo of the courier company was a massive hit, even though people couldn’t decide if the US$300 T-shirt was subversive, or a scam.
The same with Kanye’s Yeezy Boost 350 sneakers, which set the trend for humungous trainers, and can, cost anything from between $600 to $7000.
Many of the most covetable items of any one season are baffling. That explains most of the hideous ‘it’ bags of the past 20 years, but it also puts some fun into fashion, if you can afford the joke.
Ultimately, it was the trends that work for us which we welcomed, and continue to embrace. The consumer is most firmly in charge – most of the truly exciting fashion action is happening outside the ready-to-wear shows, not necessarily on the catwalk.
We’ve decided to wear what we please and we are dressing for comfort and practicality as the world around us has begun to look increasingly bleak.
This means athleisure has found a permanent place in our wardrobes; leggings and anoraks and sneakers worn with everything.
And what’s to come? I think we will see more overt political messaging in collections, addressing feminism, inequality, racism and of course, overwhelmingly, the environment.
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Well this is wholesome. And really Australian. I have some serious fomo about not being invited to this DF group hang. I really hope this gets framed and hung cause honestly, I’m like two beats away from hanging in my own hallway. We absolutely adore and implore you for more squad shots. They are our dead set favs! Tag your crew who’d wear DF tees with you! . . . 📸 @gzivec #dangerousfemales
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We will want to know who made our clothes, the conditions they work in, and where the profits are going. Hopefully as consumers we going to buy less, recycle, and make better and more sustainable choices as we head into the next decade.
As much as fashion thrives on change, these trends are here to stay.