Given the fact that people need a reason to smile now more than ever, it was a delight to see some truly dreamy dresses grace the runway for FW20. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which is why the season’s showstoppers ranged from architectural pieces from the likes of Givenchy and Valentino – which felt both timely and timeless – to unabashedly feminine gowns by cult labels including Khaite, Molly Goddard and Brandon Maxwell, all of whom deftly combined eye-popping color, diaphanous fabrics and sumptuous details to sublime effect. Granted, you might not find an excuse to slip on these standout gowns every day, but they’re investment pieces of the highest order and, given the proper care, you’re sure to wear and cherish them for years to come.
LEATHER, LEATHER EVERYWHERE
Leather was hands down the biggest trend of last season, and it’s clear to see from FW20’s collections that it’s not going anywhere. Championed by everyone from fashion heavyweights Versace, Fendi and Salvatore Ferragamo to emerging labels such as Petar Petrov, the message from the runway was clear: more really is more. Admittedly, leather might sound like an evergreen trend but, this season, it’s gone far beyond the usual pair of pants or perfect jacket, with butter-soft pieces running the gamut from black to brown and burgundy being worn from head to toe. Thanks to the array of covetable leather pieces already on offer, getting a jumpstart on the trend couldn’t be easier. Our top tip? Look for versatile pieces with a louche fit, such as culottes, wide-leg pants and luxe shirts – not only can they be styled together or separately, they also feel like a truly fresh proposition.
ON THE FRINGE
After bubbling away quietly for the past few seasons, fringing – in the form of embellished dresses, coats and separates – has become one of the biggest trends for FW20. Exuberant by nature, fringed pieces have presence whether they’re on the more minimal side, like Jil Sander’s monochrome dresses, or unequivocally outré, such as Burberry’s metallic fringed dress and Bottega Veneta’s show-stopping faux-fur coat. While even the most discerning dressers can be daunted by the prospect of styling these highly textured, often voluminous pieces, rest assured it’s actually remarkably easy. The key is to keep the rest of your look pared back – the fringe should take center stage. Start slowly and scale up: not only will a fringed jacket or accessories elevate an everyday outfit, they’ll also teach you how to balance a look.
Yes, you read that right. And no, we’re not talking about a throwback to the scanty dresses that dominated runways during the early 2010s. For FW20, designers across the board ventured into territory that felt refreshingly new – experimenting with ‘sexy’, in sartorial terms. The result? Bodycon is back, but not as you know it. Crucially, the color palette is limited to monochrome, and the silhouettes are also markedly different. At Brandon Maxwell we saw floor-sweeping, long-sleeved dresses that felt both modern and minimalist, while Proenza Schouler and Saint Laurent took the look a step further, debuting styles with cut-outs or crafted entirely from vinyl. Ultimately, what sets these bodycon dresses apart from their predecessors is that, rather than appealing to the male gaze, these pieces are made to instil the women wearing them with confidence, glamour and agency.
THE ’70s REDUX
A wellspring of inspiration, ’70s style is something of a mainstay on the runway. Usually it takes the form of bohemia or disco; however, this season, a handful of our favorite designers have been exploring a different side of the decade – more prosaic than parody. We spotted ’70s-inspired tailoring everywhere from Saint Laurent to Gabriela Hearst and The Row, not to mention the retro sweaters Prada and Victoria Beckham sent down the runway. Don’t wait for these vintage-inspired pieces to drop in stores before trying this trend – you probably have all the key components already hanging in your closet. Considered styling is the key to mastering the look. Just be sure to stick to a muted color palette – brown, navy and gray are all failsafe options – and, if in doubt, add another layer.
Power suits might have been huge for summer, but for FW20 that sartorial energy can be found elsewhere – namely in a statement shirt or a super-sized collar. Pink shirt collars were tucked in at Emilia Wickstead, and the mood was similarly studious at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, where gargantuan blue collars spilled over checked suiting. However, it was a different story at Bottega Veneta, where Kaia Gerber positively oozed insouciance, sashaying down the runway in a black, slimline suit layered over an acid-green shirt, complete with extra-long cuffs and an open, oversized collar. One part Saturday Night Fever, another ’90s hedonism, this singular look has sent statement shirts straight to the top of our wish list.
UP YOUR SLEEVES
Over the past few seasons, statement sleeves have become a regular fixture on the runway. However, for FW20, they took on a different dimension. Gone were the bohemian bell styles we’ve become familiar with; in their place, voluminous and structured sleeves adorned waist-cinching dresses and lust-worthy coats, creating dramatic silhouettes and giving each piece a decidedly feminine feel. From Max Mara’s ruffled blazer to Acne Studios’ deconstructed iteration and Loewe’s sequined knits, these effortless yet impactful pieces promise to slot effortlessly into your existing closet, while also elevating everything they’re paired with. Be an early adopter by road-testing pieces with suitably extra sleeves – we guarantee they’ll transform your on and off-duty look.