Oct 5, 2023
The women’s ready-to-wear fashion weeks marathon kicked off in New York on September 12, then moved on to London and Milan, to end in Paris on October 3. The fashion events returned to pre-pandemic effervescence in terms of international presences, plethoric offerings and urban chaos. For Spring/Summer 2024, brands surfed on rather classic propositions, with skirt or trouser suits galore, comfortable proportions, small, easy and interchangeable pieces and all-purpose shades. Faced with the uncertainty of the market, designers sometimes seemed lost, oscillating between large, protective volumes for the superwoman and increasingly light, airy outfits exacerbating an uninhibited femininity. And let’s not forget practical sportswear, which is making a comeback.
1. Casual chic
The chic, refined silhouette, often accessorized with a hat and gloves, took center stage on the runways, giving pride of place to tailored pieces, via elegant suits, well-cut jackets and high-waisted trousers. Tailored garments are no longer constricting as in the past, but loose and comfortable, cut from impalpable wools and cottons. Designers opted for simple, timeless fashion, made up of mainly essentials in neutral shades that are easy to mix and match. All pieces were however neat and sophisticated. Next summer’s wardrobe also includes fitted dresses, straight midi skirts and flared godet skirts and for everyday wear coats and countless leather pieces, which were seen in every collection.
2. The white shirt
Without a doubt, the white shirt will be next summer’s staple piece. Wether a classic shirt in white poplin, or an oversized men’s shirt, also available in stripes, this season the traditional piece has been modernized and the details and proportions have been reworked. Altuzarra presented gathered collars, while Dawei and Sacai opted for puffy sleeves. Others, notably Victoria/Tomas decided to reinvent the classic shirt. Dior‘s shirt was asymmetrical, while Dolce & Gabbana incorporated a bib front. And Elie Saab, Isabel Marant, Simone Rocha, Michael Kors and Ermanno Scervino added lace embellishments. Valentino on the other hand transformed its shirt into a jacket, and of course a shirt-dress, as at AZ Factory, Etro and Vaquera. It comes in crumpled paper fabric at Y/Project, while Dries Van Noten offers a simple version.
3. XXL shoulders
The broad-shouldered, masculine look is ubiquitous on runways and streets alike. Mainly through oversized jackets with an Eighties feel, but also in coats or more body-hugging outfits, as well as in sweaters with American footballer shoulders. Large shoulders, often square (or pointed at Rick Owens), paradoxically feminize a silhouette, pulling it in at the waist. Generally speaking, volume has taken hold of clothing through a variety of experiments, like at Sacai, Comme Des Garçons and Duran Lantink, with the idea of conserving, but also emphatizing an allure.
Faced with the inconstancies of both the market and the weather, designers oscillated between maximum body protection, including large, majestic hoods, and almost total exposure with breasts and buttocks shamelessly on display. Tulle and organza are popular materials for next summer, used to make jackets, skirts, dresses and trousers. Muslins and fine veils, sometimes with devoured effects, as seen at Ann Demeleumeester and Diesel, are superimposed on garments, wrapping them delicately like covers up to the head, like at Issey Miyake, or revealing the body.
Couturiers vary on the theme. They exploit the boudoir vein with babydolls, sexy jumpsuits and chic lingerie, like Dolce & Gabbana and many others. Black or white lace dresses are a must at Chanel and Dior. They also play with nude effects and flesh-toned transparencies, in tulle, nylon or tight-fitting stretch fabrics, on which feature pretty tattoo prints (Balenciaga, Etro, Alberta Ferretti, Aigner).
5. Bear shoulders
Asymmetry is the new trend, whether in dresses, skirts or tops. Notably, the shoulder was exposed in all the runways this season. In draped dresses, like at Atlein, AZ Factory, Blumarine, Bottega Veneta, Burburry and Coperni, but also in shirts at Balmain and Dior, or tuxedo jackets at Dolce & Gabbana. Not forgetting, of course, little tops. Some designers even removed sleeves to acheive the asymmetry.
Plastic, thought to have been banished from collections, has returned to the runway in force. Swedish upcycling designer Hodakova swaddled the body in plastic film. Anrealage, Pierre Cardin and Dolce & Gabbana made garments and raincoats from transparent plastic, embroidered with braids, while Mugler sculpted high-impact bustiers from the same material. Others experimented with latex, like Avellano, or with shiny materials such as nylon, as at Ujoh.
7. The short-culotte
After the mini-mini-skirt, the panty-format micro-short is making its mark within women’s wardrobes. They’re the must-have item for next summer. Practical, summery by definition, sexy in tulle and lace, worn as high-waisted breeches, chic in velvet or silk (N°21 goes so far as to give its satin shorts side stripes for a footballer effect), shorts are in every collection. Available in leather and denim, or as a pair of men’s underpants, they can be adapted to any occasion.
As in previous seasons, couturiers continued to enhance the woman’s body, restoring its power through often sculptural creations. In addition to the intense work on volumes mentioned above, designers also made abundant use of the draping technique. And not just to create vestal gowns. The idea is to magnify the woman with fabrics that wrap, embrace, undulate and accompany diagonal or spiral curves, whether in sheaths, minidresses, skirts or tops.
9. The rose
The rose, symbol of love and passion, is featured in several collections. Balmain, in particular, has made it the central theme of its wardrobe for summer 2024. As well as David Koma. We’ll find it printed in giant format on an evening gown at Alexander McQueen, scattered in applications throughout the garments, here and there. Bouquets of roses are trapped under tulle at Simone Rocha or Undercover in spectacular aquarium dresses.
This strong, vibrant color has already made noticeable inroads into collections in recent seasons, but for spring-summer 2024, it’s making its presence felt in garish flashes, energizing neutral, classic, pastel or black-and-white palettes that have characterized most collections. A total red look, or a major piece in scarlet, garnet, vermilion or fiery red, is a must in any summer wardrobe. Hermès devotes almost its entire collection to this it.
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