The newest kicks on the runways show lots of interesting details, signaling a movement away from the basic “dad sneaker” of last season. Design attributes range from the technical to the whimsical. There are ergonomic panels, fat-padded tongues, velcro ankle straps and furry accents. Black-and-white or brights still work, but newest are mirror-finish silver or pops of Day-Glo against a neutral upper. Soles include extended heels and checkerboard flatforms, spanning the divide between function and fashion.
Couture, the luxury laboratory for fashion ideas and dreams, seems to be taking a turn toward the wearable and relevant. The use of color is particularly inspiring this season, with unexpected combinations of mid-tones, brights and pastels. A color-blocked effect is achieved with solid layers — often in the form of big coats and easy slacks — or pieced constructions that create stripes or abstract collages.
Home furnishing fabrics abound this season, adding an unexpectedly lush note to the usually featherweight materials used for spring. There are needlepoints, tapestries and matelassés, brocades worthy of Marie Antoinette’s sitting room at Versailles and kitschy bedspread chenilles that would be at home in a 50s trailer park. Quilted or trapunto effects and bound or fringed edges underline the upholstery feel.
Sometimes it’s the little things that make an item look new. For next spring it’s all about the tape. Designers use twill trim, grosgrain ribbon, jacquard logo tape and other narrow goods as closures, zip pulls and in place of drawstrings for gathered details. These tape-ties give garments a contemporary, industrial feel and enable wearers to customize the look and shape of their clothes, in keeping with the demand for versatility and easy-fits.
The needle on nude has finally moved far beyond the Crayola orange-peach crayon. Current foundation lines (Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has 40 shades) and lingerie (NubianSkin offers a wide range of skin-tones in underpinnings as well as shoes) reflect the vast variety of colors that human creatures come in, underlining the movement toward inclusiveness in beauty — whether it’s about color, size, shape or age. For next spring, designers dabble in the skin-tone palette, from ivory to beige to taupe to espresso, often in sheer stocking-like fabrics. With all the lovely complexion tones, lipstick shades like fuchsia, coral and carmine work perfectly as accents.
Paris designers seem to have fallen under the spell of Vetements’ designer Demna Gvasalia and his radically roomy broad-shouldered silhouette.