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.



On the very first day of NYFW for Spring 18, Kim Kardashian attended the Tom Ford show wearing a slithery black latex dress by indie Queens-born designer LaQuan Smith, known for his body-hugging fits and hip-high slits. The shiny black was a harbinger of looks on runways in all four major cities. Several collections showed glossy coated fabrics, patent leathers or vinyl in inky blacks or the occasional lacquered lipstick red. There were prim ruffled skirts, mid-century frocks, tailored pants and precise blazers, making these high-gloss materials more about fashion than fetish.



In an interview in The New York Times a few years ago, Rick Owens memorably said “Right now I’m trying to figure out how to make tulle look like concrete.” That oxymoronic goal seems to be shared by several designers this season, who give tulle (and its playful cousin, dotted Swiss) more structure with ruching, pleats or boxy cuts. Sometime tulle is used as a filmy outerlayer for sweatshirts or trousers or is cut into a simple tee, adding ballet-worthy illusion to daytime basics.



Stripes get wider, bolder and more colorful for next spring. Whether duotone and evenly spaced awning stripes or multi-colored, multi-width bayadere versions, graphic bands of color enliven shorts, dresses, knits and accessories. Pieced constructions, diagonal placements, wavy layouts or mixes of different striped patterns bring more newness.




Purple, with its symbolism of mysticism and utopian ideals, has long been a favorite of hippies. This season that bohemian spirit is still there, but it is refined with flower-petal shades, fluid fabrics and shapes that are soft yet precise. The hue looks particularly fresh worn head-to-toe in jumpsuits or frocks, or used as a surprise color pop — as in a diaphanous dotted swiss maxi-skirt styled with a simple white tee and easy trench.



As fashion goes, sometimes something is “so bad it’s good”. Acid-washed denim is one of those things. The runways abound with 80s-flavored treatments, whether acid-washed, bleached-out, sand-blasted or stone-tumbled. Many of the shapes are reminiscent of the Run DMC era as well, with rounded legs, pegged ankles, reinforced knees and myriad patch pockets. Some of the newest looks use panels of various washes, or lighter-and-darker mixes for gussets or trims.



Plaids lose their winter connotation and move boldly into spring. Runways are awash in yarn-dye suitings, plaid chiffon dresses, tartan coats, overprinted windowpane checks, plaids on the bias and more, either worn as a statement piece or combined into one ensemble. Styling ranges from neo-grunge to preppy, and colors can be classic or offbeat. In general, the scale of the patterns are large, but specifics don’t really matter here — if it’s plaid, it works.



No longer do cotton candy pinks and lemon-drop yellows signify sugary treats or kitschy Pink Pony fantasies. Like new plant-based matcha lattes and unicorn cream cheese (colored with beet juice, turmeric and chamomile), these delicate tints and glistening surfaces speak of optimism, creativity and wellness. Slick coatings, sequins, guipure lace, sheer overlays and bits of summer velvet add to the incandescent feel.



Perhaps it’s the current call for transparency in politics and business that is inspiring all the pellucid fabrics on the runways. These filmy layers are especially effective for see-through outerwear. Designers use clear plastic or chiffon (or plastic lined with chiffon), as well as coated organzas and parachute nylons for voluminous parkas or “shower cap” sneaker covers.  Plaid versions create pattern play with striped under-layers, and glistening paillettes add to the diaphanous feel.




Like Bouguereau’s paintings of comely shepherdesses and peasant girls that were snapped up by wealthy New Yorkers in the late 18oos, there is a dream of country life that city dwellers hold. It’s all about the lovely faces and bucolic backgrounds, rustic corselets and layered linen skirts, with none of the pesky bugs, foul weather or other hardscrabble realities. Designers in New York and London capture this fantasy pastoral mood for next spring with subtle peasant references like full sleeves, gathered skirts and sash waistlines, all in a delicate palette of bud greens and daffodil yellows.