It is debatable but fashion previews are crystal balls that can predict what is to come, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup.
HOW are we feeling about the future? I don't know about you but last week I conducted a poll on Twitter asking, "Is the world a terrible place or is it just me?" I received six votes (sad, I know) and five went for the first option.
Five votes aren't indicative of anything, especially since fashion-wise, spring next year looks to be brilliant and bright. It's like that Timbuk3 one-hit wonder from the 1980s, The Future's so Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.
It started with Tom Ford in New York. The celebrated American designer – who also directs critically-acclaimed Hollywood movies – sent out invites to his show early September with his latest perfume that he named F ***** g Fabulous. How's that for optimism?
He showed crystal-encrusted dresses that were so short they were probably blouses, with shoulders as sharp as the winged eyeliners on the models who wore them. His blazers had a luminous sheen, while a pink dress worn by Gigi Hadid had android-like metallic sleeves.
Raf Simons at Calvin Klein presented cowboy-inspired shiny shirts and trousers, and Alexander Wang showed a pair of jeans that had one leg covered in silver studs. Models at Marc Jacobs wore gold or silver flat sandals, while the fringe detail on bags and footwear had touches of glitter.
The sparkle continued in London, where design duo and real-life couple Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi listed books such as Anarchism and Other Essays and The Metaphysical Book of Gems and Crystals as both inspiration and deterrent against a gloomy future.
Vogue.com writes, "In times that seem apocalyptic, people do cling to cults and religions when all else fails. They've been looking into that, as well as politics and history, to construct ways to resist the evils of regressive forces that might limit the futures of their children.
"Ultimately, you know, I think it's about having faith," said Bregazzi.
Faith that things will improve?
Meanwhile, Erdem Moralioglu of Erdem turned to Queen Elizabeth II for comfort. He found that in her younger days the British royal had met and was acquainted with jazz composer Duke Ellington. This inspired him to create a collection of dresses that a Queen could've worn in the music joints of 1950s New York.
He showed brocade coats with a rich sheen and dresses beautifully embroidered with silver threads. The Queen is unlikely to wear Erdem, but her granddaughter-in-law Catherine (a.k.a Kate Middleton) is a fan. Is it a coincidence that his silhouettes suit a pregnant woman?
Meanwhile in Milan, it would be amiss if Italian powerhouses Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana and Versace showed a collection that wasn't full of gilt and glitter.
Gucci had a fully sequinned head-covering cape, among other things, while Dolce and Gabbana featured a fully embellished Queen of Hearts tunic. Versace famously closed its show with Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni, Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Helena Christensen in slinky gold dresses.
Dries Van Noten showed lots of bright colours in Paris, along with glittery boots and sequinned embellishments. Even his models were sparkling, as they had clear Swarovski crystals glued around their eyes or lips.
Some of the models' hair at Maison Margiela was dipped in gold glitter as creative director John Galliano reworked trench coats. He took out shoulder sections and sleeves, added feather embellishments and pleats, and used gold fabric to replace the usual dull cotton gabardine.
Balmain by Olivier Rousteing was also typically shiny, as he opened with a jumpsuit in patent leather. His version of power dressing came in the form of a studded pantsuit, while the black and white colour wheel was broken by several outfits covered in coloured sequins.
THE IT ZONE
Given the season's penchant for 1980s maximal dressing, it's no surprise that shoulders were sharp and structured, as seen at Tom Ford and Brandon Maxwell. In Paris, Givenchy had shoulders that jutted away from the body while leaving the outfit sleeveless.
Balenciaga on the other hand (hah!) offered extra sleeves. Creative director Demna Gvasalia had trench coats layered on top of denim shirts, leather jackets on pink shirts and windbreakers on puffy vests. The attached garments are apparently wearable, so it's a two-in-one bargain.
Other (correctly numbered) sleeves were wide and roomy, as seen on the overblown silhouettes at Marc Jacobs, Emilia Wickstead and Celine. Prabal Gurung and Isabel Marant showed puffy sleeves, while Fendi had shoulder cut-outs and wide, extended lapels. Bare shoulders were seen at Stella McCartney, whose prints were inspired by African batik.
For the ultimate sex appeal, Saint Laurent took ostrich feathers and fluffy bubble construction to highlight the upper body. The legs are often bare, though they are sometimes shoed in above-the-knee fringe boots that look amazing in motion. It's especially stunning given the Eiffel Tower venue.
FLORALS FOR SPRING
In the film The Devil Wears Prada, fashion editor Miranda Priestly – played to perfection by Meryl Streep – sarcastically commented, "Ground-breaking," when confronted with the prospect of florals for spring. And yet, we find a lot of florals in Spring/Summer 2018.
In New York, Marchesa showed dreamy, romantic dresses accented with equally delicate floral appliqué. Christian Siriano had both floral appliqué and patterns, and outfits that were in the colours of a garden in bloom.
In London, Mary Katrantzou highlighted puffy skirts and dresses in colouring book-inspired floral prints.
Jeremy Scott at Moschino showed a lotus flower shirt with detachable petals. He also had a lily and tulip dress, and his finale outfits – worn by Kaia Gerber and Hadid – were literally dress versions of flower bouquets. He didn't just use a floral theme; he turned his models into flowers.
Elie Saab took a foliage approach with a palm leaf print while Kenzo's botanical influence included bamboo and yam leaf. From the animal kingdom, Carolina Herrera had a herd of zebras on the hem of her dress and Dries Van Noten showed a pink starfish motif.
Spiders were crawling at Prada, which presented a comic book-themed collection so the creepy creatures were likely a Spiderman reference. And there seemed to be Godzilla on a Christian Dior sweater. Perhaps creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri is worried about the prospect of nuclear war.
There is a financial theory that hemlines on women's dress will somehow impact the economy and/or the stock market. A shorter hemline trend indicates a strong performance, while longer hemlines point to the opposite.
Chalk it up to women and our mysterious powers. But of course the theory is completely rubbish. Two Dutch economists even did a study that concluded skirt lengths "have no predictive ability for the state of the economy".
thers however, believe that it's the other way around, as in; it's the economy that will influence hemlines. So what does it mean when the hemline for Spring/Summer 2018 stops at the calf?
Carolina Herrera showed many calf-length dresses in her signature ladylike designs. Her colours were vivid and cheerful, and one print looked like confetti. Marni's colours were equally joyful but the designs are cut to a larger proportion, giving them an edgier, more whimsical feel.
The colours at Victoria Beckham were a little subdued but many of her skirts and dresses also end at the calf. Loewe's dresses with their uneven hemlines were roughly calf-length, and these were worn with bizarre pointy-toed sneakers.
Calf-length hemlines were also seen at Balmain, where the skirts were cut close to the body before ending in a mermaid ruffle. It's a gorgeous silhouette, but looked really difficult to walk in. Altuzarra showed narrow calf-length skirts too, but these had thigh-high slits that helped the models move on the runway.