What to wear, according to the Spring 2020 catwalks
As the four-city fashion cavalcade comes to an end, here’s a look at some of the catwalk styles from New York, London, Milan and Paris that could sharpen your wardrobe this spring.
Get Shorty: Long shorts, a rare sight on women IRL, are a staple for street-style stars — so much so that Vogue has referred to them as a summer solution to “dressing professionally without overheating.” This season designers tried even harder to convince us of their staying power, suggesting that the bigger, more Bermudas-like the shorts, the better.
At Max Mara they came in monochromatic pastels accessorized with matching ties, and at Tod’s they ran long, in chocolate brown, with an equally outsize blazer to match. At Bottega Veneta, creative director Daniel Lee drifted into basketball territory, with thigh-length black shorts shown with the latest iteration of his sold-out quilted mules. At Chloé, Natasha Ramsay-Levi layered a similar version over creamy silk bloomers and a bustier.
Indeed, layering was a mainstay of the trend for spring 2020. See the safari-style shorts over pants at Chalayan, the shorts suits with long socks at Altuzarra and the embroidered denim culottes with knee-high boots at Celine. We call them long story shorts.
Bag It Up: In New York, Sies Marjan and Proenza Schouler went supersize, with space for every essential. The XXL trend continued in Milan, where Bottega Veneta showed giant slouchy cross-strap leather bags and Hugo Boss had canary yellow drawstring backpacks. At Fendi, models came down the runway swinging capacious maxi totes.
In Paris, Stella McCartney introduced giant woven circular baskets, and Lanvin gave hardy luxe duffels an update. What could it all mean? Micro bags may still be around, but jumbo accessories create the bigger impression.
Cut It Out: Fashion will poke holes in anything. Rarely, however, has that act felt as literal as it did this season, with gaps, perforations and cutouts on runway after runway. Sometimes they were subtle, as in the circular cutouts that danced on models’ hips at JW Anderson or in the delicate slices of flesh on display at Gucci and Marni.
At Off-White a Swiss cheese motif permeated the entire collection, on handbags and boots and T-shirts (not to mention in the hole created from the absence of its creative director Virgil Abloh). The stark bare shoulders and midriffs at Haider Ackermann and Saint Laurent were smart graphic plays around negative space. There is power in absence, after all.
Brighten Up: Be it as a sunny counterpoint to gray fall skies or an antidote to relentlessly gloomy headlines, orange has emerged as the dominant color of the season. Simple dress silhouettes in warming tangerine shades shone at Eckhaus Latta and Emilia Wickstead, as did corals at Valentino and Gabriela Hearst. At Prada a neon double-breasted coat with pale blue embroidery was bold enough to stop traffic.
More mellow variations could be found in the saffron minis at Christopher Kane and a head-to-toe 1980s-inspired apricot look at Isabel Marant. For the faint of heart, remember that fortune favors the brave.
That 18th-Century Show: In Paris, 15 miles from the gates of Versailles, a riot of 18th-century regalia ruled the runways: intricate lace collars and stiff panniers at Loewe, an extravaganza of pouf skirts and jacquard bloomers at Comme de Garçons and cutaway brocade frock coats at Dries Van Noten. In London, Richard Quinn showed off bold shoulders and lavish floral volumes, and Simone Rocha’s delicate ruffles took fantasy to new heights.
Occasionally the Age of Enlightenment attire acquired a more contemporary twist, as in the refashioned basics at Yohji Yamamoto or the suit-and-tie trompe l’oeil on corseted silhouettes at Thom Browne.
Still, designers across all four fashion cities seemed keen to celebrate the pageantry of European royal courts, where gender lines could be blurred and dramatic shapes and textiles embraced.
The New York Times