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Breezy, Long and Re­con­structed: Sil­hou­ette Di­rec­tions for Women’s Spring/Sum­mer 2018 Col­lec­tions

Ev­ery few years, fash­ion dis­cards its old ways, call­ing them passé and moves out search­ing for some­thing new be­cause that is what keeps the cy­cle go­ing. But the evo­lu­tion of style al­ways main­tains its roots in the tra­di­tions and trends which are es­sen­tial for re­shap­ing and rad­i­cal­iz­ing these very basics. So it is fit­ting to note that the neo-sil­hou­ette of the decade is an ar­ti­sanal de­con­struc­tion and re­con­struc­tion of ev­ery­thing we al­ready know with a grandly, flowy vi­sion. Mon­ica Oberoi of Dipin Cre­ations con­firms that the cut of next sum­mer will be loose and flow­ing and the en­tire sil­hou­ette is all about easy-go­ing long lengths as well as smartly cut­ting out heav­ier vol­umes with soft fab­rics. Fash­ion con­stantly re­peats it­self. Hence, ex­pect the trends which were prom­i­nent dur­ing our par­ents’ times like wider trousers and floor-sweep­ing gowns to re­peat their dom­i­nance now.

Anal­o­gous to this, de­sign­ers are am­ply play­ing with pro­por­tions, grad­u­at­ing from the ‘big tops with skinny bot­toms’ com­bi­na­tion. One key contributor to this wind of change is Rei Kawakubo’s sem­i­nal work at Comme des Garçons.

The Ja­panese la­bel, founded and headed by Kawakubo since 1981, has pi­o­neered the con­cept of merg­ing ar­chi­tec­ture and fash­ion, sin­gle-hand­edly rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the ba­sic shape of modern gar­ments without for­go­ing the fem­i­nin­ity of wom­enswear. The de­signer’s work was cho­sen as the theme for this year’s an­nual ret­ro­spec­tive ex­hibit at the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art in New York, which brings the body of her work un­der a macro lens for the en­tire world to see.

As Andrew Bolton, the Cos­tume In­sti­tute’s Cu­ra­tor in Charge, aptly put it, “By invit­ing us to re­think fash­ion as a site of con­stant cre­ation, re­cre­ation, and hy­brid­ity, she has de­fined the aes­thet­ics of our time.” An­other fac­tor that plays a mas­sive role in this ‘out of pro­por­tion’ trend is the way de­sign­ers are look­ing at the past to in­spire their present col­lec­tions – the process has re­sulted in some­thing of cut and paste scrap­book of de­tails from yesteryears, ar­tis­ti­cally rein­ter­preted for modern run­ways. Here are a few fea­tures of this new chopped and spliced sil­hou­ette that will form the face of fash­ion in the years to come!


Cape coats for win­ter are al­most a clas­si­cal choice now, but elon­gated jack­ets are fast be­com­ing a transsea­sonal norm as well. The long sum­mer jacket for Spring/Sum­mer 2018 takes an overtly fem­i­nine turn

with floor graz­ing lengths and light fab­rics like crepe de chine and silk or silk chif­fons.

Up­lift­ing the worka­day util­ity of a Mack­in­tosh jacket, de­sign­ers like Nina Ricci are re­pur­pos­ing the gar­ment in a more whim­si­cal di­rec­tion giv­ing it a very light and fluid feel. Aastha Kapoor of Af­ford­able Ex­ports reaf­firms that long and breezy isn’t just for outerwear but rather sums up the en­tire sil­hou­ette story of the sea­son. She adds that the sum­mer girl of the next sea­son will have a gypsy, Free Peo­ple sort of look com­plete with long dra­matic sleeves and flow­ing hem­lines. Flare and flounce will be the key win­ners and the boho-chic sen­si­bil­ity that has been go­ing on for a long time will con­tinue its reign, mov­ing in a more out­ward look­ing la­dy­like rodeo avatar.


A strate­gic el­e­ment of Spring/Sum­mer 2018’s shape is the asym­me­try of ev­ery­thing. De­sign­ers want to keep the sem­blance of an im­bal­anced look to keep the in­tensely fem­i­nine looks func­tional. From bias, di­ag­o­nal to just plain ir­reg­u­lar, hem­lines do not have to be bor­ing this sea­son. From Ro­darte’s take on multi-lay­er­ing sheer fab­rics to Proenza Schouler’s ar­ti­sanal de­con­struc­tion of mid-length prairie dresses, tac­tile ref­er­ences to modern ar­chi­tec­ture will be found in abun­dance this sea­son.

A lot of in­spi­ra­tions may also be rooted in Eastern gar­ments like the tra­di­tional Ki­mono and Qi­pao which are in­form­ing, lay­er­ing and help­ing de­sign­ers in craft­ing reimagined sil­hou­ettes. Nivedita of Nivedita Swarup ex­plains that the sea­son’s heart lies in light-weight fem­i­nine cuts and the key fab­rics in play are cot­ton, linen and even light wools. How­ever, fab­rics like vis­cose-rayon are the game chang­ers be­cause of their ap­pear­ance be­ing close to silk without the high cost and con­struc­tion main­te­nance. Colour play like the tone-on-tone look is also a big help in achiev­ing this sil­hou­ette with muted yel­low, brown, pink and pas­tels ready to take the 2018’s crown.


With gar­ments look­ing flim­sier and chop­pier than ever, the only way to re­in­state some struc­ture is by re­hash­ing some of those pure sil­hou­ette el­e­ments and in­ject­ing them back into ba­sic gar­ments. Struc­tural de­sign is bring­ing in a new take on func­tional dress­ing, where in­stead of im­prac­ti­cal vol­umes of the 1980s like heavy shoul­ders and pad­ding, de­sign­ers like Khomenko + Zirochka and Hussein Cha­layan are us­ing the process of ‘cut, splice and layer’ to keep a min­i­mal­ist yet body-con­form­ing ap­peal in their sum­mer of­fer­ings.

A mix of artis­tic col­lag­ing and per­haps the grown-up, more avant-garde ver­sion of ruf­fles – de­con­struc­tion is fash­ion’s an­swer to all the con­sumer-driven needs for hy­per in­di­vid­u­al­ism and so­phis­ti­cated tai­lor­ing in one pre­cise pack­ag­ing of un­ex­pected shapes.

Casely Hay­ford

Nina Ricci Flare and flounce are the key win­ners for Spring/ Sum­mer 2018 and this boho-chic sen­si­bil­ity that has been go­ing on for a long time now will con­tinue its reign, mov­ing in a more out­ward look­ing la­dy­like rodeo avatar next sea­son.

Ro­darte Vete­ments

Khomenko+Zirochka Cedric Char­lier

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