5 Themes from NYFW Spring/Summer 18 Collections

If you follow my Instagram stories, you may seen last week that I made some predictions for what I expected to see as well as what I wanted to see at the Spring/Summer '18 shows in New York. In fact, I may even extend these themes to be my predictions across the board for the entirety of fashion month.

Overall, I hoped for a theme of fun, whimsical, romantic femininity paired with power, strength, and confidence. I think that's a theme we've seen a lot of in the cultural zeitgeist over the past year: celebrating, honoring, and protecting femininity in a political landscape that seems to despise it. 

It all harkens back to Valentino's New Look following the end of World War II, when he presented a radical silhouette: cinched waist, padded hips, and a-line skirts. This served as a rejection of the utilitarian clothing that became understandably common during the war period as well as the restrictive looks of the early 20th century. Ultimately, he aimed to revolutionize fashion not by showing the kinds of practical looks that had been necessary during the war (for a modern comparison, consider athleisure), but by creating these hyper-feminine, extravagant looks that reflected the nostalgic feeling many people had after the war.

Keeping the current societal climate in mind, something else I expected was a sense of optimism. Fashion, like the universe, tends to provide just what we need, exactly when we need it. Right now, it's safe to say we all need an injection of positivity and that's coming to us through looks that don't take themselves too seriously, bright colors, and Leslie Jones

Here are the five things I predicted about the collections and how they were shown.

Eighties power dressing with a feminine, romantic twist.
Tom Ford undoubtedly took on this theme in full force. His was the very first collection I saw after making my predictions which, I have to say, made me feel pretty confident about my guesses. The collection featured strong silhouettes through broad-shouldered jackets and power suiting. The colors and fabrics were feminine, lots of pink peppered with some black, lavender, white, and orange looks. 

The beauty look was super natural with the models looked nearly bare-faced save for thick black eyeliner. I think this pairs perfectly with the feminist overtones and conveyed a message of a woman's natural beauty and strength.

How to Wear It:
- Sling a pink blazer over your daily look.
- Look for feminine fabrics like silk, velvet, and satin. 
- Add glitter details as needed.
- Rather than the typical high-low balance, go all out with femininity. For instance, where you'd typically pair a bold jacket with jeans and t-shirt, try the jacket with pieces you'd usually only wear for a 'going out' look.

Beauty and whimsy rather than pure utility.
As always, Carolina Herrera showed timeless, feminine looks that fit perfectly with the themes for this season. This particular collection seemed to beam with happiness and light, showing classic feminine shapes with cinched wrap skirts and ruffled shoulders. In just about every color, each of the looks felt bright and positive, like something you'd see on a youthful girl on summer vacation. Even the heavy coats were enough to bring sunshine on a snowy day.

The Los Angeles brand Co showed similarly whimsical looks, shown on ballet dancers in their lookbook. The silhouettes evoked a sense of Old Hollywood, even a bit of Downton Abbey. The colors used were what I consider the new netural: beige and nude, of course, but also soft pink and a shade of green I can only call 'artichoke'. The feel was undeniably feminine, no androgyny whatsoever, with straight skirts, off-the-shoulder cuts, and classic shirt dresses. These are the kinds of wearable looks that we should be seeing in stores and on the red carpets in the spring. 

How to wear it:
- Buy dresses and tops from Rouje
- Aim to wear soft colors like mint green, artichoke, blush pink, dove gray, and white.
- Add in pops of bright colors and fun details like polka dots, ruffles, and florals.
- Keep your beauty look natural and feminine with rosy cheeks and CH's iconic rich girl waves.

Space age and futuristic looks that are warm and soft, similar to the looks from "Her".
If you've seen Spike Jonze's movie Her, you may remember that the costumes were shockingly warm, soft, and vintage for a future-set, dystopic film (I guess some people may think it was utopic, but I disagree). The costumes totally made sense to me because I really feel that as we progress into the future, our mainstream aesthetic tastes will continue to be based in the past. There will be a real return to natural textiles, I think, and eventually a fixation on nature itself (as seen in Gucci's Fall/Winter 2017 show).

Mansur Gavriel's collection was the perfect match for this prediction, as it featured soft, neutral coats and sweaters in a modern, oversized shape with clean lines that give the looks that futuristic feel as opposed to coming off like a collection of vintage shop finds. The color scheme was warm with beiges, tans, pinks, and dove gray. Even the beauty look played into the vintage feel as the hair was tousled with a bit of frizz and tied back with scrunchies.

How to wear it:
- Aim to wear soft, natural fabrics like cashmere, cotton, and wool. 
- To avoid feeling dated, look for coats, jackets, and sweaters in modern cuts. Think boxy and oversized.
- Swap your skinny jeans for a wide leg trouser or track pant.
- Keep your color palette light, warm, and neutral. 

Optimism and humor.
As mentioned before, I expected a sense of optimism in the collections to counteract the dismal feeling we've all been feeling and seeing reflected in the media over the past few years. In addition to optimism, I expected a bright sense of humor and levity, as opposed to the dark humor we often see with Jeremy Scott and Balenciaga. This levity, of course, came from Rosie Assoulin who is well-known for voluminous and sculptural dresses.

Her collection featured her iconic volume and played with bright colors that contrast with the neutral scheme we've seen elsewhere. There was a white dress with colorful polka dots (see below) that had a real sense of fun and joy. I'd love to see someone like Lilly Collins wear this to an event. There were also bright blue trousers with yellow and orange stripes, in keeping with the huge track pants trend.

How to wear it:
- Put your black clothing in storage.
- Wear a pair of colorful track pants with a simple white t-shirt, blouse, or oxford.
- Invest in a few new accessories to incorporate colors like yellow, red-orange, sky blue, and lavender into your wardrobe.
- Don't be afraid to go bold with shapes, prints, and color.

A fresh, new take on bohemian.
I've been hoping for this for a long time now and I feel like it finally happened this season. Rather than the typical Coachella-style bohemian looks, we've finally crossed the threshold into peak gypset, pairing preppy staples with traditionally bohemian elements. Tory Burch was the epitome of this new look for me, showing her classic tunics and dresses in new, global-inspired, boho prints. My favorite look was the multi-colored trousers with a long, neutral-toned tunic and a big, pendant necklace. To me, that's where bohemian is going.

There was also Brock Collection, who everyone has been excited about since they participated in (and won) the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. They certainly showed some more traditional bohemian pieces (flowing, floral dresses and gladiator sandals), but there were a couple of looks that felt fresh to me. I loved the 40s style dresses, especially the red-striped one that appears to be done in burlap but also the classic red look paired with a belted cardigan and the endlessly popular straw handbag. It may not seem obviously bohemian, but I think we could see a future in which bohemian-style, natural textiles are shown in structured silhouettes like this.