A chic, minimalist wardrobe. That’s what the designers and fashion labels present at New York Fashion Week proposed for the Spring/Summer 2024 season. Key inspirations have much in common with this past springtime’s interest in ‘quiet luxury,’ the anything-but-ostentatious aesthetic popularized by hit TV show “Succession.” A handful of references drawn from past decades provided occasional touches of whimsy.
Are we definitively done with a redux of trends from the Noughties? Before we bury this decade and its style influences, let’s wait to see what the collections in London, Milan and Paris bring, but if New York is setting the tone, it would seem that designers are now drawing inspiration from other eras’ aesthetics, primarily the 1990s and the 1960s ― for instance, the return of babydoll styles ― and a less dominant but still very noticeable look to 1970s. All of these influences feed into a minimalist approach to fashion, with no fuss or frills, with a focus on an aesthetic that has been making headlines since last spring: ‘stealth wealth’ or ‘quiet luxury.’ In style terms that translates into a wardrobe that is discreet but ultra luxurious, associated with the heirs and insiders crowd. Which is another reason to put it in the spotlight for fashion fans everywhere.
After having disappeared from the fashion radar for years, the corset made a comeback in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and now seems to be a fixture on catwalks. However, this corset isn’t the same as the original, restrictive version, but is rather being used to emphasize the waist with lacing, or even to break certain gender preconceptions by giving it a masculine feel. This is exactly what designers did in New York, sending out corseted pieces for both men and women, or creating outfits that give an illusion of being corseted through a series of layers ― a modern reinterpretation of the ballerina dancer with hooks and lacing. All without ever shackling the silhouette. Corsets played key roles on the catwalks of Christian Siriano, Dion Lee and Palomo Spain.
Fabric of choice: Denim
Unlike in previous seasons in which leather showed up as a New York favourite, this time around denim seemed to be everywhere but, for the first time in several seasons, it’s not about styles that borrow from the Noughties. Waists are (slightly) lower, and pants no longer in cargo or baggy cuts ― although wide-leg styles continue to be shown by some labels. In raw, light or faded washes, denim showed up in long skirts, (also a trend for the Autumn-Winter 2023 season), or pants topped with split skirts, as well as in long, tailored jackets, either embellished with embroidery or left plain. But one of the biggest trends came straight from the 1990s ― that of double denim or even an all-denim outfit, composed of a variety of pieces. Denim made a statement at Ralph Lauren, Dion Lee and Ulla Johnson.
One colour: Silver
It’s hard to choose just a single hue when faced with the profusion of colours, both subtle and bold, seen on the runways of New York Fashion Week. Monochrome will be a hit next summer, as will colour block and, as is customary in spring, soft shades. More surprising, however, was the ubiquitousness of silver, a colour usually more associated with fall and winter. But it made a host of elegant appearances, bestowing a luxurious and festive feel, as did various gold shades. To reinforce the metallic shades, sequins were also out in force. A trend seen at Gabriela Hearst and, to a lesser extent, at Dion Lee and Carolina Herrera.
Top print: Florals
Minimalism may have been the watchword at this season’s shows in New York, but designers and major labels also put flowers front and centre, whether in the form of prints, as at Carolina Herrera, embroidery or 3D motifs, as at Michael Kors and Christian Siriano, or brooches, jewels and other accessories, as at Aknvas and Colin LoCascio. Along with sequins, this was one of the few more fanciful touches brought to these Spring-Summer 2024 collections, which was light on accessories overall. A true ode to understated luxury.