The SSENSE Spring/Summer 2020 Trend Report: Part II

A Guide to the Future and Next Season’s Product

  • Illustration: Tobin Reid
  • Text: SSENSE Editors

Springtime brings a chance to start fresh, to simplify, to leave the boots, scarf, and mitts behind. Though this season, you’re more likely to hear about shedding microplastics—one piece of synthetic clothing can release 700,000 toxic fibers in a single wash—than shedding layers. While many of the SS20 trends are still referencing moments from the past, thankfully, the conversation around fashion’s environmental impact has changed in a big way. This means innovation. Designers are upcycling, fabrics are mutating, silhouettes are morphing. With the new decade comes a new frontier of trends. Time to get acquainted with the help of the SSENSE SS20 trend report, part two.

Victoria’s Secret Funeral

In 2019, heaven (or rather, hell?) gained another angel—Victoria's Secret angel, that is. The lingerie label finally canceled its annual winter "fashion" show after decades of seven-figure Fantasy Bras and declining sales, putting to rest its presentation of passé beauty standards, carbon copy casting, and, of course, those wings. Fortunately, VS is survived by SS20's preferred take on sexy: long latex gloves, hardware details, mesh tops worn without bras, and a better perspective. Rick Owens sent models down the runway in half-zipped jumpsuits and jackets worn as shirts. London-based Supriya Lele offered a collection of ultra-cinched silhouettes, strappy trench coats, and shorts in the form of loose-fitting green underwear. Ann Demeulemeester's girl appeared ready to dominate in high slit black mini skirts with exposed fishnet undergarments. This season, we're following the footsteps of Queen Rih—didn't they tell you that she was a Savage...x Fenty?

Bag Buffet

"It" bags for all! This season the handbag has been liberated. There is no one must have shape, color, or size, rather, anything goes. A Thom Browne crossbody bag shaped like a football? Why not? We saw even more sculptural bags, in the shape of baseball hats at JW Anderson, and hard wrecking balls with chain-link handles at Marine Serre. Rhude took the mini-purse trend to menswear with a literal cigarette carton bag. And we can’t forget the classic baguette bag, updated everywhere this season in fabrics from snake-print to patent leather. For SS20, grab hold to whatever catches your eye. The choice is yours at the bag buffet.

Princess Peach

Princess Peach is that unattainable half-mushroom goddess who brings purpose to Mario’s eight-bit life. She is elusive, light on her feet, strong-willed, yet laughs easily. She’s also an absolute unsung style icon. Her puff-sleeved pink dress with ornate bodice and bustle, her jeweled crown, elegant white opera gloves, and occasional coordinating parasol. Peach is, of course, a damsel—in itself sartorially aspirational—but she also knows how to play dirty to beat Bowser. For SS20, we’re seeing Princess inspiration everywhere, from ruffles and rose-tinted palettes at CDG, GmbH, and Dior Homme, to bustle-inspired, nip-waisted silhouettes at Ashley Williams and Thom Browne. And while Molly Goddard and Simone Rocha have been about Princess styles from the start, for SS20, Peach is upping her reach.

The Mask

Our relationship to color has been fickle at best—vacillating from bright and bold one season to cold and muted the next. If 2019 recipient of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, Christopher John Rogers, is any measure of what we’re feeling chromatically this season, it’s loud and proud color all the way. While structured, corporate silhouettes have been making a comeback in recent seasons, don’t be fooled into believing this means it’s all work and no fun. Quite the contrary—this year we’re channeling a more colorful character: Stanley Ipkiss, aka The Mask. Zany to a point that verges on irritation, Ipkiss might be obnoxious, but he bears an important message: it’s possible to find success while still never taking yourself too seriously. There’s usually very little return for white-knuckling control over your aesthetic self and body for the sake of the performative illusion of corporate competence, so why not loosen your tie and pick canary yellow or kelly green when choosing tomorrow’s suit. In 2020, having a personality is the epitome of professionalism.

Cap’n Brunch

All-aboard! SS20 is calling for a new take on nautical and you don’t want to miss the boat. Sperrys and shorts in the city exude total leisure as downtown meets starboard for a vibe that’s equally Yacht Club and brunch in Brooklyn. If you’re the type of person to go sockless in loafers, all-season your striped Polo swim shorts, and regularly debate a Noah bucket hat in the morning mirror—you’re primed for SS20’s sporty captain look. Consider the sailor-inspired “tar flap” collared shirts from Loewe, or Prada’s striped short-suits, reminiscent of the days when a bathing suit was a full fit.

Van Gogh

This summer, fashion goes Dutch. Haystacks, the harvest, starry nights, sunflowers. Knitwear and evening wear that call to mind Van Gogh’s en plein air countryside tableaux. Straw hats, farmer details, thick brushstrokes, palettes that include pollen-yellow, pale green, browns and blues (and root vegetable neutrals). Consider Jacquemus’ entire oeuvre: the runway itself staged on a field, but also, the clothes. Simon Porte’s airy and exaggerated silhouettes, his straw carryalls and bucket hats, and sun-kissed palette that feel totally on brand (i.e totally hopeful, cheeky, unserious and merry). More painterly options include brands with a decidedly downtown cool like Collina Strada or Charlotte Knowles, whose body-conscious florals feel somehow fairytale and free: rich orange-yellows, gilded petal patterns, camo-horticulture, gold lips. Or Marine Serre’s macrame bags and botanic patchwork—only Marine Serre could add a raw edge to macrame and patchwork. There’s Palomo Spain’s scarecrow-inspired suiting and Nanushka’s fringe and fishnet details. And one cannot talk about poetic knits without mentioning Missoni or Stella McCartney’s careful application of rope and strappy heels. And of course Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe wonderland that—while not at all rustic—was so purely romantic with lacework and flared shapes in colors like wheat-y taupe signalling the outdoors and those long afternoons spent seeking patches of shade. But no other brand better captures Van Gogh’s post-impressionist influence like Christian Dior. Maria Grazia Chiuri sent models down the runway in artisanal interpretations of a Provencal farm. Meadow-y likeness was the mood with pasture-inspired haystack sundresses and slouchy decorative wildflower sweaters. This summer, the Dior profile calls to mind Van Gogh’s “A Woman Walking in a Garden." So: Van-go and get some fresh air.

  • Date: January 16, 2020
  • Illustration: Tobin Reid
  • Text: SSENSE Editors