The SSENSE Spring/Summer 2020 Trend Report: Part I
A Guide to the Future and Next Season’s Product
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 one.
Despite fashion's regular revival of the 70s and 80s, not even Sandy's power-move makeover in 1978's Grease can compete with the carnival looks worn in HBO's latest hit highschool series, Euphoria. Since the show's premiere, trend-savvy teens (and full-grown adults) have transformed their wardrobes, makeup bags, and Insta feeds with a surplus of tie-dye, miniature knapsacks, and enough sequins to form a lifetime supply of confetti. For SS20, the anticipation for season two becomes even more apparent: Palm Angels' Francesco Ragazzi offered classroom-fleeing butterfly iconography, Versace's beauty looks featured cotton candy-colored hair dye, and Bella Hadid's backstage look at Fendi brought to mind both Jules' signature mesh shirts and Rue's glitter tears. Unlike Grease, Sam Levinson's Euphoria isn't preoccupied with dressing for happy endings—instead, it sets the scene for the bittersweet (and at times exhilarating) moments of coping with reality.
If Candy Land were a real universe and not just a delicious fantasy, then Tyler the Creator’s alter-ego IGOR would be the mayor, governing the town in matching pastel suits, a different color for every day. Elements of the SS20 runways were clearly inspired by the sweeter side of things, an interesting parallel to the dark, apocalypse-adjacent styles seen in many shows. At Jacquemus, models in relaxed pastel suits glided down a pink runway that wound its way through fields of purple lavender. Fellow French label Officine Générale made a case for the timelessness of the perfect pink suit, layered over a striped tee and finished off with some white sneakers. Even austere brands like Givenchy and Bottega Veneta offered lighter moments with compelling soft pink and blue blazers respectively. A styling tip, complete your sweet-as-can-be look with Balenciaga’s Hello Kitty handbag. What better vessel to tote your Sour Keys and Fuzzy Peaches?
Molting is the process by which a snake routinely casts off its skin to facilitate new growth, evolving into a bigger, stronger version of itself. The action of shedding that which no longer serves us is cathartic, and catharsis an essential ethos to carry with us through the transition from FW19 to SS20, where mesh figures heavily. Topographically similar to a snake’s skin, its knotted, open texture varies in dimension, from discreet and gauzy, to netted and loose. Hanging from our bodies or clinging to our flesh, it suggests a soul in transition. Are you revealing or are you concealing? Growing into your truest form through shedding toxic habits (and toxic relationships), when posed with the question, “are you ready for what’s next?” mesh says, “yes.”
The Blue Lagoon
Find your beach, your villa on the beach, that is. Your private resort getaway, steps from the bluest ocean waves—the kind of water with crystal, gemlike aqua tones that feel discoverable and exclusive. While vacationing is a state of mind—cozy plan-canceling, face-masking and couch-islands certainly rejuvenate—the upshot of actually departing for warmer temps means dressing the part. Think: T Magazine travel stories, Faye Dunaway or Rene Russo in The Thomas Crown Affair, or Lee Radziwill in Ravello, Italy. Think effortless beige and ecru and all things The Row, whose minimal silhouettes reduce beach-dressing to essential tenets: crisp cotton, crewnecks, and white denim, leather Tevas and refined layering pieces. Clare Waight Keller’s vision for Givenchy is similarly subdued and sensible, but with a touch of runway drama—vacation dressing should be cinematic, always. Become the vacay-lady who wears her sunglasses at night and her leather in shades of tan (and more tan...a whole spectrum of delicious tan!). Brands like Max Mara follow suit with tailored shorts or sporty leather (for day-tripping to nearby seaside towns) and brands like Khaite commit—big time—to loose and loungey states of undress that bring to mind the chicest shipwreck vibes in these Jacquemus-playful times. Bottega Veneta’s continued reign of all things sex-and-suggestive-leather is a SS20 trove of vacation fetish-wear: sandals, sandals, more sandals. Shoulder-revealing dresses and silky tops that look like boat sails, and leather in summery shades of 90s baby blue, creamy coffee, and bone-white. Lemaire’s enduring pledge to earthy-slouchy tailoring and belted nonchalance (the sort of coat that’s meant to be tossed on a Thonet chair) only further establishes the brand as refined, selective, nostalgic (their seat-cover bead bags are instantly iconic it-bags for those who loathe the term). Lemaire’s chill austerity is ideal for the vacationer who knows what she wants, but more accurately, knows what she doesn’t. And finalement! As if we’d forget the most important getaway detail: hidden treasure. Nothing says rest like returning with a tan and some gold. Or jewelry that looks like you found it at the bottom of the sea or “stumbled upon it” at the local antique market. Alighieri’s raw metal treasures have that one-of-a-kind sparkle that feels traveled, unique, rare. Jewelry for the journey home. Riches that at first glance look nonpareil.
In his legendary 1998 single “Gimme Some More,” Busta taught us that if you ain’t gon’ be part of the greatest, then you have to be the greatest yourself! He is not only one of the most original lyricists of his time, but his style is just as unique. Along with peers like Missy Elliot, Janet Jackson, Puffy, and Hype Williams, Busta created the 90s, flamboyant futuristic look. Nobody has done it like them since, but their influence is clearly still an enduring source of inspiration for contemporary designers. For SS20, Anne Demeulemeester, GmbH, and Rick Owens all sent shiny, silver, sexy cyborg-esque looks down the runway perfect for a 90s red carpet rap moment or big budget video shoot. This aesthetic is all about lounging the luxe way, draped in uncommon threads and shiny things. Think silk pyjamas and velvet Versace slippers. It’s all fair game, but be warned, requisite confidence is not included.
Brown Paper Bag
You can’t get more minimal than a brown paper bag, and we still can’t get enough of minimalism, apparently. This season, simplicity stalwarts The Row and Lemaire deliver what they do best: eloquent, tailored silhouettes in luxe materials and basic, basic shades. And there’s one thing about fashion that’s forever certain: reliable minimalism will never go out of style. Boredom can be absolutely thrilling.
- Text: SSENSE Editors
- Illustration: Tobin Reid
- Date: January 3, 2020