From floating Bohemian gowns to little black dresses, from vintage jackets to sports anoraks, from tiny clutches to oversized backpacks, women's spring/summer 2017 ready-to-wear borrows much of the recent seasons' trends only to slash, mix and re-match them
By: Dimitria Vitanova
Posted on: October 24, 2016
Spring has always carried the promise of a fresh start. Having contended the very precepts of the high fashion industry, many designers seem to have seized spring/summer 2017 as a chance to take the past’s worth and step into the future. This season is as much about the clothes on the runway as it is a litmus test for long-germinating ideas. Embracing the see-now/buy-now approach, Moschino staged a catwalk presentation that featured a capsule collection immediately available at designated stores. This fall also sounded the starting pistol for some newly appointed creative directors, among whom are Anthony Vaccarello of Saint Laurent and Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior.
Yet, many aspects remained unchanged. What were last season’s emerging trends are now wardrobe basics. With seemingly no intention to reverse the current smooth course, Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana recycled their opulent, busy, tried-and-tested – but most of all, highly profitable – aesthetics. The influence of the deconstructivist collective, Vetements, creeped in more than a single show – and was palpable in Jil Sander’s, Balenciaga’s and Marni’s elongated, cut and layered looks. Bottega Veneta ferreted its archives to produce a leather-heavy collection in celebration of its 50th anniversary as well as of creative director Tomas Maier’s 15 years at the helm.
Resultant of all that flurry is a spring/summer season that leans on hedonism and extravagance and yet bows to classicism. A creative explosion of bold designs and silhouettes engulfs ordinary garments like dresses and jackets. At the end, the hot months of 2017 will not fete invention as much as they will extol reinterpretation.
Dress with Personality
Nothing captures the frivolity of summer better than a dress. In 2017, frocks will not only be the ubiquitous go-to garment but will also reveal a personality of their own. A slew of designers have reinvented this wardrobe staple to evoke sensitivities so diverse that they could match any fashionista’s mood. From Missoni’s knitted metallic aesthetics – as slimming the body as much as exposing it – to Alexander Wang’s elongated tube silhouettes to Salvatore Ferragomo’s business-ready conservatism, the slate of dresses on the catwalk has seldom dazzled with such intensity. Versace’s nylon, drawstring creations, Saint Laurent’s little black dresses, Elie Saab’s wild disco styles, Dolce & Gabbana’s cocktail dresses infused with Italian iconography, Antonio Marras’ floating patchworks of bohemian garb, Mochino paper doll-inspired cut-outs expand the creative takes – bold, sensual and chic – on this all-time summer favorite. Nothing could, however, beat Rick Owens’ otherworldly studies of tulle that drape and twist around the body.
Spring/summer 2017 will elevate abundance – in fabrics, cuts and themes. This creative bash is nowhere better imprinted than in the jackets that finished almost every other look on the runway. Having skyrocketed in just a couple of seasons, the creative clout of Vetements rubbed on more than a sole collection. While Balenciaga, reigned by the Parisian collective’s Demna Gvasalia, cut its jackets in short, sturdy shapes, Jil Sanders presented stripped-down suit tops in Vetements-like elongated designs. Others cast aside the dictum of the day, dusting off their own winning musings of previous presentations. Bottega Veneta turned to its past with crocodile-leather jackets. Fealty to its tamed style, Salvatore Ferragamo’s plain glum-colored boleros heavily contrast with Dolce and Gabbana’s opulently decorated matador renditions, the extravagance of which is only matched by Gucci’s and Marc Jacobs’ over-the-top retro jackets. Roberto Cavalli opted for sleeker and simpler vintage looks, while Fendi animated its jackets –equipped with pouch pockets – with peplum swankiness.
Sheer is in. In fact, for several seasons now, it has not been out. Continuing the revered look, myriad designers resorted to skin-exposing fabrics to achieve both sophistication and seduction, to reveal and to hide. While Bottega Veneta tucked see-through tops under hefty leather outerwear, Fendi let its tulle, puff-sleeve blouses command the gaze. Quite modestly, Antonio Marras wielded sheer as a weld for its patched denim attire, and Emilio Pucci wrapped layers of bright chiffon in spaghetti-like dresses, softening their diaphanousness. While some sought a balance between propriety and audacity in clothes, Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Balmain and Marcs Jacobs whole-heartedly embraced head-to-toe sheer – not shying an inch from their trendsetter reputation.
Spring/Summer 2017 explodes in a rainbow of bold hues and unlikely color combinations. Missoni and Emilio Pucci stood out. While the latter’s creations are so dauntingly monochromatic – from duck yellow to chilly red to acid green – that they spur an almost psychedelic giddiness, the former constructed (or rather, deconstructed) clothes in intricate, soothing blocks of shades – from white to taupe to turquoise to navy. Versace also employed color scheming for its motocross trousers and Balmain slapped snake prints on flashy hues. Labels like Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci and Marc Jacobs turned to seemingly haphazard stripes and prints – floral, animalistic, iconographic and abstract – to give their ensembles a rebellious feel. Even Alexander Wang broke with the house’s signature all-black looks to create a beach-ready, skin-revealing collection.
Bag it up
Adhering to the season’s focus on artistic multitudes, bags flare in all shapes, colors and sizes. Large and tiny, eccentric and classic, purses meld into the ensembles – carrying on the style – rather than simply accessorize them. To complete its disjoint, layered looks, Fendi added small pastel bags, glammed up with broad straps, emulating either guitar necks or flower wreaths. Clipped to the bags, the ubiquitous Fendi charm now came in the form of a fuzzy doll with metal string legs and furry boots. Apart from the giant bum pouches that double as belts, Marni further stretched its oversized looks with edgy voluminous handbags – much reminiscent of briefcases.
While Gucci stuffed its motley sensitivity in glitzy leather purses, Versace – much in a cleave with its racy femininity of yester shows – chose slouchy backpacks to suit its sportswear-inspired collection. Maison Margiela presented stout, leather bags with expansive sashes that unwittingly evoke Western cowboy raggedness, whereas Balenciaga – with its leitmotif of oversized proportions – offered round purses so large they could easily double as mini bean bags. Commemorating creative director Tomas Maier’ 15th anniversary with the label, Bottega Veneta resurrected 15 iconic bags, including the intrecciato clutch that made an appearance in the picture American Gigolo.
Flatforms: the flat heights
The stiletto has tumbled off its throne of a summer essential. The flatform has ascended, its low-high nature easily molded to fit both classy and sporty outfits. Gucci’s flatforms comprise ballet shoes stitched to ornately embroidered bases of several inches, while Versace’s creations remind of teva sandals on a lofty rubber platform. Dolce and Gabbana painted the soles of its flatforms with masterfully detailed miniatures, whereas Salvatore Ferragomo heaped several earthy-colored, straw-like layers and topped them with meshed straps. Not letting go of the pumps, however, Marc Jacobs and Maison Margiela combined broad stout heels with equally burly front plinths.