It's been six days since New York Fashion Week officially kicked off. In that time, we've sat underground at an abandoned subway station, traveled uptown to Harlem's iconic Apollo Theater to watch Zendaya close out her collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger and went to Brooklyn to see Rihanna show up a 42-year-old lingerie giant with her one-year-old label.
The biggest takeaway for Spring 2020? That the season is once again looking to the ceiling-cracking women of the '80s. Many of the decade's biggest trends appeared on the runways: Think exaggerated shoulders, wild highlighter hues, metallics and a ton of taffeta. The theme of Americana kept popping up as well, with designers searching for the core of the American identity.
The eight trends we've spotlighted below are certainly not about blending in, but about standing up and standing out. From the fluorescent denim at Helmut Lang to the voluminous gowns at Christopher John Rogers, the shades and silhouettes of Spring 2020 are uncompromising in their boldness.
Read on to see these trends from New York Fashion Week Spring 2020, and stay tuned for what will come out of the other fashion capitals over the next few weeks.
Black and White Graphic Prints
Black and white graphic prints have the charisma to tip snakeskin and leopard prints off fashion's top spot this spring. From zebra to checker to polka dots, designers punctuated their collections with eye-catching patterns using the most basic color combo. Some, like newcomer Christopher John Rogers, spliced the abstract prints together for double the drama. Others, like Khaite and Sandy Liang, lent some excitement to knits and fleece with a checkerboard pattern.
The Cool White Suit
Spring's power uniform is a cool white suit. Adeam put a nautical spin on the two-piece classic, while Area made it the star of the show by covering it in gold nameplate necklaces. Tory Burch went for a dapper vibe with black contrast lapels, and Hellessy showed a Bianca Jagger-appropriate getup.
Fashion is obsessed with the generation of consumers that missed the '80s — millennials and Gen Z — so why not show them all the sartorial thrills they didn't get to experience first-hand? That is precisely what designers did this season when they offered up a plethora of big-shouldered suits, audacious prints, taffeta ruffles, high volume eveningwear, shirred hourglass party dresses and metallic minis.
There's the suede fringe that trims the back yoke of a moto jacket, and then there's the Fringe with a capital "F" that we saw on the runways in New York. The latter is not so much a playful trim as it is an outfit-making statement. Christian Siriano's sequined fringe is ideal for the red carpet, while Zimmermann's seashell fringe is destined for a beach wedding. Most notable was the recycled fringe found in Gabriela Hearst's collection, which was made from rolled strips of her old prints.
Designers gave us another blinding dose of raver neon. From highlighter hues rendered in minimalist silhouettes to dressed up shades of safety orange, brands like Helmut Lang and Tom Ford delivered beaming head-to-toe creations.
Blue denim, cowboys, cherry pie and rock'n'roll were just a few of the references that designers made to American culture. Some took the exploration of American identity quite literally by printing a city scape of New York on a garment or turning the American flag into a jacket, while Pyer Moss took the opportunity to highlight an unsung American hero, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who is widely considered to be the godmother of rock and roll.
We're used to layering up in the winter, but New York designers want us to layer up for spring. Dresses over pants seem to be the season's most directional silhouette, though some brands went a little crazy and piled it all on.
The satisfyingly flouncy bubble hem is back, only this time around its slashed at the upper thigh and partnered with velvet capri pants and denim Bermuda shorts. Of course, there were ball-worthy gowns that referenced its high-society origins; but even the ground-grazing iterations wouldn't look out of place at a royal gathering.