Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior and Alessandro Michele at Gucci lined up their SS19 visions on Monday in Paris and they couldn’t have been more different with one minimally-minimally-decorated celebration of the feelgood, the female and the fluid and the other a gender-busting display of maximalist excess that continued the successful formula of the past few years.
But despite their differences each in their own way summed up the season’s extremes and the key looks that will help to drive it.
Dressed-down gown – however grand the gown, eveningwear is being given a relaxed edge this season by carefully teaming it with more casual pieces. In this case it’s trainers, but it could equally be a denim or leather jacket or a utility-style belt. Fabric selection counts too with Chiuri’s choice of soft jerseys and simple sheers transforming what could have been much grander when worked in taffeta or satin.
Simple but striking – Chiuri could never be accused of minimalism but in common with a number of designers, this time she delights in offering up looks that are both pared-back and striking. The combination of a simple ballet top with a more extravagant skirt and the season’s must-have headband make it a look that work work for day and evening, formal or more low-key dressing.
The new long dress – floral maxis are making an impact for the season but the newest come with high-low hems and frequently layered (over shirts, tees, vests or even leggings). The key is to keep it relaxed with no hint of formality to make it work for summer holidays, festivals, or statement-making occasionwear.
Toned-down tailoring – a Dior collection is never without a tailored jacket but the new season’s tailoring keeps it comfy. Team it with soft, fluid skirts, relaxed pants, jeans or joggers to ensure it feels contemporary and cool rather than excessively corporate.
The leopard dress – call it the Ganni effect but everybody’s doing leopard and the dress is the trend’s flagship piece. Michele summed up its power by realising that nothing else is needed so he left his trademark embellishment behind.
The sequin explosion – sequins are one of the must-have seasonal details and the higher-profile the better. Here Michele has opted for a Harlequin pattern and teamed the pair of can’t-miss leggings with a granny jacket and print top to weave the high-shine effect into his signature geek-chic style.
The elevated slip dress – the slip continues to enjoy its place in the trend sun, but for the new season, the materials are more luxe than ever and print and pattern play a big part in its appeal. Not every label can run to snakeskin, but expect plenty of slip dress activity that lifts the item out of the ordinary come party season and next spring.
Sports with a twist – it may not be quite what people think of when they say athleisure, but Michele remains heavily influenced by sports and this is continuing to play out in his collections through the track suit, which further underlines the casualisation of the designer sector in recent years. This season he was also influenced by Janis Joplin and Dolly Parton with the latter featured on a track suit top. Expect to see similar styles all over the high street.