11 Spring 2024 Fashion Trends That Define the Season (2024)

Next summer in Paris athletes will be stretching their limits at the Olympics, but designers are already vying for gold, silver, and bronze with their use of metallics. Evoking a different kind of sportiness was the polo shirt, which is to the spring season what the tank was to resort.

Also typical of the season are florals. Groundbreaking? Well, designers weren’t so much planting gardens as tending roses. These thorny beauties are heavy with symbolism, being associated with the Tudors (Britain does have a new king), the Madonna, Gertrude Stein, and, among many other things, Shakespeare, who spoke of the rose in Romeo and Juliet. Baz Luhrmann’s ever popular version of this tragic love story plays into ’90s nostalgia, and visually seems to relate to all the feathery touches fluttering around as the world moves forward on a wing and a prayer.

Sheer Delights: Diaphanous White Dresses

Looks by Prada, Stella McCartney, and Gabriela Hearst

The white dress, in various levels of transparency, is a key spring 2024 fashion trend, one that manifests designers’ quest for a feeling of lightness. At Prada, where Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons were aiming for “an absolute freedom of the body,” models appeared among curtains of slime in gossamer dresses made of mille-feuille layers of floaty fabric. While the form might be revealed through gossamer materials or draping, the effect is not a sexualization of the body as much as a classical take on it. More like the three Graces in Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera than Victoria’s Secret.

Summer Elegy: Serious Black

Looks by Maison Margiela, Undercover, and Saint Laurent

Lacking wings, people are earthbound. The predominance of black on the runways seemed to acknowledge the human condition while at the same time showing us how the imagination can soar, even in times of sadness.“He feels like he’s stuck in the world, buthewants to release himself,” said an interpreter backstage at Jun Takahashi’s Undercover show, which featured tulle-wrapped suits and luminous dresses that were temporary homes for butterflies. Shrouded looks also appeared at Issey Miyake and at Rick Owens.

Air Con: Open-Work Materials

Looks by Bottega Veneta, Valentino, and Proenza Schouler

Taking functionality beyond cargo pockets, designers created lots of looks that had a cooling effect by virtue of the fact that they were made using openwork materials. These ranged from pom-pom embellished mesh at Bottega Veneta to a fine net at Proenza Schouler, and from artful cut-outs at Valentino to a lattice of shells at Versace.

Edward Scissorhands: Slashes and Shreds

Looks by Fendi, Luar, and Peter Do

Not all holes in clothes were related to ventilation. Spring found designers slashing (see Peter Do and Courregès)—in the manner of Lucio Fontana’sConcetto Spaziale artworks—or shredding it for atimely “come undone” vibe.

Under Cover: Aprons

Looks by Christian Dior, Hermès, and Courrèges

The utility and protection associated with workwear has made its way into the ready-to-wear. While cargo pockets continue to sprout like mushrooms, what felt newest were aprons of all varieties—butcher, bib, waiter, hostess—which showed up at Christian Dior,Hermès, and The Row, for starters. In addition to these pop-overs, be they functional or decorative, some designers borrowed the garment’s simple square neckline and applied it to easy summer outfits.

A Show of Hands: Sculptural Volumes

Looks from Y/Project, Rick Owens, and Louis Vuitton

As the world becomes ever more digital, the materiality of clothes grows in importance. One way to read the sculptural tactility of the spring collections—such as Glenn Martens’swired pieces and Junya Watanabe’s collages—is as a response, or riposte, to the glossy perfection of AI. Showing that “designers matter,” creative directors and their teams sunk their hands into fabric, crushing, twisting, and molding it into wonderful, evocative volumes, some of which evoked the sculptures of John Chamberlain.

A Bit of a Stretch: The Elongated Silhouette

Looks by Alaïa, Duran Lantink, and Loewe

Hems used to make headlines in fashion, but in this age of pantsless dressing the waistline has become as variable as the stock market. Mostly it’s going up. At Loewe and Alexander McQueen the waistband rose to Empire heights for men and women both. This tendency for a Giacometti-like attenuation was also seen at Alaïa, in the form of the must-have high-rise pant. But that’s not the only way the torso was stretched, there were dropped waists aplenty, as well as peplums, and, at Duran Lantink, body stockings that filled in the gap where a bared midriff would be.

Olympic Medals: Metallics

Looks from Rabanne, Ralph Lauren, and Alexander McQueen

Paris will soon be home to the 2024 Olympics where athletes from all around the world will compete. Those who push past their limits will receive medals as coveted as Oscar statuettes. As if in anticipation of the Games, designers dug into the metallic trend, expanding beyond gold and silver to include bronze as spring 2024 fashion trends.

Pop Goes the Collar: The Polo Shirt

Looks from Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood, Miu Miu, and Gucci

This season’s tank is the polo shirt, an icon of preppiness that was revived and given a summer-camp vibe at Miu Miu. It was also remixed by such anti-establishment brands as Y/Project and Vaquera, taking popped collars beyond the fraternity house.

In the Name of the…Roses

Looks from Balmain, Simone Rocha, and Rolf Ekroth

The rose is the reigning monarch of flowers. As beautiful as it is commanding (those thorns are prickly indeed), this flower is as redolent with fragrance as it is symbolism. When Sarah Burton used it at McQueen the reference was to the Tudor rose, a sign of royalty. At Balmain, the nod was to Gertrude “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”Stein, a friend of Pierre Balmain (who was present at andwroteup the couturier’s debut for Vogue in 1945). The flower appeared as a print (see the chintz at Erdem), and was otherwise embellished and appliquéd in a 3D manner on all sorts of garments, but Simone Rocha and Rolf Ekroth took the abstraction out of the equation and used fresh cut blooms instead.

Wings of Desire: Feathery Touches

Looks by JW Anderson, Mains, and Koché

Nineties nostalgia continues undiminished for spring 2024, and was present in garments and on moodboards. Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet—angelic wings and medieval armor—seemed to be a cross-season reference. The message seems to be the same as that voiced by Real Life in 1983: “Send me an angel / Right now.”

11 Spring 2024 Fashion Trends That Define the Season (2024)
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