This week, a look at the TikTok effect on fashion trends and the debut of Sabato De Sarno for Gucci.
We’re not doing athleisure anymore. On that note, sneakers are over, too. Nineties vibes have been replaced by ‘70s-era trends, hotpants are the new miniskirt, and waistlines are now low. Spring 2024’s version of Spring 2023’s plain white tank is the bra-as-top. And the loose, easy silhouettes that defined the modern-day Roaring ‘20s look are out the door, now that everything, even handbags, is belted.
Designers introducing fresh ideas is the whole point of a new collection. But, compared to seasons past, the looks rolling out on runways this week have read like a more aggressive leap into new territory. Take the mass abandonment of sportif at a time when more than one-third of American workers are still working from home.
It’s been widely reported that TikTok is accelerating the trend cycle. But, in step, consumers are pulling back on discretionary spending. As brands continue to propose “it” items and shift proportions, signaling the need for a wardrobe overhaul (at least) every six months, the gap between what flies in fashion and what’s in our closets is at risk of becoming wider. Then again, for many shoppers, resale companies and (gasp!) fast-fashion brands will continue to provide sufficient connectivity, in the same way they have for years. (It helps that fashion’s looks of the moment rarely fail to be retro or DIY-able, to some extent.)
This week, as fashion’s focus transitioned from London to Milan, several shared ideas among designers became apparent. In terms of silhouettes, there were short shorts with long jackets (at Max Mara and Tom Ford), long blouses unbuttoned to reveal a pair of trousers (Fendi, Alberta Ferretti), fitted suits with low-rise flares (Roberto Cavalli, Tom Ford) and slim-fit skirting providing peek-a-boo glimpses of boyish briefs (Prada, Tom Ford). Rather than leap quite so far, it seemed some designers aimed to dance the line between casualwear and tailoring. Fendi’s Kim Jones, for example, favored fabric details that mimicked a hoodie tied around the body. However, designers nearly unanimously traded out trainers for kitten heels and loafers.
Somewhat surprisingly, one of the easiest collections on the palate was the first run of Sabato De Sarno for Gucci, which debuted on Friday. The presence of currently popular styles including tank tops, track jackets, sneakers and ’90s staples — think: satin slip dresses and baggy jeans — worked to balance out the ultra-newness of extreme hem lengths, for example. De Sarno’s notes on the collection, posted to Gucci’s Instagram as the live-streamed runway show commenced, make references to the wearability of the pieces. Peppered throughout are words and phrases including “real life,” “simplicity,” “feeling at home” and “everyday life.”
Of course, De Sarno isn’t the only newly appointed creative director revealing their direction for their respective brand this Fashion Month. And that, in itself, opens the door for great change. The last designer’s vision, as it stood, wasn’t working, after all. For his part, Tom Ford’s Peter Hawkings took a fairly sharp turn by bringing back signature styles from Ford’s design heyday 25 years ago.
But several designers this season have stressed the importance of creating clothes that complement and supplement customers’ existing wardrobes. They’ve included Tibi’s Amy Smilovic, as reported last week. And, during New York Fashion Week, Another Tomorrow’s Liz Giardina spoke with Glossy about her desire to create “timeless,” “long-lasting” clothes, whether designing for the brand’s seasonal collections or its evergreen “Foundation” line. She stressed that her job is to provide women “calm in the chaos” of fashion, as there’s “so much information being thrown at us all the time.”
The common frustration with fashion’s chaotic trend cycle was noted in this week’s “Women’s Fall Fashion” episode of the Retail Therapy Podcast. As explained by guest host Laura McGarity, skinny jeans fell out of fashion in favor of baggy styles, which also necessitated an investment in fitted tops to pair with them. “It was a full wardrobe overhaul that I’m still working through,” she said.
Indeed, even fashion fans are pinching their pennies when it comes to fashion purchases. For example, resale platform Fashionphile’s Ultra-Luxury Resale Report, released Wednesday, shows that 60% of its shoppers have purchased at least one discounted item in the past year.
But all that said, much of the fashion world is champing at the bit to see Phoebe Philo’s first collection under her new namesake label, expected to drop any day now. And, frustrations with change aside, wherever Philo leads many people will no doubt follow.