Everything old is relatively new again – seen through a new lens or retooled for present-day consumers. Over the past five years, we’ve revisited every major trend of the ‘90s – and continue to do so this season – and dabbled briefly and indirectly with the ‘70s in AW17. The ‘80s seemed to have been holding out on us, but for SS18, many of the decade’s key silhouettes have staged a comeback. You won’t look like Prince or a hair-metal rock star; rather, designers seem entranced by everyday ordinariness – with a dash of dance music tossed in.
The Return of the Corporate Suit
For dressing sharp on the job, the ‘80s were the best and the worst of times. The era of the power suit brought about the “dress for success” concept, but shoulder pads, high-waist trousers, and braces don’t look good on anyone, no matter how much you’ve got in the bank. Yet, AW17 and now SS18 have indirectly revived the power suit, in a disjointed, distorted form that’s less “dress for success” and more “unflatteringly fabulous.”
New Romantic and New Wave Suiting
Many simply dismiss New Romantic fashions as Victorian-meets-pirate couture, and New Wave as its boxier, neon, more androgynous cousin. Yet, in hindsight, both took the stodgy, staid, and frequently formal suit and, through what seemed like boundary-pushing cuts, patterns, and materials, turned it into something fun to wear. Last year,
Bum Bags are Back
Who would’ve thought? Indicating that maybe legwarmers and high hair aren’t far behind, albeit in subdued forms for 2018,
Distressed, Bleached, and Embellished Jeans
The ‘80s are responsible for two overarching denim trends. Designer jeans took what seemed ordinary and slapped a high-end label on it – think Calvin Klein and Jordache. Yet, away from now-banal status symbols, the decade’s later years took distressed denim to the max: rips, tears, fading, and acid wash, not to mention splatter paint, studs, and patches. 2018 has a similar dichotomy. On one hand, designers have championed the “dad jean” – mid-wash, high-waist, tapered, and a natural complement to this year’s “dad shoe.” As its counterpart, distressed denim emerged again last year, after what seemed like a six-year dry spell for jeans. Within a more modern silhouette – forget those tapered legs and high waists – you’ve got a nearly identical assortment: Lots of fading, whiskering, tears, and rips, bleaching, patches, embroidery, and patchwork construction. Essentially, unless you’re beating dowdy vintage style over the head, you’ve got to take today’s trends and deconstruct them with yesterday’s methods.
Everything’s Gone Neon
As with pastels, menswear has a love-hate relationship with neon. Every four or five years or so, some shocking, acid-tinged group of shades returns – remember all that neon yellow back in 2012? – and then promptly fades out, and falls out of favour, in 12 months’ time. We started cycling back here close to a year ago, starting with SS17’s acid house-influenced trend digging up and putting neon green, pink, and orange back in the spotlight. Completing what’s really an assortment of highlighter shades applied to shirts and jackets, SS18 sees yellow – in acid to egg yolk to golden forms – return as one of the season’s must-wear colours.
Shoulder Pads on Jackets