Our Favorite Trends From Fashion Week Fall 2020

Art by Tilden Bissell.

The wrap of fashion month is usually met with excitement—a giddy anticipation surrounding fall’s upcoming wardrobes and the sartorial stories that will unfold both on the streets and on the page. This year, however, there was a more somber sentiment when marking the end of four long weeks, as the coronavirus spread and fashion landmarks like Milan were forced into lockdown.

This feeling was reflected on the catwalk. At Max Mara, Rick Owens, and Louis Vuitton, models came out armed for battle with parkas that left them enveloped in protective padding, their dresses covered in code. When in need of some sartorial salvation, Balenciaga and Loewe had us dressed for church with their clerical collections. Paco Rabanne quite literally honored Saint Joan of Arc with plates of armor in their signature chainmail. In an attempt to lighten the mood, Celine, Gucci and Marc Jacobs urged us to channel our inner child, with Peter Pan collars and shortened hemlines. Then there were the sequined red sheaths from Bottega Veneta and Valentino, which managed to outshine any looming doom.

When analyzing the season’s most noteworthy trends, we’d be remiss to leave out two of the shows’s biggest stars: hand sanitizer and face masks. Below, find 10 of W’s most talked-about trends of the new decade with a promise that no matter what lies ahead, there will always be fringed sleeves, novelty knits, and mini dresses.


Apocalypse Now

(L-R): Louis Vuitton, Marine Serre, Rick Owens, Max Mara, Coperni. Art by Tilden Bissell.

There were pleas for protection on many of the fall 2020 runways, which, given our current reality, feels like an eerily accurate forecast. At Max Mara and Rick Owens, models were fit to fight off any looming apocalypse with parkas that enveloped them in padding. While at Louis Vuitton and Coperni, the designers took on a more scientific approach to pandemics, with coding modules printed on their dresses and t-shirts.


Sunday Service

(L-R): Balenciaga, Haider Ackermann, Paco Rabanne, Loewe, Gucci. Art by Tilden Bissell.

When Kanye West performed his Sunday Service on the eve of Balenciaga’s clerical collection, the thought was that if the apocalypse is now, then the fashion industry is in need of salvation. Only a few days earlier, Paco Rabanne honored Saint Joan of Arc with plates of armor in their signature chainmail. Later, Loewe had us dressed for Mass with a promise to impress the masses.


Child’s Play

(L-R): Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Molly Goddard, Celine, Gucci. Art by Tilden Bissell.

The mini movement prevailed this fall 2020 season, with abbreviated hemlines at Gucci and Marc Jacobs—an unsurprising take, given their pre-fall 2020 collections. At Celine, Hedi Slimane traded his infamous downtown girl in favor of the schoolgirl, with shrunken coats and minidresses. Meanwhile, Molly Goddard paid homage to the childlike Peter Pan collar. In total, this is one school uniform we would never complain about.


A Thin Line

(L-R): Coperni, Marine Serre, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Michael Kors Collection. Art by Tilden Bissell.

A nuanced take on a classic suit seems to be a given each fashion week. And after a few seasons, when the oversized suit was in favor, this year, we saw a spotlight on the second-skin suit. Bodies were hugged at Bottega Veneta, Marine Serre, and Michael Kors Collection—however, none will be as svelte as this Balenciaga gelled-back number.


Knitwear, Everywhere

(L-R): Y/Project, JW Anderson, Loewe, Marni, Bottega Veneta. Art by Tilden Bissell.

For the creature of comfort, there were cool cardigans, novelty knits, and worn-in wools from Marni, Loewe, and JW Anderson. This wave of new bohemia was embraced by even the coolest of kids: Glenn Martins at Y/Project and of course, the fan favorite, Daniel Lee at Bottega Veneta.


Fringe Theories

(L-R): Bottega Veneta, Prada, Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander, Dior. Art by Tilden Bissell.

The strand quite literally took the stand this season, with fringe embellishments flourishing. There were glamorous, evening interpretations at Dior and Jil Sander and more abstract, edgier takes at Prada and Dries Van Noten. The frazzled and frayed are no longer just for craftspeople.


Grunge Redux

(L-R): Gucci, Dries Van Noten, Burberry, Max Mara, Marine Serre. Art by Tilden Bissell.

The ‘90s are a gilded era for our recent crop of top designers. Where ‘90s minimalism might have reigned supreme last season, this season, we’re getting down and a little dirtier with ‘90s grunge. In London, Riccardo Tisci channeled his inner Kurt Cobain and showcased models clad in plaid. In Paris at Marine Serre, the designer tackled the art of layering with sheets of flannel, a toast to the moody era.


Shiny Things

(L-R): Valentino, Celine, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Y/Project. Art by Tilden Bissell.

It was the time to shine for the sequined sheath. Without dropping glitter bombs, Hedi Slimane and Demna Gvasalia took a stake in eveningwear that still felt sleek and modern. However, nothing could outshine the long-sleeve, turtleneck dresses from Daniel Lee and Pierpaolo Picciolo both in cunning crimson reds.


Rising to the Occasion

(L-R): Celine, Fendi, Valentino, Prada, Givenchy. Art by Tilden Bissell.

Following public adoration of athleisure, a newfound love of dressing up and showing out emerges. There was the matching brocade top and pants at Celine and Prada, a superwoman status cape at Givenchy, a bubblegum pink, dramatic sleeve at Fendi, and a sequin shaw at Valentino. Also, the coincidence that many of the looks walked on industry youngster Kaia Gerber is not lost on us.


Skirt on Me

(L-R): Balenciaga, Miu Miu, Chanel, Michael Kors Collection, Prada. Art by Tilden Bissell.

As previously noted, there’s always a will and a way to upstage a classic, tailored pant suit. For instance, the skirt suit is a posher, more upscale version of the old faithful withs notes of femininity rather than masculinity. This season Miu Miu, Michael Kors Collection, and Balencaiga favored the more feminine feeling. The patron saint of the look? Well of course that’d have to be Chanel, but no surprise there.