After four cities, countless runway shows, and a healthy dose of Kaia Gerber, the fall 2018 runway season has come to a close. And with that, it's time to reflect on the themes and trends that emerged, both within the fashion industry and the cultural stratosphere in general.
In the wake of Time's Up and the Me Too movement, it felt important that the season was particularly strong for women designers, of which there continue to be fewer in number than male designers, with Donatella Versace, Simone Rocha, and Chitose Abe of Sacai all presenting standout collections. The social movement was also apparent in the clothes themselves, as a turn back to the '80s, when the working woman's wardrobe reigned supreme, was prevalent everywhere from Marc Jacobs to Miu Miu, while neon hues at Prada, Molly Goddard, and Sonia Rykiel made a strong statement to stand out.
There was also a trend toward sustainability, as faux fur appeared on nearly every major runway, with Clare Waight Keller's showing at Givenchy one shining example. Meanwhile, newer brands such as Marine Serre and Vetements made the case for up-cycling by incorporating recycled scarves into their eco-conscious designs. Other major houses gave back to international causes in their own way: Gucci pledged $500,000 to the March for Our Lives Gun Control Rally, and Balenciaga partnered with the World Food Programme to support its mission of ending hunger by 2030 by showing WFP-branded pieces on the runway (it will donate 10 percent of all sales from these pieces to the charity).
Of course, there was also plenty of flashy, exciting new fashion to lust over for months to come! Here, a look at the 13 biggest trends from the fall 2018 season.
The most prominent trend of the fall 2018 season is ‘80s-inspired fashion. In New York, the trend kicked off with Tom Ford’s glitzy show and gained steam at Marc Jacobs, where bold shoulders and ‘80s-hued colorblocking were inescapable. By the time Miu Miu offered up acid washed jeans and soft leather jackets in ‘80s silhouettes, it was impossible to ignore that the decade was back in full swing. Iridescent foil fabrics, neon, and glammed-up evening looks also added to the overarching idea of ‘80s excess.
Love it or hate it, this polarizing trend was prominent on the runways in each city—and when Prada champions something, it’s a trend.
Everyone needs a classic leopard coat for fall, like the one Anna Ewers wore on the Michael Kors runway. But why not experiment with other spots and stripes as well? Zebra feels especially covetable again, thanks to brands like Balenciaga.
Fall’s loose threads came party-ready at Carolina Herrera—where the designer of the namesake brand took her final bow—and at Gucci, but took on a more hand-crafted feel at Proenza Schouler.
Many of the looks from this season's collections lend themselves to the idea of protecting oneself from the outside elements. Major outerwear moments, including the parkas at Balenciaga, the puffers at Undercover and Moncler, as well as the layer-upon-layer styling at Prada (and the genius, over-the-top Comme Des Garçons looks), will make you want to bundle up for the next bomb cyclone.
Foils & Plastics
Last season’s see-through PVC has given way to a range of colored plastic, as seen at Balmain, and foil dresses, at Calvin Klein 205W39NYC, and iridescent fabrications at Maison Margiela.
On the runways overall, we’re seeing a return to a more refined and put-together woman. Knits layered over diaphanous or floral printed fabrics, and styled with sneakers or boots, is a look we can get behind.
The Skirt Suit
Tweeds, plaids, and tailoring were again all over the fall runways. The update this season was the selection of charming skirt suits, seen at Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Chanel, giving customers a new way to wear the plaid trend.
The cape is officially the new trench. While last fall everyone coveted a classic trench, this year designers turned from the practical to a more romantic take on outerwear with the cape. The cape-trench hybrid at Givenchy was a winner; the numerous capes at Valentino absolutely dreamy; and (although, technically spring season) the rainbow-hued cape worn by Cara Delevingne at Christopher Bailey’s final Burberry show was an unforgettable moment of the season.
Leather for fall is very much expected, but it was nice to see the material used in suit silhouettes and different colors this season.
After pledging not to use real fur, Gucci and Givenchy lived up to their promise. Acne Studios, Dries Van Noten, and Stella McCartney, all offered up luxurious faux fur options to consumers who are looking for an alternative, as well.
After last fall’s Fair Isle knit sweater obsession, designers have moved on to graphic, colorful knits and chunky knits with cheeky characters emblazoned on the front.
Suede fringe, Western prints, and cowboy-inspired boots were spotted at Chloé, Isabel Marant, and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, pushing a trend that has slowly been gaining speed thanks to Raf Simons at Calvin Klein 205W39NYC.