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 – and if you’re ready to tackle shopping for the major trends for Spring 2019, click here.
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.
Fall 2018 Fashion: See the Best Runway Looks from Calvin Klein, Chanel, And More
Proenza Schouler did not show in New York this season, yet much of the pieces from the brand’s collection felt more connected with Americana than in seasons past, with their hand-crafted details and earthy hues.
The Mulleavy sisters asked their close friends and collaborators to step in for the models who usually wear their new collections. Kirsten Dunst, who is pregnant with her first child, was just one of the A-listers involved.
The most Instagrammed moment of Fashion Week may have been at Tom Ford’s women’s show (the designer presented his men’s collection days earlier), when Kaia Gerber walked the runway wearing a minidress, oversized earrings, and a headband.
For his eponymous collection, designer Jason Wu added bits of crystals and shine to many of his looks, including this dress and an overcoat worn by Bella Hadid.
Brock Collection’s romantic fall collection was filled with floral brocades, lace, and undone bows–all topped off by a new jewelry collaboration with Marie-Hélène de Taillac.
The design duo behind Eckhaus Latta stayed true to their artsy, individualistic roots, but also showed a more elevated vision this season. Highlights from their show, which was held in Bushwick, include sculptural outerwear and luxe knits.
Who can wear a ballgown and a hoodie? Any client of Brandon Maxwell’s, that’s who. Gigi Hadid did just that at the designer’s show, which also included lovely pieces that ranged from knitwear to eveningwear.
Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia, the designers behind Monse and Oscar de la Renta, created a short film in lieu of a show this season. The film featured the easy, wearable clothes the brand has become known for, and starred model Erin Wasson and included a voiceover from none other than Nicki Minaj.
In addition to their perfect coats and suits, designers Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen offered up more fluid pieces like this cream look.
This cobalt blue coat was a highlight from Jason Wu’s last collection for Boss.
Many show-goers fell in love with this Oscar de la Renta look as it came down the runway, with the full skirt billowing softly behind.
To celebrate Bottega Veneta’s new store in New York City, designer Tomas Maier presented the Italian brand’s fall collection downtown instead of sticking to his usual Milan time slot. For the occasion, he transformed a huge cavernous space into a mid-century modern home filled with models, as well as international It girls and editors.
Michael Kors’s fall collection included plaids, leopard spots, and a great mashed up feel-good soundtrack, that left Blake Lively and Zendaya signing along in the front row.
Colorful marble prints that were present in everything at Rosie Assoulin’s fall presentation, from this silk dress to the cake that the designer served the guests who came to see her collection.
Earlier this month, Carolina Herrera announced that this season would be her last runway collection for the brand, and that she is officially handing over the creative director reins to Wes Gordon. Naturally, she closed the show with her signature look.
Gabriela Hearst won extra points from the show-goers for presenting a charming fall collection during lunch at Cafe Alto Paradiso in SoHo.
For fall, the designer presented a twisted preppy collection, including a unisex bright pink sweater set created specifically with the downtown crowd in mind.
While most of the Instagrams from Raf Simons’s Fall 2018 show for Calvin Klein focused on the popcorn that covered the ground, there was plenty to look at when it came to the fashion, as well, such as this graphic, hand crafted-feeling look.
Brooks Brothers is celebrating their 200th Anniversary this year by recreating archive pieces that feel just as relevant today as they did way back when, like this red riding jacket.
Marc Jacobs closed out New York Fashion Week with a drama-filled collection–and equally dramatic hairstyles.
One of London’s brightest talents, JW Anderson presented another standout show, where utility belts quickly emerged as a must-have accessory.
The ultimate ’80s prom dress got a cool, yet still quirky update for 2018 at Molly Goddard.
Erdem thrives in florals—and there were plenty at his stunning Fall 2018 show—but it was an embellished emerald green velvet dress that truly stole the show.
A nude dress with the word “sex” emblazoned across the front may not be the most subtle choice, but it certainly is a standout one.
The designer presented an entirely wearable collection without loosing any of her romanticism, as seen in this sky blue leather trench.
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi London Womenswear Fall Winter 2018-2019 London February 2018
A windbreaker mixed with a tailcoat shouldn’t work, and yet Marques’Almeidra made it look impossibly cool.
For his final show at Burberry, designer Christopher Bailey played homage to classic house codes, such as the iconic plaid, mixed with romantic slip dresses and full skirts
A silk smoking set in mustard yellow is the perfect, unexpected option for your next night out.
The Halpern girl is not one to shy away from drama, and this sequined tube dress and matching boots is perfect for a night on the town.