What a weird year! It feels odd talking about new-season trends, all things considered, but there is going to be a new season and even if you’re not buying, there are other ways to be inspired by newness. Let’s say it’s also a way of looking forward, so a sort of exercise in cautious optimism. Here’s what’s in the air for AW20…
1/ COSY CORE. Everyone I know has suddenly moved to the country so my social feeds are stuffed with lakes, logs and dogs. Aka cottage core, the online subculture that’s taken this summer by storm. For AW20 we’ll see the cosy version – embroidered blankets, itchy sweaters and damask rose-scented candles* in flower-adorned porcelain jars.
2/ POP ART CLASS. A counter trend to all the austerity greys and taupes, a pop of primary colour feels much needed. I’m a big fan of neutrals and red anyway, so of course I loved the Hermès AW20 collection, inspired by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, no less. Not on an Hermès budget? Try the colour block separates at Lacoste*. And for added inspiration, watch the Keith Haring documentary on Iplayer.
3/ MANI FOCUS. Hands have come back into focus, with so much attention on hand washing and sanitising. Classic manis are back on my radar, with a hi-shine toffee apple red always in vogue. How about Gucci’s new lacquers* with their equally delicious retro bottles? Meanwhile, Brown Girl Hands is the IG account to follow, demonstrating the best products for dark skin tones.
4/ PATCH AND REPAIR. This has been bubbling for a while. Initiated by Bode’s applique shirts* and Kapital’s patchwork jackets, and accelerated by Covid, the repair-it-yourself-but-make-it-pretty movement is going mainstream.This Ssone Katha jacket* is lush. If you’re a newbie, Toast’s virtual workshops are a good place to start.
5/ LOOK UP. Alongside hands (see above), eyes are the major beauty focus for now. The most expressive part of the face, I’m wondering if we’ll see a downturn in Botox as we realise just how essential brow movement is for non-verbal communications! Spate has noticed a spike in searches for ‘how to apply clear mascara for brows’, with Maybelline Great Lash – the clear variety – apparently owning this space. (Buy it here*.) Or to get fuller brows, try a regular comb-through with castor oil. Lashes are another focus – I’m into ‘winged mascara’ at the moment. I made that up, but it basically involves extending the wand outwards along the top lashes as you apply (instead of straight upwards) to get a feline effect. I use Dolce & Gabbana Passion Eyes*.
6/ BIG BOYS BLOUSE. The oversized printed silk blouse for men and women is gaining traction. Casablanca, famous for its vibrant, print-heavy menswear is now doing its big boys’ blouses for women, with a capsule Net-a-Porter collection (below). Buy it here*. For men, check out Givenchy, Marni and Dior.
7/ ZERO WASTE FRAGRANCE. Sustainable beauty is nothing new, but we’re seeing progress on the packaging front. Loop, the reusable packaging concept backed by Unilever and Procter & Gamble (who own a major chunk of the beauty market) just hit UK shores, and mass perfume companies are now making a concerted effort to give us recyclable options. Giorgio Armani’s My Way fragrance* launches on September 7th, with a refillable mechanism that allows for 55% reduction in glass use, 64% reduction in plastic use and 32% reduction in cardboard use (based on buying a 50ml bottle and 150ml refill). The glass in both the spray and refill bottle is recyclable, while each part of the spray bottles can be recycled (but you still have to separate them out). Meanwhile, Acqua di Parma’s new Colonia Futura cologne is the first Acqua di Parma cologne to be made from 99% natural ingredients. The uplifting citrus with a herbal lavender and sage heart comes in a sustainably designed bottle, with elements such as a recycled and recyclable plastic cap to replace the classic Bakelite one. Buy it here*.
8/ GAME ON. Is gaming the future of digital customer engagement? Burberry hopes so. It has just opened its new retail concept in Shenzhen (pay wall), a partnership with WeChat owner Tencent, inspired by gaming. Shoppers download and create a profile on a WeChat ‘mini programme’ (an app-in-app) which they can use to unlock special content and rewards in store. The plan is to test out these social currency initiatives in Shenzhen before rolling out in other Chinese cities. While not everyone is venturing into stores just yet, there are ways to engage shoppers online beyond scrolling the ‘new in’ page. Former Net-a-Porter global content director Lucy Yeomans recently launched the Drest app, which lets users dress up their avatar in the latest designer clothes and then shop the look. And Nintendo Switch’s Animal Crossing game has been getting attention for attracting the likes of Ganni and Marc Jacobs to customise its characters’ wardrobes. Finally, Gucci has tapped into the gaming trend via its players. It recruited pro gamers from Fnatic’s League of Legends team to collaborate on and model the new Gucci Dive watch in a bid to attract a new audience. To accompany the watch, a Gucci Dive game will launch in the gaming section of Gucci’s app.
9/ WALKABLE HEELS. Can you even remember walking in heels? It’s strictly flats and mids for me but I need a change from gym shoes. I love Mari Giudicelli’s autumn pumps and ankle boots. The woven Loren Ballerina has a walkable two-inch heel and the Classic Boot will be good for when we can enjoy lunch meetings again. For those converted to flats, the lambskin Mona Loafer is the structured alternative to a ballet pump.
10/ ELEVATED ATHLEISURE. Am I the only person not to succumb to sweats and Adidas slides this summer? Judging by the people of Kensal Rise, it’s a possible yes. I’m slowly coming round to the elevated version though, after clocking Les Tien’s slimline grey marl track pants* at Matches. It’s rare to see an old-school gathered hem these days. Even better, Lacoste’s streamlined retro-style tracksuit inspired by René Lacoste’s wife Simone de la Chaume, a champion golfer. (The runway show was styled by sweats queen herself, Suzanne Koller.) For further inspo, immerse yourself in Alex Eagle Sporting Club’s Instagram feed and feel virtuous from the comfort of your own
11/ BOOKS ETC. On the culture front, I’m mostly looking forward to Steve McQueen’s BBC mini-series, Small Axe, airing in September and covering key historical moments of the Black British experience. Read more here. Art-wise, some brilliant new painters to know: Amoako Boafo (from Ghana, who just collaborated with Dior men for SS21), Cassi Namoda (a Zimbabwe-East Hampton powerhouse in the making) and Aysem Kandrali (an illustrator I recently discovered on Instagram). Colour, identity and style feature prominently in their work. And if you only buy one book this season, make it The Monocle Book of Gentle Living. Perfectly timed to soothe our topsy-turvy lifestyles, pre-order it here.
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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Hermès by Jamie Stoker, Gucci, Hermès, Lacoste, Gucci, Ssone, JW Anderson, Casablanca, Acqua di Parma, Burberry, Mari Giudicelli, Lacoste, Les Tien, Cassi Namoda, Aysem Kandrali
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