Summer 2020 trends on the runway!

Summer 2020 Trend Report

By Emma Francois

Writer's Note

Writer’s Note: Art has a curious way of flourishing in times of great uncertainty. As this sartorial season proved, designers turned to art – and, yes, fashion is art – for anything from an escape to a creative outlet. The trends that follow are spectacles, meditations, and everything in between.

Whimsy Whites

In a season normally dominated by poppy colors and loud designs, this trend offered a much needed breath of fresh air. A sartorial pause, as it is known, but every bit engaging and worthy of attention.

It was fitting, therefore, that Elie Saab – the design house known for its luxe, indulgent designs and effervescent hues – should articulate the understated beauty of the whimsical white. In fact, the color bookended the label’s spring/summer couture collection: A structured white gown with gold and honey accents kicked off the show, and a dramatic bouquet of white lace and sheer quite literally proved to be a showstopper in the finale.
Taking this trend for a spin, Keira Knightley shone in a Chanel white gown whose frothy neckline and gently puckered shoulder caps were a lesson in ethereal power dressing.

Equally stunning, Chloë Sevigny’s regal Simone Rocha number was playful in its fairy-esque lightness, but elegant in its timeless white monochrome.
This trend effortlessly lends itself to the wonderful world of ballroom dresses. It’s just a matter of preference: do you prefer sequins or embroidery? Delicate ruching or a glamorous statement sleeve? (Or all of the above?)

On the Runway

Mod Moves

Part Queen of Hearts, part burlesque, part Cirque du Soleil… whatever look you fancy, this trend takes all of the fabulous geometry and saturated color palettes of the 1960’s design movement, only coupled with modern engineering and a streamlined sensibility.

Exemplifying this trend, Valentino’s most recent couture collection featured repeating patterns, sophisticated color-blocking, and innovative proportions dominated by angular, sweeping lines. One particularly memorable look consisted of a sparse – yet evocative – tricolor palette and a strewn cape with a suggestive, repeating, elliptical design. On a more subtle and feminine note, one cloudberry design featured polka dots and a repeating leafy print that, depending on your imagination, could be a collection of stars or flowers – or anything pretty on a stained glass window.

Diane Kruger wore a black Christopher Kane shift dress with blue and metallic polka dots that outline the bodice and frame the look. Once again in Christopher Kane, Naomi Harris wears a highlighter pink dress that is a combination of a structural shift dress and a wrap dress. The dress received an edgy makeover with its sexy and sleek black detailing.

We have plenty of ballroom dresses to match the trend! Echo these leading ladies and wow on the dance floor in dance dresses with bold color-blocking, geometric designs, or repeating imagery.

On the Runway

Frock Consciousness

In 1925, after sitting for a Vogue spring photoshoot, Virginia Woolf famously wrote a diary entry about a mysterious concept: “frock consciousness.” Clothes, she wrote, were alive. Designers are no strangers to Woolf’s concept of clothes being “alive.” They know that fabric takes on its own personality. And once it’s constructed into a billowing, romantic silhouette, a dress tells a story. This season, however, the philosophy took root as a trend, leading to energetic designs that looked to be alive. This means flowing trains that sway to the beat of their own drums or bird motifs so realistic they look ready to hop off the fabric.

Allow Givenchy’s haute couture collection to illustrate. For example, in one fitted black suit, white rays bounded off the shoulders like sparks of light or a comet in flight, adding a sense of cosmic energy to the otherwise quiet design – as if the dress had a hidden life, machinery and gears making it think and move. In another gown, ivory feathers flowed freely off the bodice, providing the illusion of flapping wings. And in a lush lavender look, not only did the hue positively radiate, but the layered chiffon evoked a cascading waterfall or folding carnation; while the dress isn’t technically conscious, it seemed, by a trick of the eye, to be acting of its own accord.

Olivia Palermo exuded “frock consciousness” in a blue cape by Burberry that billowed in the wind like a hummingbird mid-flight (the fuzzy feather like texture of the cape didn’t harm the mirage either). And Celine Dion enlivened her street style with a ballooning peony skirt and daisy white turtleneck, both with floral accents that appeared to crawl up the look, from Oscar de la Renta.

On the dance floor, dazzle in dance dresses that “move” by looking for feathery accents, breezy chiffon attachments, sunny colors, and fauna imagery that will match your movements in grace and style.

On the Runway