Spot the impostor at Chanel’s show. 
Airy tulle layers from Molly Goddard.
Power dressing from Michael Kors.
A throwback to the 1970s from Louis Vuitton.
Volume and movement at Marc Jacobs.
This dress from Roksanda seems to be made from painter’s canvas.
Oscar de la Renta’s crochet dress and matching hat.
Burberry’s wide-sleeved shirt modelled by Gigi Hadid.
Big crochet earrings from Stella McCartney.

Forget figure-hugging clothing. Next year’s trend is loose and baggy, writes Aznim Ruhana Md Yusup.

RUNWAY shows are no strangers to gatecrashers. It’s often political, such as People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) protesting the use of leather and fur, or environmentalists highlighting fashion’s less-than-stellar impact on global resources.

But on the last day of Paris Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2020, an unknown woman suddenly joined the final walk at Chanel. What’s funny is that in her matching tweed suit, security wasn’t able to tell her apart from the others, so in the end she was steered off-stage by Gigi Hadid.

The woman turned out to be French serial prankster Marie Benoliel, also known as Marie S’Infiltre on YouTube and Instagram.

“What I do is an exhaustive satire about our society,” says Benoliel to Elle.com. “I immerse myself in public events or situations... to show how funny some situations and sometimes extreme behaviours are. I am not making fun of people, I am pointing out how silly some people can be when they lack distance and thinking.”

Well, that’s her side of the story. Others will argue that behaving outrageously on social media for the sake of going viral isn’t that deep.

But what about the clothes? 

It was Virginie Viard’s first ready-to-wear presentation at Chanel since Karl Lagerfeld died, but any creative differences are subtle. There were classic tweed outfits and logo print dresses, while silver shorts and billowy skirts gave the collection a more youthful feel.

A BAGGY SET

Speaking of billowy, the trend for baggy, voluminous clothes remains strong this season, particularly in London. Erdem, Simone Rocha and Richard Quinn are revelling in English eccentricities, pulling out loud floral prints, floor-length skirts and dresses made of layers and layers of fabric.

Erdem designer Erdem Moralioglu says he is inspired by the study of botany in 19th Century Britain. This was a time when Victorian explorers and colonisers brought home exotic plants from around the world and then tried to propagate them in their greenhouses.

Another source of inspiration is Tina Modotti, an Italian born in 1896 who grew up to become a silent film actress before leaving Hollywood to live as a photographer and activist in Mexico. Her influence can be seen in the saturated pinks and yellows, as well as Moralioglu’s use of ruffles and embroidery, akin to traditional Mexican dresses.

Molly Goddard and Roksanda are equally voluminous, although both designers keep patterns to a minimum. 

Goddard’s airy tulle layers come in vibrant colours such as yellow, red and lime green, but they appear subtle because of the fabric’s sheerness.

“I have spent the last six months exploring ways of creating volume through pattern cutting and manipulation so that each garment holds its own shape with no hidden support,” says Goddard in her show notes as reported by Reuters.

“The idea of pieces holding their own shape has a directness that has come to inform everything about this show,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Roksanda Ilincic’s collection seems to be inspired by paintings as well as painters. She opened her show with a slate grey overall (there is another version in pink) while several blouses looked like artist smocks.

Some pieces appear to made from painting canvas and rags. A few of these have a graffiti pattern while the rest are random splotches of colour. Despite the wrinkly fabric and draping creases, it all works together with Ilincic’s tailoring to create a feeling of romance and femininity.

But it wasn’t just London designers who were mad about volume and flowers. In New York, Marc Jacobs showed a frilly outfit reminiscent of a hydrangea blossom. There were also tartan suits, giant ruffles and long prairie dresses, showing that even after decades in fashion, Jacobs is never too cycnical to have fun.

ALL PUFFED UP

That said, voluminous dresses aren’t exactly practical for everyday wear, so some designers limit its appearance by only leaving the sleeves large and puffy.

The ones from Tory Burch have a very 1980s feel to them, and it’s no surprise because Burch’s muse for the collection was Diana Spencer, who’d go on to become Princess Diana. Some pieces are obviously a tribute to what she was wearing then but others seem to hint at what she could be wearing now, if she were alive.

The 80s puffy sleeve spirit is also strong at Michael Kors, although the design inspiration appears to be assertive, power-dressing women with sharp blazers riding up the corporate ladder rather than a shy, country aristocrat.

Likewise at Versace, which put puffy sleeves on blazers, blouses, jackets and dresses. But of course everyone’s attention was on Jennifer Lopez, who closed the show in an updated version of the green jungle dress she wore to the Grammy Awards almost 20 years ago.

Louis Vuitton’s cornerstone appears to the 1970s, with its mustardy colour palette, three-piece ensembles and flared trousers. There is a new bag design that looks like a VHS tape (were there VHS tapes in the ‘70s?) and they come with different titles that play on popular film names such as A Trunk to the Future.

But some designers manage to pull off the puffy sleeve trend without looking retro. Burberry made it look sleek and contemporary while Valentino showed oversized sleeves in a series of white outfits, before moving on to neon shades of pink and green.

Meanwhile, designer Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen opened her show with a puff-sleeved ivory linen dress, which according to The Guardian was, “moon-bleached rather than sun-bleached, a traditional Irish method of reaching a silver-white rather than a yellow-white finish.”

Burton’s foray into traditional fabric-making practices is one example of the fashion industry consciously looking at artisanal techniques and using them in contemporary clothing. And while crochet may not be as rare (or difficult) as moon-bleaching linen, it still has the feel of something unique and handmade. It’s also one of the trends for Spring/Summer 2020.

It was seen at Kate Spade New York as ankle-length pinafores, as elegant dresses at Oscar de la Renta and a floral maxi skirt at Christian Dior. Stella McCartney has crochet dresses, as well as large crochet earrings.

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Photos by Reuters and AFP.

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