fashion trends S/S 2009

A revelatory thing happened when reviewing the S/S '09 collections. As each fashion collection left the runway, the photographs taken seemed to make a giant jigsaw puzzle, with each of the fashion houses contributing to a season with both biblical and historical connotations.

It is as though S/S '09 delivered a commentary on mankind without knowing it. Fashion has always referenced the most significant civilisations and their dress sense like the Grecians, Romans, Africans, Chinese or Egyptians, however this season, it is all the more evident. As the future looks uncertain (due to the economic downturn), the past provided a nostalgic point of inspiration for most of the designers.

Starting with the book of Genesis and the creation of the universe, Peter Pilotto's prints had a cosmic appearance; charting the constellations of the stars through to the emergence of the first blades of grass right here on earth. The dress in question, made from silk-satin (the perfect canvass for this awesome print), bore a simple silhouette with accentuated hips, as though to pay homage to mother earth and her child bearing capabilities. And, he wasn't the only one. Alexander McQueen's printed dress replicated the spectrum of a prism, with its stark lines portraying the hardness of the most brilliant of rare gems, to be found buried in the earth. The designer's dresses, their silhouette and the patterned fabric used to create them, marked the evolution of the dress shape and pattern print design, to new heights.

From this emerged woman in the form of the most beautiful palettes of nude. Colours like coffee, pale pink, peaches and cream, served their purpose of reinforcing the importance of trend defining silhouettes.

Scallops on jackets and skirts at Chloé and the fluidity of billowing soft tailoring at Stella McCartney, did their duty of feminising pieces.

Sheer pieces partially exposing flesh or not, proposed a juxtaposition of modesty and sensuality. The designers playfulness at hiding just the right amount of flesh on demure dresses, blouses and skirts, left something to the imagination. This playfulness was teasingly shown best at Modernist who's creativity saw oversized corsages and decorative bibs camouflage breasts.

From this spawn characteristic African prints like leopard, tiger, zebra and oversized floral & tribal prints to safari separates. Roberto Cavalli (Just Cavalli), Junya Watanabe and Duro Olowu; provided the inspired prints, some of which were taken out of their natural black, white and beige schemes, and transported to distinct lime greens, red, pink and yellow combinations for a fresh take.

and Ralph Lauren navigated a machete path through the overgrowth of the patterns mentioned, through a selection of traditional safari: shirts, dresses, suede jackets, tapered trousers (to keep the bugs out) and other separates in colours that blended with the sand and jungle foliage. Once through to the clearing, Louis Vuitton fringed skirts (in bright orange) teamed with strong shouldered jackets worn over sheer tops and statement necklaces, took aspects of the indigenous people's ritual or ceremonial dress, and brought them bang up to date.

Saturated in symbolism, that drew both on the strength of animals and the enduring spirit of man, the collections were a perfect anecdote to these troubled times. Even the exaggerated proportions on jackets, blouses and dress shoulders (made to look futuristic, masculine or Victoriana), somehow conveyed the message at: Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy or Balmain (to name a few) that they were providing the support needed to handle the extra burden (or weight) now placed on them.

Taking a caravan up through African (wearing harem trousers and all-in-one suits a key trend present in most collections), many designers flashed their brilliance at referencing past civilisations. Recounting the resilience of these people, designers like Basso & Brooke used the dress discipline of Far East Geisha's, by cinching pretty silk bamboo dresses with reworked obi belts, to yield something so new and altogether beautiful.

Rich gold metallics in evening dresses by Sophia Kokosalaki, Versace, Donna Karen and Dolce & Gabbana; emulated the type of dress worn by queens and dignitaries from varying historical reference points (e.g Egyptians and Greeks), showing off their gilt armoured splendour.

If the present S/S '09 trends reworked the past in order to recollect its glory, then the future was envisaged through the use of strong contoured shapes, the clash of bright colours and beautiful printed fabrics.

Through them, they insightfully reminded us of the technological advancements (in fabric compositions and manufacturing techniques), that has heralded this bountiful creativity and the design feats to come.

Spring Summer 2009 Trends included Fringe Skirts at Louis Vuitton and Ashish, Leopard Print at Temperley London, Tropical Prints at Stella McCartney, Strong Shoulder Jackets at Aminaka Wilmont, Metallic Gold Evening Dresses at Bernard Chandran, Transparent Blouses at Modernist, White See Through Dresses at Avsh Alom Gur, Cosmic Print's at Celine, Basso & Brooke had Oriental Prints so too at Jaeger



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