Pre-fall 2016 trend: Denim wars, pick your side

decorated denim board

Alice & Olivia (left and top right), all others Gucci

We’ve had several seasons now in which runway designers have embraced denim and pre-fall 16 is no different. Well actually, it’s different in one key respect.

Instead of denim looks covering the full range of options, this time they’ve polarised into two extremes. In one corner we have the ultra decorative, in the other something altogether softer and simpler – almost humble (if £150-plus denim can ever be called humble, of course). 

Channelling the on-going decorative trend (check out some of pre-season’s leather clothing and accessories), the ultra-embellished look can have a folksy-craft edge or be ultra-luxe. This is all about beading and embroidery, not the gem studding of seasons gone by, and favourite motifs are florals or exotic animals (done superbly at Gucci).

What’s interesting is that silhouette takes a back seat to these designs. We’re seeing the decoration coming through  on many different shapes and key items from retro button-through A-line minis, to pencil skirts, vintage-look flares, straight cropped jeans and boyfriend cuts.

Softly, softly

Soft denimboard

Karen Walker, See by Chloe, Karen Walker x 2, Victoria by Victoria Beckham, Rag & Bone, Raquel Allegra x 2, Victoria by Victoria Beckham

Now for something completely different. At the other extreme, cuts are ultra-simple and largely devoid of decoration with a softness that’s not always to be found in the denim sector.

Detail is more subtle than we’ve been used to in recent seasons – think softly contrasting patches, elasticated waistbands or necklines, drawstrings, gently bloused sleeves or harem pant shapes, soft raw edges and a general move away from hard, heavyweight denims. This softness is also being seen in the large number of sweat- or tee-style tops and dresses.

It really does look like this is the year when you have to line up behind one trend or the other because these two really don’t mix!

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