The Spring/Summer 24 collections on the runways of Paris, Milan and London between September and October 2023 included a number of dramatic looks whilst still managing to elevate some of the classic favourites. From classic work attire to preppy casual wear, these collections covered a wide array of different looks. It would be impossible to cover the variety of looks comprehensively, this brief article will provide a snapshot of some of the standout looks that seek elevate the modern basics. The overall trend of the spring and summer collections is the elevation of modern classics and as we are living in a very volatile and uncertain time, and an effort by fashion houses to revisit existing trends and historical precedent may serve to ease an anxious populous and allow for reflection.
The Saint Laurent collection for SS24 introduced traditional menswear standards into their designs, with them being with them being scarce in their minimalism. In Paris, Saint Laurent presented an elegant twist on the boiler suit. The utilitarian, military style jumpsuit was paired with bold, gold jewellery, a belt that cinches the waist, flatteringly and finished off with black patent boots. My overall verdict: a chic and elegant twist on a classic, elevated from a simple jumpsuit by the addition of bold and chunky jewellery and some stylish boots.
The Bottega Veneta collection centred on the theme of travel, real and imagined, a rich odyssey, in which the designer let his imagination run wild with the idea of journeys around the world. With this collection, Blazy explored the idea of archetypes, showing a holiday-goer, a corporate commuter and a ‘castaway’. Blazy is quoted as saying, ‘A connection to who you once were, who you would like to be and where you want to go. The odyssey is both external and internal, physical and through the imagination. It is a journey of transformation and escape.’ One outfit that got everyone talking was the Black trench. The whole Bottega Veneta collection is extremely wearable, and this look was said to be the perfect on-the-go work outfit, pairing perfectly tailored trousers with a shirt finished off with the statement trench coat. Trench coats are a staple in all wardrobes and are the perfect versatile option that can elevate any outfit. Linking back to the concept of travel, this alludes to the 1940s glamour of travel, but the trench coat is also a long-time staple. The trench coat is the perfect, versatile option for travel in its comfort and sturdiness providing a sort of ‘suit of armour’.
Turning to Vivienne Westwood, the line takes inspiration from Shakespearean England. They make use of floral fabrics on denim co-ord sets and cotton suiting which are then embellished with sharp design details. Kronthaler (Westwood’s widower, who designed this collection) emphasises the idea of wearable street fashion and plays with the notion of gender at the same time, resulting in a new take on past styles. This collection was filmed and photographed in one of Westwood’s favourite places, the Globe Theatre which just intensifies the connection to Elizabethan England. To prioritise the significance of the past, fabrics that would have been available in the sixteenth century are used, such as vivid tapestries and frayed fabrics to link back to the past. This collection proves to be a very playful take on classics providing a different take on influences from past fashions.
Another highly anticipated collection was Celine’s SS24 collection titled, ‘Tomboy’. This collection was filmed in the world renowned Bibliotheque National in Paris, taking inspiration from androgyny and Y2K principles. As mentioned, the looks were focused on items that younger generations enjoy wearing, featuring miniskirts, tracksuits and Ugg-like slippers, items we ourselves might wear. This collection took aesthetic influences from 2000s nostalgia, particularly schoolgirl looks and blokecore comfort, these influences were bought together to represent youth fashion in a microcosm. Early looks of the collection were relatable and simple, before morphing into (under the soundtrack of ‘Much Love’) a party collection, full of maximalist 2000s-style looks. Returning to the more androgynous looks of the collection, oversized bomber jackets were paired with bulky biker boots and then the final look was a single-breasted black suit which was a look that effectively encompassed the theme of the collection. The image below, epitomises the aim of this collection, combining the goal of comfort with the idea of looking stylish and trendy whilst feeling comfortable.
This article could not possibly cover all the innovative and breath-taking looks included in SS24, however, I’ve tried to show some key highlights seeking to elevate fashion classics. A key theme coming to the fore is the importance of aesthetic relatability – in this volatile time, it seems the conscious connections to existing and historical trends are being made to provide a sense of solidity and purpose to this year’s spring and summer collections Many of these collections will continue to be studied and analysed for a long time to come and may even be referenced in future collections.
Images are taken from the SS24 Saint Laurent runway, Bottega Veneta SS24 runway, Vivienne Westwood SS24 collection photographed by Paolo Colaiocco and SS24 Celine, ‘Tomboy’ collection.