The season denim is hardly being seen as a staple; instead it resembles a canvas to be embellished, printed and patched on. While the fabric charted a familiar path with punk trends owing to the ripped and frayed versions, classic jackets, overalls and boyfriend jeans saw a comeback in stiff versions too, simultaneously with lightweight fabric, bringing in a fresh perspective to unexplored silhouette categories. Colours were found oscillating between completely washed out and several tie-dye and blotching techniques in most of the collections. For the sake of disparity, embroidered and patchwork pieces were a sure revisit but surface denim enjoyed an exciting turning point with exquisite innovations following through. The fabric was given a fresh identity as it was rendered a more delicate and ornamental state of being by employing innovative insertions – shearing, adding appliqué, laser cutting, lacing, needle punch destruction and checkerboard weaves.
With rigid silhouettes making an appearance on runway, the season will witness a revival of traditional denim. Qualities of selvage denim have been worked onto boxy garments putting in focus the rich texture of the classic fabric. Basic separates include androgynous versions appropriate for both men and women – square rider jackets, oversized shirts, collarless outerwear, rolled up jeans and stiff overcoats. A hint of femininity is restored in other versions but only in minimal proportions: A-line skirts, column dresses, square crop tops, pencil skirts and straight miniskirts have been injected with a clever dose of minimalism.
Denim’s plunge into the mainstream category has been further served by its lightweight counterparts. So while there is the resurgence of stiff denim, there is a parallel trend which highlights the scope of softer qualities like chambray. Styles that emanate hence evoke a vibe of relaxation – wide-legged trousers, track pants, languid overalls and slouchy shorts. Dresses boast of flounce and pleats, pants have visible folds and skirts manage slithering slits. Similarly, instead of the solid fit, jeans confirm to an easy contour resembling palazzos and sweats instead.
Denim’s ability to find a common ground with art will be flatteringly exploited this season. Although statement techniques – aggressively washed denim and alike – have continually inspired designers to express through their denim ensembles, this season tones down the dyeing effect to suit daywear sensibilities. While denim jeans still rule this category, similar surface techniques have been transferred onto crossover jackets, overall and high waist skirts. Two to three finishes were applied in some cases to resemble acid wash and in others to mirror digital prints creating an optical 3D illusion.
Long ago, grunge and punk enthusiasts were not only separated by attitude and taste, but also their ripped skinny denims and slashed tops. However, the exception to this rule came this season, with some designers ripping on silhouettes which could hardly pass off as rebellious – roomy boyfriend jeans, girly dresses and tunics. Denim can be slit full way through to reveal skin or simply slashed so that the upper layer of the fabric is done without. As opposed to severe slashing on lowers, ripped denim could be charted well through mildly unfinished sleeve hems, tattered waist bands and panels on dresses and jumpsuits or woven threads hanging loose from a basic denim shirt.
Last season witnessed denim gradating towards lighter shades with erratic discolouration on sleeves, hems and collars. The trend has a stronger foothold in collections now as garments have been coloured in lighter shades, in some cases, even stark white, sky and powder blue. Silhouettes played with were endless – skinny jeans, jackets, crop tops, playsuits, short shorts and dresses – hardly any silhouette was missing this trend since the neutral palette mixes effortlessly well with bold colours and pattern. This faded streak of denim compliments the surge of pastel shades which are bound to dominate the coming seasons.