Hang on to summer a little longer with fashion’s delightful shades and vibrant hues

BEFORE AUTUMN SLOWLY CREEPS IN, LET US ALL SOAK IN THE LAST RAYS OF SUMMER AND REVEL IN THE MOST DELECTABLE OF FASHION’S SHADES. Clothes in joyous hues, soothing colours, and pleasant palettes were all over the spring and summer runways to help wash the approaching doldrums away.

Most fashion designers have backgrounds in architecture, sculpture, or the visual arts, that’s why they regard the clothes they create as artworks. Vera Wang, for her Bridal Spring 2019 collection, drew inspiration from Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer. The 12 tulle-heavy wedding gowns didn’t come in the traditional ivory or white, but in nude hues with subtle hints of unexpected colours such as yellow, crimson, and magenta in the veil, rosettes, hems, and bows.

“I wanted to explore translucency and movement, and obviously colour, but in a new way in order to ignore certain ‘bridal’ dictums, like white, beading, acres of lace, and traditional ball skirts,” Wang told American Vogue, where she used to work as an editor before becoming one of the most successful bridal designers in the world.

Wang collaborated with Rebecca Moses, a fellow designer and also an acclaimed illustrator, who hand-painted the unconventional gowns. “That’s the only way to achieve a luminous, painterly effect — imperfect but nuanced,” said the rule-breaking designer.

For her Bridal Spring 2019 collection, Vera Wang drew inspiration from Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer

Bridal Spring 2019, VERA WANG
Image courtesy of Vera Wang

It was “tied-and-dyed” before the modern term “tie-dye” became widely used in the 1960’s, due in part to the psychedelic tie-dye fad led by rock stars such as Janis Joplin. But tie-dyeing techniques have been recorded in pre- Columbian Peru and have been practiced for centuries in West Africa, South Asia, and Japan. It is a laid-back print usually seen on exotic locales, concert grounds, summer camps, and hippie neighbourhoods.

At Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018, the tie-dye trend was given luxe treatment by Salvatore Ferragamo, MSGM, Marco De Vincenzo, and Stella Jean. On the retail-scape, there’s a tie-dye shirt by Gucci, a pleated skirt by Altuzzara, a midi skirt by Commes des Garcon, and fast-fashion items from TopShop and Zara.

When Ralph Lauren does it, tie-dye seems to be palatable to the international jet-set crowd. At the brand’s Spring 2018 RTW show, model Shena Moulton wore a strapless high-low outfit, among barefoot models who were wearing tie-dye sundresses carrying woven basket bags on an island-vacation mode. That would most likely be Jamaica, where Lauren, the designer, has a retreat house.

Spring 2018 Ready to Wear, RALPH LAUREN
Image courtesy of Ralph Lauren

Pastels are soft, fresh, and soothing. At the London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018 shows, designers such as Victoria Beckham, Emilia Wickstead, J.W. Anderson, and Anya Hindmarch sent dresses down the runway in this soothing palette, in stark contrast to the dark-grey skies of this fashion capital.

Though delicate, pastels can also be used as a pretty powerful statement. In their visually stunning video shot at the Louvre Museum in Paris for their joint single Apeshit, the Carters (Jay-Z and Beyonce) posed in front of the Mona Lisa, becoming a triptych with the world’s most famous painting. The image conveyed that under-represented Black people should be able to see themselves in predominantly white spaces such as a world-renowned museum.

The eye-catching outfits that they wore? Coordinated pastel suits. Queen Bey in a Peter Pilotto piped ensemble with a deep V neck, and Jay-Z in a mint-green double-breasted blazer Dries Van Notten that matched the painting’s climatecontrolled frame enclosure.

Spring-Summer 2018, ANYA HINDMARCH
Image courtesy of Anya Hindmarch

Virgil Abloh, newly minted menswear artistic director at Louis Vuitton, made a splash at his debut presentation in Paris with a rainbow runway during the Pride Month of June. His inclusive, diverse, innovative Spring/Summer 2019 collection, inspired in part by The Wizard of Oz, started with white outfits and progressed into clothes in all colours of the rainbow.

At the Spring 2018 runways a few months prior, multicoloured dresses were also offered by Missoni, Oscar de la Renta, Tory Burch, Peter Pilotto, and Dolce & Gabbana. Givenchy, however, served the season’s most unforgettable rainbow gown. Fresh from the Spring 2018 runway, Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett wore the gown at the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival.

Clare Waight Keller, who later on was revealed to be the bridal designer of Meghan Markle, created a haute-couture piece — a backless knitted silk black top and a hand-painted pleated organza ombré skirt that went from deep purple to pink to red and back to purple.

Fresh from the Spring 2018 runway, Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett wore one of Givenchy’s most unforgettable rainbow gowns at the Cannes Film Festival

Cate Blanchett at Cannes, wearing a Givenchy ombre gown and Chopard jewellery
Image courtesy of Chopard

A prime example of a colour-blocked dress is the one Yves Saint Laurent made in 1965, unmistakably inspired by the Piet Mondrian painting series “Composition in Red, Blue and Yellow” (1930). For Spring 2018, the collections of Mary Katrantzou, Haider Ackermann, Calvin Klein, and Carolina Herrera featured colour blocking.

For Fall 2018 RTW, the Vivienne Tam woman is on a spiritual journey travelling through the Himalayas to Tibet in search for the mandala, or inner peace. The trek may be rigorous but she has to remain glamorous, so the tech-savvy Tam woman strikes a balance with style and functionality in hooded jackets with embedded heat panels, lace skirts in panels, and wide-leg cut corduroys.

A striking piece, among many others rich in colour and texture, is the chunky, oversized knit sweater in burgundy, white, red and orange layered with a jacket in military green.

For Fall 2018 RTW, one of Vivienne Tam’s striking pieces is an oversized knit sweater in burgundy, white, red, and orange layered with a jacket in military green


Fall 2018 Ready to Wear, VIVIENNE TAM
Image courtesy of Vivienne Tam