Fashion & Style

New York Fashion Week FW20 key trends

Chilling out here in Barbados in bikinis and sundresses, most of my wardrobe boxed up in storage back in London, I admit to feeling rather more removed from fashion month than I usually do, when I stay up to tune into live streams of the New York shows. But I’m still very much a fashionista, and I’ve still been checking out the kind of looks that went down the runways.

In New York, the oversized silhouettes and exaggerated shoulders of the spring summer runways were adapted to heavier fabrics for the cooler season. Colours were adapted to darker versions of the previous season’s runways. There was a decidely punk feel, with plenty of leather, lace and plaid. Models flounced down the runways in ruffles, which combined with mixed prints or lace for a gothic romantic vibe.

Oversized silhouettes

Last season the runways were filled with wide, rounded shoulders and voluminous sleeves in structured fabrics. This season the trend is interpreted in knitwear, maxi dresses and outerwear. A plethora of capes and ponchos were sent down the runways of the likes of Michael Kors, Rag & Bone and Carolina Herrera. So if like me you don’t actually own one, this might be the time to find one that suits.

Forest green

The chartreuse that dominated the spring/summer collections gave way to a slightly darker forest-tinged shade for autumn/winter. From maxi dresses at Bibhu Mohapatra, Brandon Maxwell and 3.1 Phillip Lim to suits at Tibi and Carolina Herrera and coats at Coach and Ulla Johnson, green was the colour to be seen.

Chocolate brown

Keeping with the forest palette, there was an abundance of chocolate-y brown, offering a softer alternative to black. Cozy quilting was on display at Bevza. Prabal Gurung and Elie Tahari created unexpectedly seductive looks, while Badgely Mischka glammed it up as usual.

Leather on leather

Over the last few years leather has gradually edged its way into the realms of respectability. No longer the preserve of bikers and a certain kind of woman, leather pieces have evolved from jackets and trousers to skirts and dresses as wardrobe staples. Whereas in previous seasons the leather might be dressed down with cotton tees or knits, this season the leather is worn head to toe. And as Khaite, Coach and Ulla Johnson showed, it’s not necessarily in black.

The next step in the journey to respectability is the switch to using vegan leathers.

Plenty of plaid

If head-to-toe leather isn’t your scene, how about head-to-toe plaid? Suits continue to show up on the runways, and in New York they were often in plaid in a range of colours — from Prabal Gurung to Brock Collection to Zimmerman. Tory Burch offered up a wearable dress and Michael Kors won the game with a poncho coat and matching bag.


Anything that involves purple is personally my favourite trend. This is a rich royal purple, either heavily embellished as in a suit at Josie Natori and a dress at J Mendel, or unadorned like the silky number at Christian Siriano. Zimmerman had a particularly lush take.


Sleek pocketed jumpsuits were seen at Rachel Zoe, Alice + Olivia and Cushie et Ochs, with looser versions at Eudon Choi and Zimmerman — the latter in that gorgeous purple. The streamlined silhouettes were a relief after all the outsized boxiness that has carried into this season, and may be a sign of shapes shifting back to proportion.

Sheer lace

There was a gothic feel to the metres of sheer black lace draped on models at Cynthia Rowley, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs. Baja East had a more wearable take, with lace-clad arms and a peek of collarbone under an otherwise opaque dress.


Ruffles have been around for a while, and it seems we’re not done with them yet. There was romance at J Mendel and Oscar de la Renta, a 70s vibe at Jason Wu and Zimmerman, and a gothic feel at Rodarte. Anna Sui took the ruffles closer to the hem, if the tiers on tiers are a bit much to pull off.

Heavy prints

Print-mixing and bold florals carry over to autumn/winter with the green and brown palette. This season adds a dose of paisley — done in a suit at Nicole Miller and an asymmetric band at Johnathan Simkhai. A maximallist take at Alice + Olivia paired florals with tiers and plenty of colour.

I always like to see which trends are common throughout the fashion cities. Next up, London.

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