The SS24 trend report: it’s all about strength & vulnerability

The SS24 trend report: it’s all about strength & vulnerability

by Eric Brain
9 min

Trends come and go, but sometimes these trends do more than just dictate what we wear – they comment on the state of the world. Trends have the ability to move us, get us in our feels, and make us think. What do tulle, layering, protection, transparency, movement, romance, and underwear all have in common? These are the core trends of Spring/Summer 2024. 

But beyond being spotted within multiple runway collections, components like those listed above share the same sensibility: they make you feel strong and empowered, which is the overarching trend of the season. 

SS24 is about feeling yourself, not being afraid to lay it all bare for the world to see, and in doing so, also wearing clothes like a suit of armour. Clothes help us to create the character we want to be; SS24’s strength thus protects us from the harm in the world today. 

These aren’t just trends that will come and go. These are the SS24 trends that could change fashion, and your wardrobe, for the seasons to come. Here are Culted’s favourites. 

Totally Tulle
Maison Margiela©

We wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a worldwide shortage of tulle next year when these collections start going into production. Tulle was everywhere this season, but UNDERCOVER takes the cake, using the fabric on almost every look. We saw tulle-panelled suits and dresses, as well as being overlaid on hoodies and blazers, giving an interesting take on layering that alters the look of the main piece.

UNDERCOVER also used tulle in a novel way for its final three pieces – tulle covered balloon skirts which, when the lights were dimmed, revealed lighting placed inside the caged piece filled with floral embellishments and live butterflies.

Maison Margiela used tulle similarly, placing it over handbags, while over at Noir Kei Ninomiya, tulle was not only used to make up poofy skirts but also used in the form of flowers to craft sculptural pieces when put together. This season saw tulle being used not as a tool for transparency but as a way of layering, which takes us right onto one of our next trends.

To be Completely Transparent
Issey Miyake SS24 Paris Fashion Week
Issey Miyake©

Transparency came in many forms this season – seen as a references to Ann Demeulemeester’s play on gender and new definition of sexy through the lens of new Creative Director Stefano Gallici, or at Issey Miyake as a way to cover but not completely hide the body on a series of head-wrapped dresses.

While Issey Miyake and Ann Demeulemeester’s use of transparency felt a comment on identity, over at Susan Fang, models’ bodies laid practically bare in an innocent and demure way. Inspired by childhood drawings, the London-based designer took us back to a time where the female body isn’t the politicised subject of debate, and when swimming topless in the sea or pool wasn’t an illegal act of rebellion.

However this trend was portrayed, the industry needs to take note of this trend because transparency is what we’ve been asking for – and we’re not just talking about clothes. 

Shielding From the Outside World
Rick Owens©

In contrast to transparency, many designers also shielded themselves from the outside world. It follows on from the ideologies explored with layering, tulle, and transparency, by collating all of the above in such abundance, it was protective. 

This theme was found at Junya Watanabe, which used light and soft materials like neoprene in a sharp, dark manner. It was spiky – it said, “don’t you dare come near me.” Rick Owens was another who used lightness as a means for shielding, contrasting the very ethos of mesh and transparent materials to create Lord of Darkness-approved suits of armour. 

For example, face veils covered the head before falling into sharp, pointed shoulders, which later transformed onto jackets that featured shoulders that shielded the wearer entirely.

What does it all mean? While we’re keen to be as open, revealing, and honest as possible through the use of the above themes, there’s still a lot to be afraid of in this big wide world. So if you’re going to find the middle ground, it’s shielding yourself from the darkness by using light, breathable, open fabrics. 

Layers on Layers on Layers

Layers for SS24? That’s right. You can find it at Balenciaga with Demna’s seven-tier upcycled wedding dress, at Chopova Lowena with its bonnets stacked atop dainty tailored formalities, and most notably at Jil Sander, where Luke and Lucie Meier provided a masterclass in summer layers. 

Here, Adwoa Aboah took to the runway wearing a white dress with ruched details, layered with a poncho across the shoulders and contrasted with black leather boots. Other models used stacked jewellery to add dimensional contrast to otherwise slim-fitting outfits. 

MM6 Maison Margiela layered open-chested shirts with deep-v-neck tops beneath, tucking it into high-waisted pants that were so baggy that the materials layered upon themselves. At Issey Miyake, layering was key to allow the transparency to undulate in clarity. 

Miu Miu used layering to further push its messy chic aesthetic. Checked shirts’ collars were only half tucked under polo tops and blazers. Demna, on the other hand, took a different route at Balenciaga. In his typical oversized signature, we saw a pair of over-widened shorts layered with two, again, oversized shirts giving a triple panelled effect. It’s comforting to know that even though this was SS24, designers are thinking of us Northernmost-hemisphere people.

Romance is in the Air

What’s romantic to you? Is it intimacy, self-confidence, openness, unadulterated love? All of this and more was found across Fashion Month: Mia Khalifa closing KNWLS proved that self-love is all a woman needs; MOWALOLA was pure sex; Supriya Lele took the runway to the bedroom; while Prada used sophisticated luxury to create a romantically dark and ethereal moment. 

It was at Prada where romance was best portrayed. Liquid-like “Haze” dresses, made from weightless superfine organza and gazar, billowed in the models’ own wake. Silver and gold metal threads falling from leather waist bands were flirty and fun, while leather coats were so large, they engulfed the wearer – adding an element of voyeurism, making us beg to know what lies beneath. 

And if you want romance in its most straight-forward form, look no further than the show stopping presentation from Mugler. Wind-swept looks evoked sensuality and drama, making the model feel like that girl.

Underwear is the New Outerwear

Since the early 2020s, loungewear became the new everyday wear thanks to a very persistent virus. Now that we’ve found our way out of this bleak era, we’re stripping away an extra layer of clothing, and putting underwear on full display.

Lingerie-style slip dresses as a concept is nothing new but this season designers gave us their play on the staple piece. Gucci’s new Creative Director Sabato De Sarno unveiled his new vision for the Italian brand and that included three slip dresses, all with a black lace bodice and one with a strikingly bold red PVC-style material for the skirt.

Over at Isabel Marant, we saw a new interpretation of the dress with the addition of a choker collar, while Rave Review gave us a revealing sleepwear-inspired dress with silk panels that remind us of what no one does after a hedonistic night as much as films would like you to believe: taking the entire bed sheet with you in the morning after.

Natasha Zinko had a much more literal take on the trend, creating whole garments – dresses, skirts and tops – out of stitched-together boxer briefs, playing into her seasonal narrative of travelling and underwear being the key piece of suitcase mayhem.

Contributing Editor: Juliette Eleuterio

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