Consider this your cheat sheet to next season's biggest trends

Posted by
Billie Bhatia
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We have scoured the shows, the presentations and the street to decode your aw18 fashion. 

Our aw18 fashion month is 26 days of back-to-back shows, presentations, planes, trains, parties, dinners, late-night room service, crying with exhaustion on the Eurostar, snacking on stale popcorn, racing through battery packs, spending 90% of your time stuck in traffic, becoming best friends with your *enter city here* driver (Owen, Valerio and Zohair, we miss you), refreshing Instagram far too frequently and so much applause that your palms never quite recover from ‘rosy’. But, we did it. Hundreds of collections later we have wrapped our heads around a/w 2018. This is our definitive list of everything you need to know.

1. The one where Joey was a style icon

Balenciaga reinterpreted by Instagram sensation @siduations

Balenciaga has been the hot ticket in Paris ever since Demna Gvasalia got his Vetements-shaped mitts on the French house. For his a/w 2018 show, he created some of the most extreme outwear we had ever seen. The most notable? A Joey Tribbiani-inspired XXXL anorak layered over another anorak, and another anorak, and another anorak. You get the picture. Could there be any more outerwear? Absolutely one to try with your dad’s walking jackets.

2. Unexpected accessories

Gucci AW18 

Umbrella? Bowler hat? Triple-buckled belt? Key chain? These are what we might call unexpected accessories. Dragons, dogs and severed heads, on the other hand, go beyond unexpected. The culprit? Gucci, of course. Alessandro Michele sent models down the runway carrying replicas of their own heads. Naturally, the weird and wonderful image was recreated via meme the world over – but fashion critics gave it a big thumbs-up. Maybe it’s time to get ahead (ha) of the fashion pack and get on board with this wild trend, eh?

3. Wild, wild west

Isabel Marant AW18 

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again (because it gives us so much pleasure): yee-haw! The western trend is going nowhere: in fact, the country vibe is only getting stronger. Calvin Klein continued to send stompingly good boots down the runway and Isabel Marant went full-on Nashville, with models sporting thigh-high cowboy boots to a Dolly Parton soundtrack. Whether this is fashion’s bid to celebrate a pre-Trump America or a reflection of these wild west times, grab yourself a pair of booties stat.

4. Bringing back the ‘It’ bag

Dior AW18 

The Birkin, the Bayswater, the Baguette, the Puzzle… when you’re an ‘It’ bag, all you need is one word (or, in the case of Chanel, three numbers: 2.55) to cement your status in the history of fashion as desirable number one. This season, Dior resurrected the Saddle bag. It made waves in the Noughties (one of Galliano’s finest moments) and comes in four varieties. Worth the investment.

5. Tourist times

Jacquemus AW18 

The Bum Bag has been prevalent on the street style circuit for long enough for the high street to spawn a multitude of copies. Thanks to Jacquemus, these are soon to be upgraded to coin purses strung around the neck. If you didn’t look like a tourist before, you definitely will do now.

6. The Virgil touch

Off-White AW18 

The number of Off-White collaborations is nearing Vetements territory. First there was Nike (gracing the feet of every other show-goer in Paris), then there was Ikea, and the much anticipated Byredo - with fragrance Elevator Music already hitting cult scent status. Now, king of cool Virgil Abloh is bringing us sunglasses. Debuted at his show, the Matrix-like must-haves in conjunction with Sunglass Hut already have a huge waiting list before they go on sale online 20th March. 

7. Handbag how-to

Rejina Pyo AW18 

Speaking of bags, there’s a new way to wear your handbag, because conforming to regular handbag standards is so 2017. Don’t even think about swinging that tote onto your shoulder. Fold your bag in half and nonchalantly carry it close to your body. See Rejina Pyo for the ultimate style guide.

8. Wrap it up

Hermès AW18 

We have been waxing lyrical when it comes to blankets, and the picnic appeal in your wardrobe. What started at Céline has quickly progressed (unsurprisingly), with many designers choosing the household item as a legitimate accessory. None more so than at Hermès, where the blankets were attached to a leather shoulder strap. A bag that doubles as a blanket? Sold.

9. Animal magic

Tom Ford AW18 / Max Mara AW18 / Victoria Beckham AW18 

Rejoice, animal print was undoubtedly the key print for a/w 2018 with leopard, zebra and snakeskin ruling the catwalks. For Tom Ford it was leopard print puffer jackets and multi-coloured leggings, at Victoria Beckham it was all about the dressing gown animal print coat. At Calvin Klein there were actual zebras on dresses while at Max Mara it was a leopard print party: trousers, skirt, jumper and coat all roaring with animal fierceness in one look. Pat Butcher, eat your heart out.

10. Balaclava army

Calvin Klein AW18 / Gucci AW18 / Dior AW18 

Our bones are only just thawing out after the blizzard that was the Beast from the East and we really could have done with one of the many balaclavas seen on the a/w 2018 runways. Gucci (obvs), Calvin Klein, Preen, Alexander Wang and Dior all designed variations on the surprising runway addition. We will be well prepped for glacial storms come the winter.

11. Plastic fantastic

Image via @tommyton Instagram 

Blame Céline or blame the idea that everyone needs to be more transparent, but the street-style set is hell bent on sharing the intimate content of their bags with the world. Phoebe Philo has been the connoisseur of many an ‘It’ bag, and for s/s 2018 she presented her Philo-ites with a clear plastic carry-all (not dissimilar to your supermarket shopping bag) but add ‘Céline’ on the front and it’s all suddenly v chic. If you dare to bare, this is the only way.

12. Leggings 11

Tom Ford AW18 / Victoria Beckham AW18 / Philipp Plein AW18 

Remember when leggings were a thing? Not the athleisure Sweaty Betty version, but the black, transparent when over-worn version that you used to pair with your entire wardrobe. Well, they are back. Brash, Eighties and hugely unapologetic at Tom Ford, VB gave us a sleeker version to be worn with workwear coats and at Philipp Plein they were vinyl and slick to the skin - as ‘out there’ as leggings could get.

13. Crayola crazy

Racil AW18 

When you put on your a/w 2018 presentation at the Ernest Hemingway bar at The Ritz Paris, thirsty fashion editors will come running. Racil did just that and the clothes matched the glamour of the location. We have seen Crayola colour really come into focus during the s/s 2018 shows and for next season Racil made sure we are all aboard the brights train. Coloured tailoring was worn with white trainers, sequinned berets and equally blown-out hair – think eighties power-dressing revisited.

14. The final bow

Christopher Bailey takes his last bow at Burberry 

For some of fashion’s biggest houses, there is a changing of the guard. Christopher Bailey left Burberry with a rainbow-themed bang, Jason Wu showed his last collection at Hugo Boss and Carolina Herrera showcased her final designs for her eponymous label. The much anticipated Hedi Slimane rejoins the fashion ranks at Céline this September and Riccardo Tisci will be taking over the helm at Burberry. Watch this space. 

Images: Rex Features / Instagram