Think big for 2020

As we head towards 2020 the accent is on oversized pieces - hoodies, jackets, boiler suits, trouser suits and military uniforms. Biker jackets and slouchy coats are prominent too, according to Shelly Corkery, the fashion director of Brown Thomas.

Generally, there is a distinct defeminisation of fashion as the genderless peeps through. Look to military themes at Givenchy for a play on this masculine/feminine fashion with exquisite tailoring and mannish fabrics. Powerful mixes of rich cultural references from around the globe offer unexpected contrasts in both opulent fabrics and textures.

As winter still hangs over us, we are immersed in a season filled with diversity. Traditional style codes are turned upside down while past and present collide, turning the pages between the Elizabethan epoch and the 1990s. The result is a contemporary feel that features everything from ballerina styles to punk.

This season, asymmetrical, exaggerated volumes and unexpected mixes are just a few of the emerging trends. A new body consciousness promotes a fearless femininity. Obscure silhouettes, abstract frills, peculiar proportions and edgy sportswear are all coming our way.

"From London to Paris, trends no longer seem relevant - powerful pieces are more impactful right now - it's about attitude and style," according to Ms Corkery. "We find retro vintage at Gucci, ingenius layering at Prada and a Gothic resurrection at Marc Jacobs.

The hottest looks for winter

This season designers have accentuated and celebrated the female form. Demure midi lengths, A-line skirts, irregular hems and cinched in waists all emphasise the return to a feminine silhouette. There is also an emphasis on feminine appeal through exposed decolletes. Ruffles are big fashion news and remain a key detail. Executed in contrasting textures, the look is kept modern with a focus on rich textural effects.

Sculptural Silhouettes

Silhouettes are cut with an elaborate sculptural edge while interesting shapes are pleated with bold and dynamic folds. Exaggerated and experimental 3D silhouettes are directional updates of classical shapes. These are manipulated by splicing, draping, and tucking fabric.

Urban Streets

Voluminous silhouettes make a dramatic return this winter. The international catwalks saw a focus on modern and exaggerated proportions with classics refashioned with a cool girl makeover. Cuts are presented in generous proportions for chic new takes on streetwear styles, such as puffer jackets, trench coats, hoodies and sweaters.


This season sees designers blurring the lines between masculine and feminine fashion. Exquisite tailoring and slim lines infuse masculine silhouettes with a feminine touch. Tailoring is precise, cut in mannish fabrics yet it features a glamorous edge. Tablecloth, windowpane and Prince of Wales fabrics are all reworked in contemporary proportions. We see references to influences of maritime and military uniforms as seen at Dries Van Noten where controlled masculine references are key to the look.

Fairy Tale Fantasy

This trend, according to Brown Thomas, is characterised by dreamlike prints and fairy tales from childhood. Designers reference well known fairy tales, such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Sleeping Beauty to conjure up precious childhood memories and inspire the wardrobes of modern day princesses. Sheer fabrics in light or embellished layers reinforce this romantic mood.

Global Traveller

This season fashion designers are looking to global influences for their collections with powerful mixes of rich cultural references from around the globe. Offbeat pairings and extravagant silhouettes underpin these trends. Unexpected contrasts in opulent fabrics and textures appear in extravagant and unexpected pairings.

Accessories - the key to style

Mini shoulder, top handle, and saddle styles handbags are big fashion news this season. Burgundy, cream and brown are popular colours. The new and emerging top handle detail was seen at Gucci and Prada while the returning boxy shoulder shape continues to be an important style. The clutch is as versatile as ever, ranging from oversized shapes which are perfect for daywear to mini styles which are heavily embellished.

Acccessory themes are varied and full of contrast this season. A dark historical romance materialises with ornate brocade buckles and framed bags with jewel detailing. Rich embellishments in small proportions decorate luxurious materials, such as velvet, suede and snakeskin in a palette of winter wine, moss green, saddle browns and dominant blacks, all encapsulating a sense of romanticism.

A purism is unveiled in accessories with simple, clean silhouettes. We see smooth calf skins in a natural shade of grey, cream, tan, and black with limited hardware in polished metal, gold and silver.

Statement bags return with the "mix and match" trend - bright colours, mixed prints and metallics - all forming part of this clashing trend. This season also sees a 1980s revival with sequins, fur and pom poms adorning disco bags. Animal prints, snakeskins, and metallic leather appear in most collections.

Watch out for exciting new updates to classical footwear staples this season. Designers play with materials, including leathers, high gloss patent and patchwork snakeskin but it is mainly kept simple and clean with a 1970s and 1980s influence.

We have seen the gradual rise of shaft heights on ankle boots over the past few seasons. They continue to creep closer to the calf this season, seen on both single sole and platform styles with the block heel remaining key once again.

The newest addition in the trainer category is the skate boot. While classic lace-ups, both low and high top, remain key, this new silhouette keeps the category moving forward with interesting variations. The slip on trainer makes its mark and comes to the forefront with playful mixes and embellishments.

Another key transitional shape is the loafer, according to Brown Thomas. The squared off toe gives a fresh update. Black and tan leathers remain key but playful prints in brocade add humour. Penny loafers, kiltie fringing and moccasins remain important but metal hardware and trims are real winners. Ballet and dance references are emerging with some designers taking it literally, showcasing ballet styles in shades of nudes in butter soft leathers while ghillie lacing adds a more contemporary twist.

The platform shoe makes a return with this season's catwalks showing high heels tempered by large platform soles. The Mary Jane is modernised and emerges with multiple straps.


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