Spring ’16 catwalks reminded us all that there’s more to denim than just skinny and stretch. Boxy shapes, vacation silhouettes and washes and casts from bygone eras when denim ruled are returning, making Spring ’16 one of the biggest denim seasons in recent memory.

At Kingpins Amsterdam, WSGN Denim Editor Sam Trotman noted that while London and New York are loyal denim cities, indigo was unexpectedly strong on Spring ’16 runways in Milan and Paris. The result is a mishmash of contemporary looks, exaggerated details and aggressive laundry.

Here’s a look at the key runway to market trends for Spring ’16.

  • Cropped 5-pocket flares are all over street style, Trotman reported. The flirty look is being updated with small embroideries and panels for added texture. Cropped styles are moving into men’s, as well. In particular, Trotman said raw denim with deep cuff are making a comeback.
  • Designers are being more considerate about the placement of embellishments. Indigo piecing is refreshed with geometric shapes. Linear stripes, paneling, glossy textures mixed with matte and indigo shadow techniques add textural interest.
  • Culottes capture the essence of summer. Blended fabrics with a soft drape play an important role here. Trotman noted that details like Rachel Comey’s dramatic pleats turn the retro bottom into a fashion item.
  • The retro story continues with high-waisted slim jeans with a cropped length. Here, Trotman said designers are using compact stretch denim.
  • Girls are borrowing from the boys yet again, this time with board shorts. The shorts are refreshed with feminine pleats and softer fabrics.
  • Trotman said summer sets remain popular for street style and festival fashion. New iterations of the matching pieces include trucker styling and laser details.
  • Ruffled denim skirts are trending as a novelty item, Trotman reported. The styles skew classically Western to more technical and couture, deconstructed with layers and laser laundries. Elaborate and dramatic frays are an alternative to traditional ruffles.
  • Molted washes and diffused pastels are on deck for spring. The result is a ghosted surface effect. On the bolder end, Trotman said fondant tones of pink, lavender and mint will brighten up springtime looks. In some cases, velvet is used inside of denim.
  • White is more relevant. In particular, Trotman reported that off-white tones and natural white are important for super clean looks. White is used for more premium looks.
  • Long-line dresses with “languid proportions” are on the up-and-up in contemporary collections. Button-down silhouettes are key. Paneling and color block add visual interest without breaking up the dress’ clean lines.
  • Jumpsuits offer the head-to-toe denim look that continues to be in vogue, however Trotman said one-pieces tend to be a commercial hit-or-miss. Women’s designers are taking another stab at the garment for spring with Tencel fabrications and new shapes and volume inspired by workwear. Old-school coverall styling, short-sleeve boiler suits, zip-up fronts and oversized straps add a playful, tomboy touch.
  • Decorative surfaces spice up denim collections. Trotman called out styles with ’70s-inspired embroidery, high color contrasts, sequins, gemstones and whimsical cutouts in the shape of hearts. For example, Robert Cavalli played with sequins and chains. Ultra-mirrored denim and pastel shades combined with gold tell a decadent story.
  • Grunge fashion makes an appearance in men’s fashion, Trotman said, this time in the form of subtle tears, abrasions, stonewash and ripped knees. Punk hardware and patches return for a pop of fun. Paint splatter, paint smears and bleached adds color.
  • To contrast with the ’90 trend, Trotman said look for all-American blue denim with a true vintage look. The look consists of original constructions, orange peel and red casts.
  • Coveralls for men have a young men’s feel with shorts, short sleeves and collarless silhouettes.
  • Men’s prints skew more serious with tonal indigo prints, including paisley and animal prints on trucker jackets and shirts. African patterns, plaid and Southeast Asian prints create a global patchwork look.
  • Polished 5-pocket jeans for men, like the sateen jeans presented by Louis Vuitton, offers an elevated feel. Trotman said look for jeans to be sharp, pleated and clean with a trouser front.
  • A clean look is carried into long-line coats for men updated with piping detail. Other important outerwear stories include zip-up jackets (an alternative to the trucker) in both traditional raw and glossy coated look, tuxedo collars on denim vests, sleeveless jackets with a boxy body and activewear-inspired jackets updated with high gloss nylon-looking denim.
  • “Upsize” shorts for men are picking up steam, Trotman reported. The new shapes span boxy to super wide. Meanwhile, “vacation” shorts are also gaining traction. The shorter shapes are a nod to the ’70s with a high inseam.
  • The new urban workwear for men takes cues from ’90s hip hop style. Trotman said designers are revisiting ultra-wide leg jeans with a full break and stalky appearance.

Photo credits: Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2016 by Fashion GPS

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