No way, stripes for spring?! Nothing short of groundbreaking! But the perennial favorite made such a strong statement this season that the impact was hard to ignore, and if not necessarily groundbreaking per se, it was at least original.
Proenza Schouler was the leader of the pack with vivid variegated stripes adding vibrancy to intarsia knit dresses that were built upon a family of primary colors – electric blue, true red, and sunshine yellow. It had been quite a long time since we’d seen the designers incorporate this much color into their palette, and possibly the first time they used stripes as a format to explore depth and dimension. This came through with certain looks that followed a linear pattern, albeit slightly curved or comprised of a printed infill, which ultimately added up to an unexpected (and almost exotic like) feel.
The similarity between Proenza’s variegated stripe maxi dress and Opening Ceremony’s variegated stripe maxi dress was uncanny (and not hard to spot). At a quick glance, one could easily confuse the two designers; nothing like that had happened much in Opening Ceremony’s archive of designs until now, at least to that extent. Carol Lim and Humberto Leon stayed close to that red, blue, and yellow color palate but broke up the heavy lines with blocks of fine lines, adding an optical illusion to some of their pieces.
Variegated stripes were interspersed among a slew of other designers such as Rosie Assoulin, Adam Selman, Brock, and Scotch & Soda, but that wasn’t the defining contribution to their collections. For Rosie Assoulin, the column maxi dress was the connecting thread to fellow looks at Opening Ceremony and Proenza Schouler – minus the covered-up elements. Assoulin instead opted for a more summery, sleeveless polo-inspired shape.
Adam Selman’s re-appropriation of variegated stripes landed him in a unique territory as the adoption of sheer and crochet linear designs reinvented the possibilities of building texture through patterns. At Scotch & Soda, stripes were the tool to take the collection into a bohemian-resort hybrid with hippie undertones and an expressive use of color.
Other designers opted for more simplistic stripe designs, but that’s not to say their importance was any less so than their variegated sister. Altuzarra followed suit with a trend-driven tonal blue gradient for knit dresses, while Monse imaginatively merged identical stripe patterns in opposing color ways, interestingly creating a visual tension point that still somehow felt seamless and harmonious.
Sure, some might say that stripes had never gone away and that they are by default one of the key patterns for designers. After all, you don’t have to be a trend forecaster or a visionary to assert that stripes have staying power and will be around forever. But hey, on the flipside, at least for this season, we’re getting a little break from florals…for now.