The cyclical nature of fashion—its tendency to repeat itself every 20 years or so—is a truism likely opposed by no one. The infamous ‘90s hair scrunchie, for all its ridicule, cropped back up in recent years in fast fashion stores like H&M and boutique-style clothiers like American Apparel. Shoulder pads, jean jackets, platform boots—they’ve all seen a renaissance since the early 2000s, finding a new, albeit short, life. Can we say the same for interiors? Not exactly, but the analogy may not be so far off.
The very nature of design is ever changing and amorphous, and in the world of interiors that evolution doesn't manifest quite as quickly as on the runways. But we see macro trends on the pages of magazines, websites covering the homes of the world’s elite, hotels meant to coax our return, and bars and restaurants with interiors that have become as notable as their bartenders’ martinis.
Next month, we’ll get to see what fashion has in store for the Spring ’17 season during New York Fashion Week. With the help of those “in the know,” we speculated on what trends may show up and how they will soon translate into A&D.
Color often suggests seasonality: tones on the runway have become a predictable way to tell what time of year it is. As the unexpected has seemingly become the norm in our chaotic world, color has begun to break out of its traditional roles in fashion.
Leatrice Eisman, executive director at the Pantone Color Institute, has devoted her career to understanding and predicting color trends, and how they impact our physical and emotional worlds. In her view, the Spring ‘17 collections will take a turn toward “seasonless color,” where we’ll see spring clothing take on colors typical of fall, like earthy oranges. She also predicts the trend may extend into future seasons, with “diaphanous springtime yellows,” as well as pinks and greens, being used in fall and winter fashion collections.
Interiors benefit from a less restrictive sense of seasonality when it comes to color. An earthy orange accent wall in a breakfast room or hotel parlor will be warm and welcoming no matter the time of year. This trend is predicted to manifest in the form of unexpected color in everyday spaces. Bathrooms no longer need to follow the white or blue rule. Contradicting convention, deep, dark colors don’t necessarily constrict a space. For example, paired with accents of bright magenta, a tiny bathroom can be painted stark black. Kitchen appliances or bathroom fixtures no longer need suffer the confines of white, black, or stainless steel.
Fluid and Shapeshifting
Fashion designers, like any other artists and creators, are inspired by cultural, political, and socio-economic factors. The Spring 2016 collections showcased vibrant colors and designs that were representative of new global doors opening (take Cuba, for instance). This season, that influence can be found in designers’ use of shape—or lack thereof.
Whereas structure and conformity have always been hallmarks of high fashion, we are now seeing an embrace of more fluid forms. This could be interpreted as designers’ desire to let go of constraints and express themselves freely, particularly in a world where such freedoms seem ever more threatened. A rebellion of sorts, these free-form fashions can be seen from high-waisted, pleated, full-leg pants to shift dresses and overcoats. The Spring ‘17 collections will likely continue to feature fuller, wider pants that are sophisticated in style but easy in fit and form. We’ll also see roomier, almost boxy dresses and tunics that elicit the same freeing effect while remaining on trend.
Interior spaces have always benefited from designers who favor air, space, and light. An expected interpretation will come in the form of the continued popularity of the all-white bed. Sheer and light drapery will also remain prominent for its ability to accept light and air while functioning as a barrier to both when needed. In addition, this lightness and freedom of form has seen further use in pattern—from the kaleidoscope-inspired, watercolor patterns of Eskayel’s wall-coverings and textiles, to the ombre colorings appearing everywhere from carpets to accessories. Blackout curtains, while essential in many commercial applications, are becoming less harsh and heavy so as to perform their key function while still giving rooms airy openness. The trend will also influence how designers think about typical necessities within a space. Many hotel rooms, for instance, are abandoning the idea of the standard desk, understanding people now work differently, often from laptops or tablets in bed.
Classic and Utilitarian
Whether it’s through big, flashy florals or super-sharp metallics, every Spring season designers make statements. But the desire to embrace more classic styles, cuts, patterns and textures is going to resurface in the bulk of the Spring ‘17 collections. There may even be a trend toward utilitarian, almost military looks. The army-inspired jacket and cargo pant have remained a staple of spring wear for decades in varied interpretations and applications. There’s a certain practicality and comfort in military-inspired clothing that helps it remain timeless, especially at moments when fashion could be thought of as a frivolous indulgence. At the same time, fashion as an industry is important and influential on the global stage. This will encourage designers to create not only stunner finale pieces, but also collections that are both functional and unassuming. Army green may see a comeback, as will classic trenches and ever-popular military boots (yes, even in spring). And the military inspiration will also carry over to statement looks with gold, Balmain-style ornamentations to tailored coats and harsh, statement-making cuts and color choices.
As for interiors, we’ll see some of our old favorites return to the fore—from classic studded and tufted leather seating to overstuffed pillows and down comforters, to neutral beige furnishings and dark, warm-colored wood casegoods. Gold and brass embellishments and finishings will continue in popularity as will materials like wool and linen, both providing comfort, function, and practicality, and by extension safety and reliability.
Yueming Qu has an MA from The Central Academy of Fine Arts in Chinese painting and is currently pursuing an MFA in illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. Her artwork has been featured in major magazines, as well as museums and galleries. She works for Heydoyou.com, and has been invited to New York Fashion Week to do sketches fresh from the runway. Her dream is to be a professional illustrator for a major magazine or fashion house.