Spring 2018 Fashion Trend Predictions: Sleeves, Sculptural Design, Rei Kawakubo

Trend forecaster Li Edelkoort's vision for a modern spring 2018.

Designers might still be in recovery mode after showing their spring 2017 collections, but trend forecaster Li Edelkoort was already onto spring 2018 Thursday morning at The New School’s Parsons School of Design.

In her “Transition: The Trans-Shaping of Clothes” forecast, Edelkoort stressed trends such as the importance of sleeves, sculptural silhouettes, baroque baby, paperlike fabrics, functional neutrals, garden colors, art-inspired kimonolike fabrics and winter fabrics for summer. The Edelkoort Inc. founder is also dean of Hybrid Design Studies at The New School.

“In this season, if you don’t step out of your basic normal behavior or pattern, it will become unsalable or it will sort of miss the boat completely,” she said. “The new shape, finally, we’re going to redesign clothes [that] will give a new lease on life for fashion which is a little bit tired, as you know. You will have to hire designers who know how to design, meaning not shopping but designing. You will have to hire pattern-makers who know how to make patterns, meaning not taking things apart and copying them, but making patterns.”

Edelkoort told attendees, “If you have to recall one thing from this presentation, it should be sleeves. Sleeves will take a big proportion of what is new. Shirt sleeves in itself will be a way to say, ‘I know what’s going on in fashion.’ To sell a basic shirt will be out of the question.”

Winter fabrics in summer will become more accepted “since the industry and retail do not want to adjust to the new seasonal norms, the consumer is going to do it themselves buying wool in summer and cotton and chiffon in summer,” she said.

Referring to the anticipated increase in sculptural design, Edelkoort said it will have a lot of room without being oversize and it will incorporate new constructions. There will be more of a design emphasis on bustles, bellies, hips and breasts. “It is certainly not a coincidence that The Met’s next exhibition [at The Costume Institute in the spring] will be about Comme des Garçons Rei Kawakubo,” Edelkoort said. “We will see the history of her work. It will be like throwing a bomb in the middle of the fashion arena because people will suddenly remember what she has done for us and how amazingly she is working on the transformation of volume. It may possibly help this trend become more important.”

Genderless dressing will continue along, according to Edelkoort. “It’s a fact of life that we no longer care what gender people are. We no longer want to define it. I think this movement will transform the way we look at society, look at children, and the way that people will be together in the future. People will just love people, which is very different from what we have today where the war between men and women is very much in the news.”