How to dress with impact this summer

By Alexandra Zagalsky
Summer Style Trends

Statement dressing channels minimalist glamour this season.

Forget zingy colours, exotic prints and decorative details, this season's trends are all about “amplified minimalism” – clean, impactful designs that emphasise the importance of a sartorial message. The standout styles for SS24 are united in their expression of well-composed elegance, balancing a practical and polished aesthetic with a touch of nostalgia. Gauzy materials, striking sculptural shapes and tone-on-tone textural contrasts are everywhere, as are high-rise trousers and old-school sporty looks inspired by the reigning king of preppy style, Ralph Lauren. The idea of looking artfully put-together is the bond that links these very different trends, along with a willingness to embrace each look to its fullest in a way that is both assertive and uncompromising. For example, Saint Laurent and Dolce & Gabbana's take on the sheer style includes long, ankle-skimming skirts made of transparent black tulle, so thin that the material looks more like film than fabric. Similarly optimised are Miu Miu’s “country club” looks, modelled on the runway in layers to augment the ’90s theme, with striped shirts under polo tops under school blazers and worn over two pairs of Bermuda shorts. It's fashion to have fun with, albeit in a well-curated and considered way that's timelessly chic and a touch avant garde rather than expressly bold and dramatic. Here's how to prepare your seasonal wardrobe with plenty of creative focus, thanks to these top three luxury trends.

White Out

Miuccia Prada famously declared that ‘fashion is instant language’ and nothing quite says “ethereal beauty” like a pure white gown. No longer the preserve of bridal wear, the white dress has come into its own this season, designed for everyday wear in long, short, tailored and voluminous variations – and paired with matching accessories. At Prada, the pearly white choices are extensive, ranging from casual throw-ons such as ribbed cotton minis and airy button-down shirt dresses to cocktail-hour specials, including pleated crepe-de-chine gowns with pussybow ties and ’60s-inspired shifts crafted from four layers of delicate silk voile. The swan-like glamour of the 1940s has inspired a collection of floaty, floor-skimming white chiffon gowns at Louis Vuitton, while Chanel's take on the ivory trend is distinctively coquettish with ruffled rah-rah skirts and baggy boxer-style shorts paired with white oversized boyfriend shirts.

“The white dress has come into its own this season”

Then there are the voluminous, cloud-like designs of Stella McCartney, whose SS24 repertoire includes a billowing off-the-shoulder lace dress and a glossy white puff-ball mini dress. Her everyday pieces are more tailored but no less technical. They include white cotton shirts with cape-like sleeves and little white cotton tank tops with crocheted, mirror-embellished trims. For lovers of subtle craft details, look to Loewe's optic white inventory which counts a diaphanous shirt dress with a removable gold chain sash, and an oversized tunic dress cut from textured cotton poplin with a tumbling asymmetrical hemline. Valentino has indulged in the all-white trend more than any other brand this season, with a penchant for cut-outs, broderie anglaise and lace accents. For those who like to keep it simple with ultra-sleek ivory cami dresses and minimalist gowns cut on the bias, there’s only one name to know, and that’s Victoria Beckham.

Mad About Metal

Rihanna urged us to ‘shine bright like a diamond', but this season, metallic fashion is the trend to tune into. From high-beam gold and glassy silver to oxidised pewter and colourful mirrored foil, fabric doesn't just glimmer, it positively glows. Sarah Burton's catwalk finale for Alexander McQueen included a showstopping “liquid gold” dress crafted from shimmering panels of knitted gold fabric with sections of loose embroidery in the form of slackened strands of golden yarn, inspired perhaps by the fairytale of Rumpelstiltskin. In store, McQueen's new footwear must-have is a reflective version of its iconic oversized sneaker, made of silver mirrored leather for a cool “hi-vis” effect. Many key items from Miu Miu’s SS24 ready-to-wear collection recall the kittenish looks worn by Jane Fonda in classic 1960s sci-fi movie Barbarella. These glittering party pieces light up the rails in store, some covered in giant gold sequins, others crafted in textured gold lamé or fine metallic mesh. Even classicists are in on the act: purveyor of luxury Italian craftsmanship Brunello Cucinelli has embraced the metallic movement with fluid suits and maxi dresses entirely covered in copper or silver-toned paillettes, while sporty co-ord sets in cotton and linen are treated with a silver lamé coating.

Be Transparent

Barely-there gowns are this year's A-list fashion phenomenon as proven by Beyoncé, Zendaya, Dua Lipa, Florence Pugh and Jennifer Lawrence, just some of the stars who have recently adopted this risqué look on the red carpet. But the sheer trend doesn't have to mean total body exposure, with plenty of options for those who want to flash just a little flesh. Max Mara has incorporated a number of chic gossamer pieces into its SS24 collection, including delicate silk-twill shrugs and dresses crafted from filmy layers of silk georgette in shades of peony pink and golden honey. At Alaïa this season, a good portion is see-through, including body-sculpting chiffon dresses and rubberised skirts and matching rain macs available in a myriad of neutral tones, all perfect for layering if you prefer to show just a soupçon of skin. Hugo Boss has long specialised in demurely seductive separates and the Bond Street boutique is a one-stop destination for slim-fitting sheer stretch shirts, sporty open-knit sweaters and fine mesh tops that effortlessly pull on over lingerie or camisole tops. The ultimate see-through summer accessory has to be Longchamp's fishnet Le Pliage bag crafted from wide-knitted cotton mesh and available in a range of colours and sizes, from dinky to XL. New editions are embellished with little crochet daisies, just in case you fancy a dash of signature summer florals.

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