Are you ready to sin? Spring/summer 2024 is all about indulgence. Fashion designers show hardly any restraint in their creations and stop at no taboo. During its most recent trend seminar, the Deutsches Mode-Institut (DMI) predicted this shift and the ways in which it will be expressed visually.
”Often trends are merely new variations and expressions of already familiar themes over many seasons, but at some point there is a sudden fundamental break, a whole new attitude to life, a completely different underlying mood – a vibe shift," explained trend researcher Carl Tillessen during his online lecture – aptly named ‘Vibe Shift’ – during the event. The title accurately depicts DMI's prophecy for the SS24 season.
As the dust settles in much of the world from the Covid-19 pandemic, society is facing a turning point. People feel as if they have lost precious time from their lives in the past few years - now every moment is seized and enjoyed. "People crave self-indulgence, need outlets - they want to break out, live it up, go over the top," says Tillessen. Fashion is one such outlet, in which "boundless idealism" is now giving way to hedonism and nihilism.
Fashion gives in to pleasure
The idealism of the past is passé and is increasingly being corroded by nihilism, said Tillessen. But if not by nihilism, then at least by hedonism, the trend researcher explained with reference to Tom Ford. When the US fashion designer was previously asked about the inspiration behind his revealing SS23 collection, which featured an abundance of naked skin, silk fabrics and lace, the designer revealed that he was simply inspired by fun.
This is by no means the first time that fashion has turned to pleasure, but the trend currently seems to be driven largely by a sense of impermanence and the accompanying dread.
Detox just to Retox
Detox is followed by retox, said Tillessen with regard to the sudden lifestyle change towards unrepentant sin, which is closely linked to climate change. The constant pressure to self-optimise, combined with the pressure to avert the climate crisis, has become overwhelming. Many people are not yet ready to give up the fight against climate change, so their own bodies have to take the fall, which seems to be a mantra that is becoming apparent, at least visually, in fashion.
"Wildness is a common thread throughout all the collections this summer: runny make-up everywhere, sweaty hair, chipped nail polish, torn tights, crooked buttons, ragged and filthy clothes," elaborated the trend expert. Comparisons are also drawn with the hit series "Euphoria" starring actress Zendaya, as well the biographical drama "Beautiful Boy" with actor Timothée Chalamet, both of which explore and evoke a fascination surrounding the use of hard drugs.
In keeping with the motto "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll", rock music and its associated aesthetics are also back in fashion. At Philipp Plein, for example, Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee turned model, while Hedi Slimane's Celine show for FS23 was accompanied by The Libertines, the band headed by English rock star Pete Doherty. "Instead of yoga there's now sex again, instead of green smoothies there are drugs again," said Tillessen, summarising the attitude to life rediscovered by fashion.
Fashion purgatory: black widows, witches, vamps, goths and Julia Fox
Black widows in lace, suspenders and veils dominated the runways of designers like Richard Quinn, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. "Gothic in both senses of the word," explained Tillessen. "Fashion is not only cheerful dopamine dressing and sweet Barbiecore any more, but also Goth and Dark."
The fashion designers' muses seem to be undergoing a transformation, showcasing "goths, vamps and vampires, the saint and the whore" and "sending not only angels but also fallen angels down the runway". The designs are equally provocative, playing with symbols and sex, like the crosses featured by Blumarine and the flame patterns featured on the Balmain runway.
The do-gooder has had its day and people are once again allowed to acknowledge their moral ambivalences, according to the trend expert. No wonder, then, that actress, former dominatrix and Kanye West’s ex Julia Fox has become the symbol of change.
Prada, Coach and GmbH are less symbolic, but by no means less provocative, because here eroticism is no longer merely implied. Instead, the brands make use of various fetish elements – especially leather.
It's about uncensored and uninhibited sex for the advanced," added Tillessen with regard to the provocative clothing, which also includes cut-outs in the crotch-area, for instance at Gucci, Egonlab and Enfants Riches Déprimés.
Nothing human is alien to the new spirit of fashion, the trend researcher concluded, foreshadowing an exciting and provocative Spring/Summer 2024 season.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.de and has been translated and edited into English.