As the year closes out, we're being inundated with 2013 recaps ranging from Sacramento's Annual Naughty and Nice list to Vogue's Best Dressed list. As much as we're enjoying the retrospectives, however, fashion is very much about the future, too — and 2014 is already shaping up to look damn good. From sailor chic to peekaboo fabrics, the coming year's fashion forecast is sunny with a chance of avant-garde design. Here are nine trends to expect on the streets this year.
1. Strategic Transparency
The hint of skin showing through Spring 2014's designs isn't obscured by traditional lace or translucent silk, but rather a series of entirely modified fabrics which looked like a fusion of netting and embroidery. Burberry Prorsum released a number of printed chiffon numbers and crochet-inspired dresses that left little to the imagination, while Nina Ricci's quintessentially feminine pieces were overrun with ruffles of an eyelet-esque hybrid fabric.
2. Hello, Sailor!
Seafaring chic is dropping anchor this spring. While other designers were content to play with subdued interpretations of the marine theme, Olympia Le-Tan tackled it head-on, executing her spring collection with a cheeky pin-up vibe. Subtler takes on the nautical theme included a host of fluid, navy, sailor-off-duty suits by Stella McCartney, and the subtle white stripes on navy dresses in Marc Jacobs's Resort collection.
3. Heartland Designs
Remember several years ago when peasant blouses and prairie skirts were en vogue? Imagine that Karl Lagerfeld had taken the reigns on that trend, and you have the impetus for 2014's incredible americana mode. Designers knew better than to pull straight from the Wild West, however; Lagerfeld's Pre-Fall 2014 collection had the luxe fabrics and meticulous tailoring unique to Chanel, and Dries Van Noten's use of natural fabrics and bohemian silhouettes combined modern urbanity with freewheeling backcountry style.
4. Optical Illusion Prints
Do not adjust your computer screen; the patterns adorning Spring 2014 collections are in fact innovative, intricate, and utterly captivating. Celine's Spring 2014 runway looked more like an art collection than a series of garments, Christian Dior executed a number of voluminous dresses in a hypnotic, metallic fabric, and Alexander McQueen's collection foreseeably stunned audiences with a series of red, white, and black avant-garde prints.
5. Sculpture Garden
Unconventional silhouettes played an enormous role on the runway for Spring 2014 as well as the Pre-Fall collections, and angular shapes in a garden variety of vibrant shades seemed to be the latest trend. Altuzarra displayed a number of offbeat and exaggerated shapes in his Pre-Fall collection, most notably an off-white, oversized coat, and a sharp, slitted skirt with navy and red striping. Ports 1961 contributed to the trend with voluminous double-breasted coats, and Michael Kors played with length on his menswear-inspired blazers and midi dresses.
6. Fifty Shades of…
Gray is officially in fashion, especially when adapted in a silvery, metallic hue. Whether Pantone's choice shades of 2014 prompted the craze, or the infamous book series has infiltrated the fashion industry, the color is no longer boring, achieving a cultural renaissance. The majority of Calvin Klein's Pre-Fall collection was executed in loose shapes and shades of grey, and Armani chose a soft, dove gray as the tone for several of the line's suits and capes. Dare we say that gray may be the new black for 2014?
7. All Buttoned Up (Shirts)
You know that button-down stuffed in the back of your closet? Resurrect it for 2014. Alexander Wang's now-notorious unbuttoned periwinkle boxer-suit may be considered the epitome of this trend: classic with a decidedly rule-breaking twist.
8. Sporty Chic
If you find yourself constantly jumping from meetings to errands and social engagements, the athletic chic trend will come as quite a relief. From tennis skirts to roomy silhouettes, designers have decided to allow fashion devotees a range of movement for 2014. While wearing Acne's sporty shirt dresses or Victoria Beckham's flirty tennis skirts to an actual tournament is inadvisable, the trend is a welcome change from more confining silhouettes.
9. Fashionable Pleating
The rule of fashion etiquette noting that pleated pants should never have made it past the 20th century has officially been scored from the book. In 2014, the pleat will adorn skirts, blouses, and pants, and in a number of unconventional designs to boot. Christian Dior's pleats were asymmetrical, and Preen's ranged from barely there to very there. While the trend may seem overwhelming to those who think knife pleats are the sole iteration of the design element, the abundance of the trend on the runway ensures that there is a pleat for every taste.