Trend Report: Top 16 fashion trends of spring 2016

24 March 2016


The fashion industry can be a tough one to follow. Just when you think you’ve caught up with the current season’s most coveted trends, designers are already on to the next season, leaving us to feel alone, stagnant, and perplexed over what to wear next. One season its chunky flatforms, the next – just flats; then, the minute we feel safe with our sea of neutral tones and normcore pieces, we find ourselves replacing nudes with kitschy prints, sequins, and statement furs. In an attempt to keep everyone up-to-date and in the fashion loop for spring 2016, I’ve rounded up 16 of the season’s top runway trends.

While seasons past have enjoyed a return to the ’70s and ’80s, the grittier, grungier vibes of the ’90s proved to be the new comeback kid, with Saint Laurent’s Courtney Love-inspired slip dresses topped with tiaras along with Marques’ Almeida’s smudged eyeliner taking supremacy on the runways. The I-don’t-give-a-shit rebellion continued when Vetements paired a hooded sweat suit with OTT yellow heels and DSquared2 combined a complicated assortment of sparkles, embellishments, feathers, green, orange, pink… you get the idea.

Flashback to the Victorian era that was kept alive, well, and inflated with Christopher Kane and Fendi’s modern take on shoulder pads that incorporated the blown up sleeves into basic knits and reserved blouses. Erdem and Alexander McQueen introduced us to the era of old world romance with ethereal gowns fit for a queen.

Tommy Hilfiger’s tropical maxi skirts and beaded bikinis made a case for island dressing as a big theme for spring 2016 (an early vacation is exactly what we needed), while Spanish-influenced flounces kept the exoticism alive. Spring’s most sensual proposition? the bevy of lusciously languid styles that are taking lingerie out of the boudoir and into the streets. Speaking of streets, Hood by Air and Alexander Wang took a stroll from the sidewalks to the runway with their urban take on fringe, skirts, and off-the-shoulder pieces.

Spring 2016 allows women to keep their options way open, with inspo ranging across time and space. Without further ado, here are the top 16 trends you need to know from the spring 2016 runways:


Spring 2016 left little to the imagination, using accessories to stress the importance of being clear. Secrets become a thing of the past as Loewe’s transparent bags invite just about anyone into your personal space. Speaking of space, Chanel’s crystal clear heels and Christopher Kane’s opaque hats were like a space age take on these essential accessories. It’s all about showing off what you’ve got! #Shameless.

Christopher Kane


Channel your inner hip hop star with the latest looks in athleisure, from Vetements haute hoodies to Bottega Veneta’s track suits – are you tough enough?

hood by air street trend
Hood By Air
vetements street trend
alexander wang street trend
Alexander Wang


Designers like Alexander McQueen and Erdem brought an air of romanticism to the runways with Victorian-inspired lace and voluminous sleeves that transported us back to an era celebrated by feminine delicacy. Shimmery florals and passionate shades of red complimented ladylike gowns at Oscar de la Renta and Givenchy.

oscar de la renta romance trend
Oscar de la Renta
erdem romance trend
alexander mcqueen romance
Alexander McQueen


Ruffled gowns and mini dresses in shades ranging from soft nudes to exotic orange proved to compliment the Victorian age of Romanticism perfectly. While a dreamy spirit from a bygone era lead the way at Alexander McQueen, Olivier Rousteing and Mary Katrantzou took a bold approach to the trend pairing feminine ruffles with dominant metal chokers and belts. Who said ruffles had to be sweet?

alexander mcqueen ruffles
Alexander McQueen
balmain ruffle trend
mary katrantzou ruffle trend
Mary Katrantzou


In previous years, Moschino has made a case for kitschy couture with collections inspired by our favourite childhood cartoons and toys (see: Barbie). So this season, Jeremy Scott’s caution couture is anything but shocking. But this time around, it seems that kitsch is really kitshin-on (lol) as House of Holland’s feathered flats and Stella Jean’s watermelon visor scored some serious smile points in my books.

moschino fun trend
stella jean fun trend
Stella Jean
house of holland fun trend
House of Holland


Who needs an island getaway when you can just dress like you’re on one? Tommy Hilfiger’s crochet bikini and matching sun hat proved to be the stuff of island dreams, while DSquared2 took the whole island-thing to the next level with their own version of the Hawaiian lay, accompanied by a pair of heels made with technical cords shackled to the ankle like surfboard gear.

tommy hilfiger island trend
Tommy Hilfiger
dsquared2 island trend
chloe island trend


Courtney Love-inspired netted dresses, denim vests, smudged eyeliner, and leather jackets, need I say more?

saint laurent 90s grunge
Saint Laurent
max mara 90s grunge trend
Max Mara
marques almeida 90s grunge trend
Marques ‘ Almeida


Exotic destinations seemed to be the inspiration for this season’s runway looks. Their next stop? Judging by Oscar de la Renta’s gorgeous red carnation prints, Roberto Cavalli’s off-the-shoulder ruffled tops, and Alexander McQueen’s skirt of the same, designers looked to Latin America to give their separates a saucy Latino spin.

oscar de la renta latin trend
Oscar de la Renta
latin roberto cavalli trend
Roberto Cavalli
alexander mcqueen latin trend
Alexander McQueen


Chokers have made a comeback in recent years, and for spring 2016 they show no signs of well, loosening up their grip on the fashion world. While previous ’90s trends enjoyed bringing back our nostalgia for the tattoo-inspired chokers we wore religiously as young fans of Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, this season, offers a more mature take on the trend. Balmain’s over-sized medal collars, Dior’s silk scarves, and Prada’s netted wrap-around stole the show this time around. My personal fave? Christopher Kane’s zip tie-inspired choke-hold.

balmain choker trend
prada choker trend
christopher kane choker trend
Christopher Kane


You know what they say – every cloud has a silver lining. And for spring 2016, every garment does, too. Isabel Marant gave the phrase “space pants” a whole new meaning, making a pair of silver trousers seem like a reliable choice for fetching your morning coffee – or taking a Sunday stroll. Courreges showed off a mod-mini that appeared to have come straight from Carnaby Street in the ’60s, and Maison Margiela didn’t dare shy away from the metallics of the future, complimenting an entirely silver suit with sparkling gold and silver flatforms to match #goals.

mm6 maison margiela silver trend
MM6 Maison Margiela
isabel marant silver
Isabel Marant
courreges silver


Designers by the likes of Edun, The Row, and Rag & Bone slid sleeves slightly lower down the arm this season, showing off a more subtle way to be sultry for spring 2016.

edun off shoulder trend
rag & bone off shoulder trend
Rag & Bone
The Row


If bling is your thing, then spring 2016 is your season. From shards of mirror to sequins and tinsel-like strands, silver metallics are the latest OTT embellishment to keep you sparkling from day to night.

lanvin embellished trend
vetements sparkle trend
sonia rykiel sparkle trend
Sonia Rykiel


Judging by Dolce & Gabbana’s post-card stripes, Roksanda’s banded jumpsuit, and Prada’s streaky sundress emblazoned with dangling buttons and beads, the only place we want to see fine lines this season is in our wardrobes.

dolce & gabbana stripe trend
Dolce & Gabbana
prada stripe trend
roksanda stripe trend


This season invites the eyes of the public into our bedrooms, as the bevy of lusciously languid styles take lingerie out of the boudoir and into the streets.

celine nightgown trend
balenciaga nightware trend
calvin klein night gown trend
Calvin Klein


Boho couture is back in action with utilitarian tie-dye jackets at Valentino, and bright-hued sweaters of the same topped with patch-work bucket hats at BCBG Max Azria that scream kid-at-summer-cap.

valentino tie dye trend
thakoon tie dye
bcbg max azria
BCBG Max Azria


Victorian-style sleeves fit for a queen made their way down the runways at Fendi, and J.W. Anderson, while Christian Dior took a more nonchalant approach to the trend with a cropped knit sweater atop a breezy pleated skirt.

fendi big arm trend
j.w anderson big sleeve trend
J.W. Anderson
dior big sleeve trend
Christian Dior






More about Paige Exell

Fashion & beauty writer, lipstick enthusiast, lover of all things beautiful, constantly on the lookout for what's new and what's cool.


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