Clashing combinations are in style as brands release resort collections

Sporty looks combined with bold, contrasting patterns and textures lead the resort 2014 trends, writes Elisabeta Tudor

PUBLISHED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 9:56am
UPDATED : Monday, 06 January, 2014, 5:08pm

Fashionistas who want a wardrobe refresher for the start of 2014 should forget about last season's tailored silhouettes, monochrome hues and tame styles. Resort 2014 - the now famous collection that takes place between the seasons - is seeking to impress with innovative patterns and unexpected matches.

This year's resort collections are in between the trends, mingling both sportswear and dressy attire in a twisted way. "Sporty" and "clashing textures and prints" are the common themes running through the collections.

After a very punk-inspired autumn-winter season, designers felt like having even more fun. So they tried playing with bold, contrasting elements and clashing various patterns and textures together. You can wear your Stella McCartney flower cocktail dress with a leopard printed bomber jacket; or you can simply dip-dye your sporty Preen liberty hoodie.

If you're not into flowery prints, stick to Balenciaga's '20s-inspired, polka-trimmed summery dress, which comes with a contrasting, child-like pattern. Girls just want to have fun, after all.

Carven's resort collection actually turned out to be the boldest incarnation of this mix-and-match trend. The Carven woman will, of course, put on her girly, little black dress to go to a cocktail party.

But she'll combine it with neon-coloured sport sandals. This kind of footwear is something that many refused to wear in public before. But now it is more than tolerated - it has become a must-have item from streets to runways.

Sportswear was a reference for the men's spring-summer 2014 season, and this year's resort shows that it took its toll on womenswear, too. As always, the sometimes subtle, and other times rather obvious, mingling of feminine and masculine elements was a favourite with designers. Some went further by injecting an ostentatious, sporty nonchalance into business wear.

Marni's head designer, Consuelo Castiglioni, obviously jumped on this train. Her newest resort collection is about a sophisticated businesswoman who can let herself go by pairing her neat wardrobe with slouchy activewear elements.

Several silhouettes suggested the masculine and feminine duality expressed through straight and curved lines - think boxy, rounded, cinched tops worn with men's Bermudas and pants. But the silhouettes most worth watching were those that provocatively replaced classic sartorial aesthetics with activewear.

Take an oversized, belted trench coat worn with an elongated white turtleneck and side-striped sweatpants, paired with those now-famous sport sandals. It is not solely about injecting sportswear elements into the mix, but also imposing them on the brand's usual sophisticated style.

It breaks with the feminine fit, and as with all the silhouette constructions in the collection, is daring but desirable.

A less striking way of turning sportswear into dressy apparel, and vice-versa, could be spotted at Chloé. "Give this denim trench coat and pants a soft, slouchy cut, and please put pinstripes on it" is something that Clare Waight Keller might have told her design team.

Chloé made a statement by adding a sartorial touch to activewear: the easy volumes and the larger fits - it's about having the look of a businesswoman, and yet playing with relaxed proportions.

Alexander Wang is known for infusing sportswear aesthetics into his collections, and he took the trend to another level. The Alexander Wang girl may look as if she is coming out of the gym, but she still has sophistication, due to the technical precision of the apparel. Wang gave his cropped sweatshirts a glossy texture by weaving Lurex with cellophane.

Even low-slung, baggy pants look like refined, tailored apparel, with the use of defining shapes with figure-embracing darts and pleats.

Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the design duo at Kenzo, were surfing a completely different wave. The look was Californian, which is where they are both from.

This theme had influenced their spring 2014 menswear - think surfers and skater boys from Venice Beach - and this women's resort collection was similar, although more refined.

High-waisted carrot pants and shorts, and cropped tops with hand-drawn marker stripes suggested a boyish, '90s-style, while the wet look of neoprene, coated cotton poplins, and sponge-like jerseys, underscored the Californian influence.

The colour palette, consisting of showy bubble-gum pink, sunshine yellow, peach and sky blue hues, added emphasis: think of a bleached blonde, or hipster-ish, mermaid fresh from the beach. Oversized dresses in chintz cotton and egg crate structures turned out to be a bold take on 3-D texture within the garment.

The question is whether this bold mix of textures and patterns is fashion-forward or fashion faux pas. You choose.