NYFW SS20 was a Week of Fun, Optimism, and Groundbreaking Florals

We’re living in tense times—between the current political climate and the increasingly unstable environmental one, most of us could use a bit of levity. That’s why the spring 2020 collections presented by New York Fashion Week designers felt so refreshing. Common threads of fun and optimism made the week more buoyant, with doses of increased diversity, political commentary, and some pretty groundbreaking florals. Prior to Fashion Week, we consulted with the buyers from our partner boutiques in Italy to find out which designers’ shows they were most eagerly awaiting. Tom Ford, Ulla Johnson, and Zimmermann topped their list of must-see presentations, and, with their usual flair, these favored designers created highly covetable collections.

Tom Ford took things underground

A Manhattan subway platform on the J/Z line, illuminated in electric violet, set the stage for a parade of of what Tom Ford called “luxurious sportswear.” Ford’s mood board for this season included a 1964 picture of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick emerging from a manhole in New York, as well as an image of basketball shorts. His intention was to create a collection that fused grit and glam, all while evoking a sense of ease. To that end, he paired the sleek blazers for which he is best known with dolphin shorts and long, loose, basketball-inspired ones. Pleated ball skirts with pockets were sent down the runway with slouched muscle tees. Those muscle tees are likely to become the tees for spring 2020 with their rolled sleeves and artful draping. And keep an eye out for iterations of the Tom Ford basketball shorts.

Shop city-cool sportswear, shoes, and accessories for women and men by Tom Ford at italist.com.

Tom Ford spring summer 2020 runway collection at new york fashion week
Basketball shorts, anyone?

Ulla Johnson upped the ante with handcrafted accents

The inspiration for Ulla Johnson’s spring 2020 collection came from the cultural diversity of New York City. As a result, the bags and recycled-glass jewelry were hand-beaded in Africa, and fabrics loomed in India. There was Afghani embroidery on some dresses, along with Dutch wax prints and Japanese shibori fabrics. Whereas Johnson’s aesthetic usually skews bohemian, her pieces were more form-fitting this time, to embrace what Ulla called “modern sensuality.” There was an array of jeans, shorts, and even jumpsuits, but the dresses were the most captivating. It’ll be no surprise if the plaid puff-shoulder dress with the peplum and wrapped skirt shows up on some red carpets, or if a few celebrities are spotted wearing the beaded dress with a subtle cutout at the abdomen.

Shop globally inspired clothes and handbags from Ulla Johnson on italist.com.

New York Fashion Week designers Ulla Johnson runway collection SS20
Ulla Johnson channeled the cultural diversity of New York, America’s largest city.

Zimmermann zoned out for summer

Nicky Zimmermann drew inspiration for her spring 2020 collection from the feeling of relief and excitement that set in at the end of the school year during her childhood in Sydney, Australia—and also from the documentary Endless Summer, which a teacher once showed to her class on the last day of school. Sartorially, that meant creating vibrant prints from retro surf magazines and movie posters, and then applying them to sumptuous satin dresses and separates. It’s an undeniably feminine collection that exudes freedom and fun—as in flared mini dresses made of laser-cut lace, flowing oversized tops that easily double as swim cover-ups (and triple as a mini dress for those who dare), and fringed macramé jackets that look cool as a seaside breeze.

Shop feminine dresses and separates by Zimmermann at italist.com.

Ulla Johnson spring summer 2020 collection at New York Fashion Week
An undeniably feminine collection exuding freedom and fun from Ulla Johnson for SS20.

A few trends emerged from New York Fashion Week designers, including dramatic puff sleeves, peplums, and artisanal accents from across the globe. If you want to get a head start on these trends—and the feeling of ease and fun that designers have predicted for next spring and summer—check out puff-sleeve dresses from Saint Laurent and Rotate by Birger Christensen, Self-Portrait’s selection of peplum tops, and fringed sweaters by Alanui, all on italist.com.

Discover more trends for the coming seasons with our other Spring Summer 2020 fashion week recaps: London (Burberry, J.W. Anderson, Richard Quinn), Milan (Etro, MSGM, Missoni, GCDS), and Paris (Celine, Lanvin, Off-White, Maison Margiela). For Menswear trends on the up-and-up, click here.


Shop italist.com for up to 30% off on over 200,000 up-to-the-minute luxury fashions for women, men, and kids from leading brands like Golden Goose, Fendi, Gucci, Miu Miu, and many more—direct from Italy’s finest boutiques to your door.

Nafeesa is the founder and editor of Shoes N Booze, a blog that pairs shoes with cocktails and provides shoe and cocktail-related tips, trend information and reviews. Her writing has also been published in The Source Magazine, xoJane, Sisters from AARP and other publications.

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