A sense of realism has underpinned recent runway collections, with a focus on everyday basics that together function as wardrobe building blocks. This was exemplified at the autumn/winter 2023 couture shows in Paris when Kaia Gerber opened Valentino at the colossal Chateau de Chantilly, wearing a white shirt and a pair of straight-leg, high-waisted jeans. This is couture, so these aren’t made from your average denim—they were crafted from silk gazar, which was painstakingly hand-embroidered with thousands of tiny glass beads that were dyed to look like denim. However, it was significant that one of the most viral couture runway looks for 2024 wasn’t a gown the size of your living room, but a work of art created to (at a distance) look like the simple blue jeans hanging in your own wardrobe.
For spring/summer 2024, designers continued to have a pared-back approach to everyday dressing, with subtle design details and meticulous silhouettes used to add a luxury polish to even the most practical of items. This is particularly true within the denim department, which, by and large, stayed loyal to the classic styles that have proved popular in recent years, however thoughtful design tweaks were applied to offer a sense of newness and give them a premium update. At Proenza Schouler, for example, much-loved ’90s straight-leg denim was souped up with clever double-layered waistbands. While at Loewe, baggy jeans were taken to the extreme with oversized denim which pooled, folded and rippled at the ankles. At the other extreme, brands applied the seams, darts and pleats you’d expect from tailored suiting to your basic straight-leg jeans.
“Denim continues to be a key focus, with our total investment up 10 per cent on last year,” the buying team at Matches explained in its seasonal report. “The spring/summer 2024 buy caters to all moods, from Raey’s best-selling Drop (the ultimate baggy jean), Insert Flare and Gait silhouettes, to Haikure’s exaggerated styles, as well as low-slung ’90s jeans from Mother and fresh white shades from Agolde.” Denim was also an important foundation at Sabato De Sarno’s debut at Gucci for spring/summer 2024, where models wore indigo baggy jeans with crystal-adorned knitwear and slouchy faded low-rise jeans with heavily-embellished Jackie bags. But it’s not all about jeans, as shorts were a dominant trend across all four cities (including at Gucci), with the likes of Alexander McQueen, Laquan Smith and Valentino making us excited about denim short-shorts and Bermudas again.
If you are thinking of adding some new to your denim collection, keep reading for the six trends that are bound to impact how we get dressed over the next 12 months.
Dark denim washes
Deep indigo washes always give denim a more polished and upscale look, and a number of designers presented tailored jeans and separates in dark rinses. Gucci, Miu Miu and Helmut Lang are all driving this trend, and interestingly on the runway they all styled this wash with a restricted colour palette of midnight blue and camel.
’90s straight-leg jeans
Straight-leg light-wash jeans that you’d have seen Kate Moss or Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy wear in the early ’90s have been trending for several seasons now, and this will remain the favoured cut of minimalists in 2024 and beyond. Tove’s pairs have a slightly baggier trouser leg, while Proenza Schouler adds a point of interest to this classic style with a layered waistband detailing.