Summer is always a time to flex your sartorial sensibilities. Because it’s a season where you’re expected to (and probably will) wear less, every garment counts. Summer 2016 was an interesting season, both the hottest record for temperatures and also for what went on in the Highsnobiety universe. Streetwear continued its ascent to the top, while that the fashion world’s own high- and low-definitions continued to blur.
And while it’s now September, we thought that before it descends into full-blown fall and winter fashion mode, now is a good time to take stock and look at the collections and releases for the spring/summer 2016 (SS16) season that stood out from the rest. In the second category of our special Highsnobiety Summer Crowns of 2016, presented by Old Spice, we want to know which collection, you think, deserves special mention and should win the best SS16 collection Summer Crown.
A small caveat before we present the shortlist however: we know that fashion seasons can sometimes be difficult to keep track of, so we thought we’d keep it simple and look at collections that were intended or released for the spring/summer 2016 season that has just passed. So this encompasses collections presented last summer (in 2015) and collections released this year that were intended for the summer months.
Gucci continued its upward trajectory under the masterful whimsical stewardship of fashion wizard Alessandro Michele, Raf Simons did Raf Simons-abstracted, while UNDERCOVER’s retrospective was a masterpiece in intelligent, authentic, and referential streetwear. Meanwhile, the Triferg and the Three Stripes continued their current domination of the British streetwear debate with a supremely on-point SS16 collection, and sacai’s incredible and elegant SS16 collection deconstructed stylistic references that reached back to the early days of house music and New York’s Paradise garage of the 1980s.
We want to know what you guys think so read on for our thoughts and scroll to the bottom to vote. Voting closes in 7 days, with final winners announced September 30. And don’t forget to vote for your favorite sneaker release of summer, either.
Raf Simons SS16
Although while still at Dior (and, as we now know, feeling a tad creatively stretched), Raf Simons nevertheless rocked Paris last year with an abstract, slightly dark and brooding collection for summer 2016. Mysterious oversized hoods and chains paired up with the designer’s trademark oversized outwear, while print and subtle motifs replaced the cut-n-paste graphics of SS15. The color palette was also notably autumnal, which added to the collection’s brooding nature but, at the same time, made it seem more at one with the warm summery hours of darkness than the sweltering daylight brightness. Midriffs were exposed too in a continuation of the move towards non-gender defined clothing, cementing the fact that androgyny in fashion is far from being some passing trend or fad.
One of the biggest stories of 2016 so far has been the transformation of the luxury fashion house under the bohemian, whimsical touch of Alessandro Michele into a brand that is defining the look of now. For us, it started with the brand’s shots for SS16, with an incredibly lush, ’70s-inspired hazy editorial shoot across West Berlin lensed by Glen Luchford that encompassed roof tops, sunsets, Cold War-era locations and a model holding a peacock riding a skateboard in a shopping mall. Cos: peacocking.
UNDERCOVER SS16 “THE GREATEST” Collection
Presented as a masterful retrospective of the storied Japanese streetwear label’s 25-year history, Jun Takahashi debuted at Paris Fashion Week “THE GREATEST” collection of spring/summer outfits. With a selection of instantly wearable garments, outfits and looks mixed design cues from a galaxy far, far away with the “But Beautiful”, “T”, “Openstrings”, “Psycho Color”, “Leaf”, “Exchange”, “Relief”, “Ambivalence”, “Scab”, “Paper Doll”, “Languid” and “Interlocking Panels” collections from the last 21 years the label has been making seasonal drops. Dictionary definition streetwear by a true master.
adidas Originals x Palace’s First SS16 Drop
Palace continued its inexorable rise to the top of the British streetwear scene thanks to its SS16 drop with adidas Originals. As with their accompanying sneaker offering, the designs were thoroughly rooted in UK street culture and aesthetics which itself is largely dominated by football and the look of the pitch. The tactile collection of tracksuits, tees and a thoroughly practical gym sack, towel and cap was simple and entirely effective. Honest streetwear that still managed to generate serious queues around the block.
For the Japanese label’s SS16 menswear offering, Chitose Abe took inspiration from a seminal moment in New York’s history, as well as that of electronic music more broadly: the Paradise Garage club of 1980s New York. Texture, shade, and shape all played their part, but it was really through the menswear offering that color came to the fore. The label seeks to present “a hybrid of all periods and places and genders,” with it implied breaking down of barriers mirrored through the collection’s thoroughly deconstructivist approach. Despite looking heavy, the layered looks were actually composed of garments made from light materials, with detachable elements weaved in and out.
The winners of the inaugural Highsnobiety 2016 Summer Crowns will be announced September 30.