Fall/Winter 2019 collections have been showing at major fashion cities since the start of the year, and sometimes the sheer number of new looks can become overwhelming. Naturally, a few shows were bound to steal the limelight, including celebrity-laden events such as Dior, Raf Simons, and Louis Vuitton.

To cut through the noise and hype, it's important to find out which collections piqued the interest of discerning industry insiders. We're talking about those attendees who were there not just for the glamor and freebies, but for the capital-F F-A-S-H-I-O-N.

Here, we speak to Style Zeitgeist editor and fashion writer Eugene Rabkin, founder of retailer SmetsPascaline Smets, and stylist for the likes of Pusha-T, Marcus Paul, about what FW19 really delivered and how best to navigate the new styles when collections drop this fall.

Tell us about the overall vibe for FW19. What can we expect in terms of trends and themes?

Eugene Rabkin: I was very happy that the independent designers with their own signature styles came out swinging and put out excellent collections. They are increasingly important in a world where fashion has been taken over by corporate interests. I hope the strength of the independents will be the theme of the season and that consumers will follow. I never notice trends — I have always championed individuality in style, so this language is foreign to me.

industry insiders fw19 fashion Kiko Kostadinov Pariah Farzeneh TAKAHIRAMIYASHITATheSoloist
Raf Simons FW19
Raf Simons

Pascaline Smets: Tailoring is back but in a very specific mood. Soft and easy with a fresh attitude. Animal prints for a wild touch. Long overcoats in vibrant colors: pink, purple, orange. Technical down jackets — many designers explored the puffer jacket in an interesting and innovative direction. Maxi scarves. Street and contemporary artist collaborations. Movie and comic-inspired graphics.

Marcus Paul: The overall vibe for FW19 is about creating a mood with new silhouettes and more tailoring. It's a hybrid of tailoring mixed with a bit of technical gear and a bit of leisure. The use of more color for menswear. I also think for FW19, you will see more fuller, baggier trousers with a more modern silhouette, in addition to seeing more technical footwear like trail running shoes and hiking boots.

What were your favorite FW19 shows?

Rabkin: TAKAHIROMIYASHITATheSoloist for the theme, the complexity of thought that goes into his designs, and the human fragility of the show. Rick Owens for giving it his best to glamorous sleaze, his modus operandi, and for marching to the beat of his own drum. He is a true auteur. UNDERCOVER for giving A Clockwork Orange the in-your-face treatment it deserves and reminding us that a fashion show at its finest is a form of theater. Yohji Yamamoto for reminding us yet again what a grandmaster he is. Dries Van Noten for striking the absolute right balance between seriousness and frivolity, and for continuing to dress adults, not overgrown children.

industry insiders fw19 fashion Kiko Kostadinov Pariah Farzeneh TAKAHIRAMIYASHITATheSoloist
Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

Smets: Louis Vuitton, UNDERCOVER, ALYX, Dior, and Paria Farzaneh.

Paul: My favorite shows for this season were Dries Van Noten on top of the list and Raf Simons, ALYX, sacai, and Craig Green.

Which new labels and designers should we be looking out for this season?

Rabkin: I was impressed by Fumito Ganryu's Paris debut and I hope he continues to cultivate his approach of elevating streetwear into real fashion design.

Pascaline: Paria Farzaneh — she's really one of my favorites! Also Kiko Kostadinov, Casablanca, and 000 Worldwide. It’s all about culture and each of these designers tell a real story based on heritage, experimentation, knowledge, and craftsmanship.

Paul: Some new labels and designers to look out for are Templa, Namacheko, BOTTER, Casablanca, and Paria Farzaneh.

And which specific pieces should we be looking to grab?

Rabkin: Any piece of outerwear by TheSoloist — the construction is simply mind-blowing. I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing around with those garments and came away very impressed — fashion design at its finest. The tie-dye pieces at Dries Van Noten were totally gorgeous. Van Noten is a rare talent who can take kitsch and elevate it into art. I'm also in love with the single-breasted trench coats at kolor. They were a very fresh take on a beaten-to-death classic.

industry insiders fw19 fashion Kiko Kostadinov Pariah Farzeneh TAKAHIRAMIYASHITATheSoloist
Dires Van Noten FW19
Dries Van Noten

Smets: Paria Farzaneh’s down jacket, Loewe’s patchwork jumper, Nike x UNDERCOVER, Dior’s vest, Louis Vuitton’s yellow brick sweater, and Raf Simons' piercing coat.

Paul: A specific piece to look out for is the ALYX puffer coat with nylon buckle. It looks like velvet vinyl and is sure to be a staple.

What shopping advice would you give to people on a budget this season?

Rabkin: Buy used clothes. The vintage market is oversaturated and prices are at a historic low. As a sometime seller, I don't like it, and I detest people who don't know the value of things — thank you, Grailed — but it is a buyers' market.

Smets: Better to buy fewer pieces but good ones that you can keep forever and that act as a testament of the generation. Fashion designers, like artists, singers, and architects, tell the story of our generation.

Paul: Shopping advice would be to mix it up. Get a nice coat — worth the splurge — and shop a bit of vintage and workwear. One can look great even on a budget.

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