Fashion week is where trends are born. It’s a place for designers to experiment and for buyers, editors, and trend forecasters to predict (or in some cases, decide) what’s going to be hot in the coming seasons. Back in January, our report from the FW18 edition of London Fashion Week Men’s picked up on the shift toward The Matrix-style aesthetics, which has now materialized as the trend for tiny sunglasses.

Looking back at the various Fashion Weeks in June, one trend that appears to be blowing up both on and off the runway is snakeskin. Fashion is cyclical, and any seasoned watcher will tell you that trends come in and out of style — it’s rare to see something genuinely new on the runway. It makes perfect sense that the python motif would once again find a place in the style zeitgeist; it’s gender-neutral, garish AF, and hints at danger.

While in the past, rare animal skins were a must-have status symbol (virtually every luxury house in the world has slaughtered snakes for the sake of shoes and bags), these days snake-like patterns are more often replicated onto less controversial fabrics.

Loud, eye-catching prints have been trending in general recently, but there’s something about snake print that feels particularly loud. If you had any doubt that bold patterns wouldn’t translate to the streets, check out our street style report from Milan Fashion Week.

Below we’ve identified a few brands that used python in their SS19 shows. But let’s not forget that away from the runway, Supreme was already dropping snake prints across shirts, pants, and even tents days before Fashion Week even begun.

Saint Laurent

Before Fashion Week officially kicked off in London, Anthony Vaccarello staged his Saint Laurent menswear show in New Jersey with a New York skyline in the background. This dramatic setting was the first place we saw snake motifs, which were used on Chelsea boots, skinny belts, and shirt detailing.

SSS World Corp

SSS World Corp founder Justin O’Shea is hell-bent on bringing the suit back into contemporary menswear. At his brand’s SS19 show, snake print took center stage, realized in dazzling silver and brown colorways on suit jackets, pants, and even on ties.

Kenzo

Highsnobiety / Eva Al Desnudo

Kenzo’s SS19 collection was all about positive feelings and a carefree amalgamation of different styles. Here’s a fine example of how python print can be married with something totally different for a powerful contrast, in Kenzo’s case a blue polka dot print.

1017 ALYX 9SM

Perhaps the most committed use of python print came at the very end of Paris Fashion Week in 1017 ALYX 9SM’s debut show. Matthew Williams employed a white, classic, and even red colorway of the print across garments and accessories. The most striking look, however, was the pants and shirt, which were styled together for maximum effect and previewed by some of the show’s attendees.

Martine Rose

Martine Rose

Martine Rose, who’s got a soft spot for wild animal patterns, used snakeskin (or more likely, snake-patterned leather) on a line of heavy-duty, square-toed loafers. It sounds luxe, but the ever-humble London designer chose to honor her hometown by staging her show on a street in Camden, inviting residents and locals to see the collection, too.

Hermes

Getty Images / Peter White

Ultra-expensive skins are a Hermes calling card. The house specializes in a particular kind of extravagance, one that’s visually understated but still outrageously luxe. Back in 2013, the house produced what was, at the time, the world’s most expensive T-shirt, made from crocodile skin. The price? A mere $91,500. For SS19, the house sent out a series of breezy, summer-ready snake-patterned staples. Lightweight knits, tees, and best of all, boxy track pants were recreated with snake-patterned fabrics.

What do you make of the python trend? Is it going to catch on and do you plan to join in? Let us know in the comments.

Words by Max Grobe
Associate Fashion Editor
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