Sportswear absent from SS19 catwalks

London - If there is one stand-out trend from the global spring summer 2019 catwalk season it would be the return of tailoring and dressing up. After nearly half a decade of sportswear dominated runways, the luxury houses are emphasising femininity and tailoring as streetwear begins to take a back seat.

Hedi Slimane at Celine, however controversial his first collection, didn’t show a single sneaker on the catwalk, despite sneakers being a commercial necessity for most designer brands, including parent company LVMH.

Sportswear absent from SS19 catwalks

Photo: Valentino SS19, Catwalkpictures.com

Where once the classic suit was on the endangered species list, SS19 is a season full of suiting solutions, and modern tailoring lies at its heart. At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquiere opted for sharpness, like a razor-cut zip-up blazer with a drop shoulder and oversized lapel. Matching trousers were straight and cropped, featuring a loop finishing in the side seam. At Louis Vuitton, too, sportswear was largely absent.

Sportswear absent from SS19 catwalks

Photo: Rick Owens SS19, Catwalkpictures.com

Even at Balenciaga, where designer Demna Gvasalia started a near hoodie revolution, hoodies were nowhere to be seen. A series of robes-manteaux opened the show, followed by dresses in many guises: strappy, one-shouldered, bodycon and high-collared. Even the giant logo was reduced to a discreet placement on a side seam, less graphic and prominent, just visible enough to not eschew the Maison's label-loving customer.

The sporty cross body bag, a key trend last season, has become functional and elegant, with details borrowed from more casual styles. But even as designers are favouring more classic shapes, it is never at the expense of fashion. Buckles and hardware keep accessories luxe and ready for business.

Sportswear absent from SS19 catwalks

Photo: Balenciaga SS19, Catwalkpictures.com

One of my favourite trends of the season is minimalism. There was a real focus on elevated basics; the perfect jacket, a timeless dress. Where the styles were more sporty, they were less athletic and focused on quality, like at Jil Sander where design duo Luke and Lucie Meier showed the perfect work shirt and smocks, sporty for sure, but in monochrome versions it was utilitarian and chic.

The end of sneaker mania?

Comfort is a trend that is here to stay. Even at Valentino, arguable the best show of Paris fashion week, flat comfy shoes proved versatile necessities, like feather covered sandals and low key espadrilles were worn with lace embroidered evening wear and those sumptuous billowing dresses that opened the show. Sneakers will no doubt be a strong selling item for many luxury brands - Valentino’s Rock Stud version are one of its best selling categories - but across the major fashion shows designers largely avoided featuring them on the catwalks.

Sportswear absent from SS19 catwalks

Photo: Balenciaga SS19, Catwalkpictures.com

There is a new wearability found in functional fashion, but it has elevated sportswear to something altogether more elegant. Bring on SS19.

Main photos: Valentino SS19, catwalkpictures.com