Spring Summer 2019's surfer trend, as seen on the runways at Proenza Schouler (left) and Prada (right)
Proenza Schouler followed with some polished takes on tied-and-dyed, while Michael Kors and Anna Sui turned to Hawaii – where surfing is thought to have originated – with tropical prints on swimwear, bucket hats and board shorts.
In Milan, Prada played the surfing theme with more tie-dye prints, printed neoprene-esque tops, and rash-guard-like surf socks. Etro brought surfer-girl cool (and two actual surfers) to the runway with a boho and breezy line aptly titled Pacific Zen.
Buckets of tie-dye hit MSGM’s extra-long knits in punchy, almost punk-like hues, for a modern take on the fabric dyeing technique.
Point Break, a classic surf movie, was the clear inspiration behind Sportmax’s show, which was especially loaded with surf references. Here, looks featured stylised surfwear and shell anklets, dresses in technical nylon ruched with drawstrings, bikini tops under relaxed suit jackets, slides and slouchy backpacks, and leather board shorts – admittedly unpractical on any real beach – paired with wetsuit-style T-shirts.
Another giant, Dior, took on the sea in Paris with more acid wash and artisanal tie-dye on beautifully crafted garbs – a feminine and edgy interpretation of surf’s laid-back, easy-does-it vibe.
Labels to watch embraced the trend too: newcomer Marine Serre’s second catwalk show featured a decidedly utilitarian and sporty aesthetic in the form of wetsuits and neoprene bodysuits, not to mention a showstopping scuba-suit ball gown with voluminous ruffles. In London, Rejina Pyo threw pastel-hued tropical motifs and zingy neon green on short-sleeved shirts, and Richard Malone sent out rash-guard-inspired tops.
But fashion’s fascination with surf culture and lifestyle isn’t new. The two have been crossing paths for decades, ever since surfing began gaining popularity in the 50s and pro surfers started looking at flair as an element as important as function in their outfits in and out of water – a way to display their edginess and carefree style. Together with the first wetsuits – made of bright neoprene pieces and first introduced in the early 50s by American businessman Jack O’Neill – stripes, blue jeans and tailor-made trunks were the garbs of the day. The first surf clothing brand, San Francisco-based Sundek, was established in 1958, further helping create a specific surf aesthetic.
In the span of a few years, as Hollywood the sport and broadened its appeal with films like The Endless Summer, Big Wednesday and Ride the Wild Surf, surf style began expanding its gamut, cycling through different trends just like ready-to-wear did.