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trends & subculturesWednesday, March 22, 2017

Straight from the Catwalk: Graphic Tees

The trend reached a crescendo on Spring '17 runways, with models sporting women's graphic T-shirts in noteworthy numbers, from the vacuous slogans (‘Haircut!’) on Ashley Williams clothing to replica logos at Gucci, designed to appear fake.


Look no further than Farfetch to shop the statement tees and logo tops look.

Making a statement

Slogan tees formed the bulk of the nouveau take on the trend for Spring '17, often appearing in the unlikeliest of places. Revered fashion house Christian Dior – not exactly known for politicizing its clothing – created a tee declaring “We Should All Be Feminists.” Fittingly, this strong statement came during Maria Grazia Chiuri’s first season as Creative Director of the storied label. The Italian designer is the first woman to take the helm of the house since its launch in 1946.

Graphic contrasts

Marques AlmeidaMarques Almeida  feminized graphic tees for women on its Spring '17 runway, layering slip dresses in varying materials – including effervescent, translucent chiffons – over its white tops.  In a similar take on contrast, style influencer Olivia Palermo wore a "Dio(r)evolution" tee in October 2016, leaving her white blazer open to reveal the phrase. As seen on the runway at Dior, she tucked her top into a sheer tulle maxi skirt, before giving the look a hard-luxe edge with a 90s choker – and chunky ankle boots. Palermo proved that it pays to avoid the expected jeans with vintage graphic tees, instead experimenting with an incongruous mix of styles and fabrics. Her look calls other perfect mismatches to mind: imagine her tee with a silky ribbed midi skirt from Kenzo and a pair of studded, floral-embroidered Alexander McQueen boots

Tongue firmly in cheek, Henry Holland updated the oversized Fashion Groupie tees he debuted a decade ago, name-checking the latest models and designers with pithy rhymes such as “Suck on my toe Phoebe Philo” or “Let's breed Bella Hadid.” 

Again, his cute graphic tees were worn boyfriend-style as super-mini dresses on the runway, this time teamed with lace-up gingham shoes and boots. A tee that shouts "Do me daily Christopher Bailey" worn without pants might be a step too far for street style, but luckily Maison Margiela's wet-look leggings pair well.

A retro about-face

Labels such as Jeremy Scott and Kenzo both used tees to nod to the '80s. The women printed onto the shirts in Scott’s slime-covered collection – a reference to Nickelodeon – wore heavy eyeliner and bright lipstick, while Kenzo T-shirts featured juicy-hued Polaroid-style prints of models. 

Graphic tees have long been a mainstay in fashion, but their popularity on the runway spiked in Spring '17. By its nature, a graphic tee reflects the era of its creation – its mood, its focus, its values – making it both a time capsule and an ever-changing medium. With each new season, a fresh slogan or image becomes perfectly appropriate. 

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