What Do The Big Shoulders On The Spring ’17 Runways Mean?

Off-the-shoulder tops are on their way out - you have been warned

The shoulders on the Jil Sander runway were American footballer sized. I mean, GIANT. Some of the silhouettes and fabrics also felt quite ’80s – there were a couple of pin-striped suiting looks that would’ve suited Melanie Griffith in Working Girl – but there was more going on with these shoulders than mere throwback.

Jil Sander Spring ’17 (Credit: Getty )

Whether exaggeratedly curved in plisse silk to form a disc-like silhouette, or aggressively wide and square in leather or suiting fabrics, these shoulders speak of both strength and cocooning in an uncertain world.

Jil Sander has always been an avant-garde label, and while Sander herself has moved on, current creative director Rodolfo Paglialunga has picked up the boundary-testing approach and run with it. But it was another iconoclastic brand that ushered in the too-big-for-you look: Vetements. It’ll be interesting to see if they stick with it for Spring ’17.

At Marni, too, pumped up volume was the focus, with sleeves sipping below the finger tips, baggy shirt dresses, ruched to give structure, and over-sized canvas trenches anchored by enormous pockets and bags. Here, the silhouette was looser and more free; the ultra-wide and dropped shoulders somehow looked graceful. Still, it takes a while to get your eye in – we’re just not used to these shapes yet.

Marni Spring ’17 (Credit: Getty )
Marni Spring ’17 (Credit: Getty )

Even those who didn’t embrace them zeroed in on the enclosed shoulder as a source of fascination. Dolce and Gabbana covered theirs in gold tassels, military braid and flowers. Dsquared2’s jackets featured exaggerated puffed sleeves in contrasting pink, green and purple silk.

Dsquared2 Spring ’17 (Credit: Getty )

You’re probably not going to wear them, right? But don’t go thinking this has nothing to do with you. With barely a cold shoulder in sight on the Spring ’17 runways, this signals the death-knell for those off-the-shoulder tops everyone is wearing now. We’d reached peak OTS top anyway, I reckon. Time for a change.

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