Over the last few months, we’ve witnessed the public health Coronavirus crisis trickle its way into impacting almost every corner of life from schooling to office structure, leaving many industries to adapt quickly in order to survive. For the fashion industry, this meant a lot of things — some of them actually a positive. The slowed-down nature of life and work during a pandemic has prompted much-needed reflection from the industry as a whole, surrounding everything from fashion’s need for greater diversity to the unsustainable nature of the rapid fashion cycle.

Looking ahead to fall 2020 fashion trends, the likeliness of many consumers to gravitate toward trends that are conscious of longevity, comfort and versatility in light of financial burden or less time in doors brought on by COVID-19 is undeniable. But for many, experimental dressing still serves as a creative escape during uncertain times. To that end, the bolder trends of the fall 2020 runway haven’t gone unnoticed. Some, such as the sleek, risqué look of latex, have already begun generating buzz.

Rubberwear’s overtly visible presence has existed in the fashion industry, predominantly in entertainment, for decades, but as a once taboo (and still often sexualized) fabrication, it manages to maintain its element of surprise even today. The use of the plant-derived substance as clothing dates back to the 19th-Century, where latex became a key element in improving protective wear in medicine and war fields. Later embraced by fetus organizations, the vegan material developed its well-known reputation as a sensual fabric in the 1900s, it’s use becoming increasingly underground due to conservatism before regaining visibility in fashion in the 1950s. Since, its head turning nature has had mass appeal in celebrity culture, from Rihanna to Nicki Minaj. 

That the latex trend would explode for the upcoming season is not entirely unexpected. “Latex has consistently been a common thread amongst fabrications seen for the past few seasons,” Creative Consultant, Amanda Murray tells ESSENCE. “[But] it appears as though it’s “re-emerged” because Anthony Vaccarello made such a strong statement for Saint Laurent by incorporating it in almost every look from the Fall 2020 collection.” Similarly Olivier Rousteing co-signed the trend with a latex touch to a significant fraction of Balmain’s Fall 2020 runway looks, two of them being displaying full on rubberwear. 

PARIS, FRANCE – FEBRUARY 28: A model walks the runway during the Balmain Ready to Wear fashion show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2020-2021 on February 28, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by SAVIKO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Not long after, despite limitations on dressing imposed by the Coronavirus, the edgy style of dress has echoed in pop culture, signaling the large possibility of the trickle down effect to mainstream fashion in months to come. In May, the musical duo, Chloe x Halle dropped cover art for their album, “Ungodly Hour”, in which the pair was drenched in latex. “Wearing latex in 90+ degree weather is no walk in the park,” they later wrote. Zerina Akers, the stylist behind Ungodly Hour, again dressed the duo in latex accents for a feature in TMRW Mag. 

For Cardi B. and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” video, stylist Kollin Carter dressed Normani in custom Venus Prototype Latex, an unexpected twist on the fabric which featured a houndstooth print and was inspired by Azzadine Alaia circa 1990. 

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While the state of the world mid-pandemic has indeed re-directed fall fashion trends in a direction which embraces essential dressing, Heather Gramstom, Head of Womenswear at Brown’s Fashion tells The Zoe Report to expect elements of power dressing (latex included) this fall as a nod to the ‘80s and women empowerment. Murray says the trend is likely appear in a more subtle fashion than what we’ve seen from celeb styling, suggesting pairing a latex thigh-high boot with a chunky knitted sweater (after all, going full on latex is no easy feat). 

In future months, a break from sweats and leggings will be much needed, and this trend is just in time to make fashion fun again. From footwear, to a latex mini skirt paired with tights, there are loads of non-intimidating ways to incorporate this 2020 trend into your rotation.

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