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It’s Always Sunny on the Runway: 12 Fashion Shows With an Endless-Summer Mood

It’s Always Sunny on the Runway: 12 Fashion Shows With an Endless-Summer Mood

I don’t mean to be apocalyptic, but this weekend is officially the last of the summer. Panicking? I definitely am. There are so many floral shirts, seashell anklets, and tropical trousers I’ve yet to wear that I’ve entered a fugue state. How will I possibly manage to fit all these important ’fits into the next four days? If you too are feeling overwhelmed by the arrival of fall and all its sartorial traditions—argyle, plaids, trenches, bourgeois Celine skirts!—may I offer a small solution: Live like it’s summer all year long by taking fashion inspiration from 12 of the most summery fashion shows we have covered on Vogue Runway.

From Chanel’s beachside set in the Grand Palais to Thom Browne’s poolside couture, fashion loves nothing more than an homage to hot sun, great tans, and that easy-going, summertime spirit. Relive the best ones below.

Calvin Klein’s Spring 1996 collection was a rare entrée into the world of color for the famously monochrome designer. This maxidress, worn by Kirsty Hume, evokes the colors of a beach day.
Gianni Versace’s Spring 1997 butterfly prints have become one of the most recognizable Versace signatures, especially after his sister, Donatella, brought them back into circulation for her 20th-anniversary collection. On the runway the lepidoptera-printed dress was accompanied by a beach tote and towel.
Long before over-the-top sets were the norm, Dolce & Gabbana created a summer haven for its Spring 2000 show meant to replicate the alfresco stalls of a Sicilian market. What to wear there? Printed tights, micro-minis, and blouson tops. Only for the brave.
Neoprene and scuba seaming have long been obsessions of Nicolas Ghesquière. For his Spring 2003 show at Balenciaga, he combined his interests into this tropically minded minidress.
Offering a practical solution to summer heat is Martin Margiela, whose Spring 2006 show featured models wearing colored ice as necklaces. As the ice melted it left dye marks over the white garments. Think of them as the progenitors of this summer’s viral wine jumpsuit.
Summer isn’t all hot, hot heat—at Marc Jacobs’s Spring 2007 show for Louis Vuitton, the designer focused on the romantic flora of the north to create a collection of spritely pieces. The best accessory? An actually cool flower crown.
Prada put its own spin on summer style with its Spring 2010 show, which featured a “nuclear beach” print on jackets, tops, and shorts. Not exactly escapist but still highly coveted.
For those who missed the original summer of love, enter Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2015 runway show. Models walked over a grasslike carpet in groovy, psychedelic garments, emerging at the show’s end to lie down and tune out the world.
Raf Simons turned up the heat at Dior with this Resort 2016 show held at Pierre Cardin’s summer home in the South of France. Not only was the setting idyllic but the collection offered a loosening up of Simons’s strict tailoring via pleated skirts and comfortable knit dresses.
Few designers have as big a beach obsession as Thom Browne, who has returned to swimwear, pool culture, and surfing as references season after season. For Spring 2017 he created his entire womenswear collection as trompe l’oeil dresses that models unzipped at the end of the show to reveal bathing suits underneath.
Chanel has offered up many beachside sojourns over the years, but it will be hard to top Karl Lagerfeld’s Spring 2019 set. With real sand and flowing waves, the indoor replica of Lagerfeld’s favorite beaches in Sylt provided an idyllic backdrop to graphic swimwear and easy Chanel suits—no shoes required.
No one loves summer quite like Simon Porte Jacquemus. For his Spring 2020 show, he brought the fashion set to Provence to take in his workwear and straw hats among fields of lavender.