May 17, 2018

How Linen Went From Hippie Favorite To Summer Must-Have

Linen, once the mainstay of hippies and home furnishings, is experiencing a resurgence this season, thanks to designers reworking the natural fabric in a host of contemporary ways. Woven from the flax plant, linen has been used for clothing since Mesopotamian times, but has recently been relegated to resortwear, with floaty caftans and loose trousers.

But why are designers reviving linen now? It’s certainly a palate cleanser amid all the Gucci maximalism, as Candice Fragis, merchandising director at Farfetch, suggests: “It’s an elevated version of minimalism which works well alongside some of the more extreme trends — raw fabrics are more interesting and can also be so luxurious.” Linen’s return could also be a result of the drive to create more sustainable collections, as an eco-friendly but luxurious alternative to cotton.

“Linen has always been a great material for summer, but it has been suspiciously absent in designers’ collections over the last few seasons, with the exception of the resortwear category,” Ida Petersson, womenswear buying director at Browns, explains. “Due to the massive growth that this category has experienced in the last two years, it feels natural that more designers are getting braver and experimenting with it again to great success.”

At Loewe, linen waterfall-hemmed skirts in forest green with tan detailing put the statement skirt front and center, while black linen shirt dresses with contrasting white buttons schooled us on easy summer workwear. Rejina Pyo offered linen in contemporary way, too: Her spring 2018 show gave practical favorites, like the trench and pencil skirt, a feminine twist. Staud’s summer collection features linen tabard dresses with lace-up detailing and spaghetti-strap jumpsuits perfect for sunny days, while Nanushka’s striped trousers are made modern with wraparound blouses with balloon sleeves. And that’s just the start of it.

Ahead, 25 linen dresses, tops, pants, and more that will make anyone a convert of summer’s lightweight comeback kid.

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