#1: Multiway Essentials

design trends

And we’re not referring to bras, though the same no-brainer logic applies: the more versatile, the more convenient, the more worthwhile. One from S/S ’18 that’s caught our eye? Celine’s trenchcoat that’s made with 12m of silk and cotton faille. The cotton half is cut like a long vest and is fused along the hem to the silk half that’s designed like a trench. What this means: You can wear it at least four ways.

#2: Truly Chic Smart Gadgets

design trends

Just how many things can we connect to our smartphones today? Too many. How many of them are actually beautiful? Not enough. So when something like Fujifilm’s Instax Share SP-3 printer comes along, we can’t help but dig it. While earlier models look more akin to modems, the latest – in matte black or white – can pass off as abstract sculptures. That it’s like your personal, portable instant photo booth is clever too: Load it with the brand’s Instax Square film, send over images from your phone or social media account (IG, FB, Weibo) using the dedicated app, and everyone will be queuing up for a Polaroid-style picture.

#3: Innovations Reinvented Right

design trendsFor all the pressure to shake up the status quo, not all updates of a good invention are equal (see iOS 11). The best kind should look and feel fresh, while still playing up the genius of the original. Cue Exhibit A: Bao Bao Issey Miyake’s recently debuted Prism Shoulder bag, which adapts the artistry and functionality of the brand’s signature tote into a never-before-seen, smallish cross-body. One of the trendiest styles from the label, its strap is adjustable via a slider hidden on the inside, so you can even transform it into a pochette for Spring’s early 2000s fashion revival.

#4: Democratic Galleries

design trends

Such spaces often spring up in unexpected locations like a mall or HDB estate. Whether what’s on show can be traditionally deemed as fine art is debatable – and that’s fine. One such venue that’s been on the lips of industry insiders recently is the independent, six-month-old Supernormal, housed amid a cluster of sleepy industrial shops along Kreta Ayer Road. 

One of its most memorable projects so far was Atelier Hoko’s Cafe Cup (left), which invited guests to sit and sip beverages from various cups to figure out the joy of drinking that could go beyond taste. This month, local embroidery artist Berny Tan will exhibit her hypnotic works, before furniture outfit Shibui Collective transforms the cosy 250 sq ft room into its workshop to “expose the craft process to the public”, says Ong Kian Peng, co-founder of the design studio Modular Unit, which runs the place. 

Its main goals, he explains, are to provide a platform for young, emerging artists and break down the idea of intellectual or “curated” art , which – if you ask us – is just about as unpretentious as art can get.

#5: Synthetic Fabrics With A Purpose

design trends

design trends

The couture-inspired pairing from Calvin Klein 205W39NYC above is made of glossy nylon, which is as sinuous as silk, but traditionally costs a fraction of it. The intentionally crinkled shell top from Cos (opposite) is made of Tyvek, most popularly used to clad construction. Both materials are lightweight, resilient, water-resistant, and give classically feminine garb a futuristic newness. And while they might not score points with eco-warrior types, they will help protect from the elements while Trump continues to debate climate change.

#6: Heritage, Not Vintage Style 

design trends

Because while the florid, grandma chic aesthetic that Gucci ignited over two years ago continues to trend, the truth is that not everyone can pull it off. The word “heritage” tends to connote something quieter and truer to its source inspiration, but equally of character, and few know it as well as the watch world. Tissot has brought back from its archives an industrial-looking 1948 chronograph, now with the handy addition of a date display and option of a Milanese bracelet (above) that raises its utilitarian cool. Meanwhile, Longines has resurrected an effortlessly elegant 1969 model with a cushion-shaped case from its museum. Complete with an alligator skin strap and a new automatic winding calibre, it sold out when it first hit stores (more pieces will arrive) – which goes to show that, sometimes, there’s no need for bells and whistles.

#7: Bold, Simple, Typography

You know, kind of like the type in Balenciaga’s revamped logo that was revealed last September, said to be inspired by “the clarity of public transportation signage”. Or what we’ve been using throughout this section and on our cover (it’s, in fact, been our house font since 2014). Besides being easy to read and hard to miss – two things sorely necessary to capture attention in our culture of overload – such typefaces have “a historical association with modernity”, points out Randy Yeo, design director of local design studio Practice Theory. You read?

This story first appeared in Female’s January 2018 issue. 

Like this? Check out the fun art supplies to get artsy and creative with this year, the coolest parties to check out in January and the events that’ll shake off your post-holiday blues