Old-school Prep Back With Fresh Twist for Spring

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Prep got an edgy twist for spring 2024, as designers presented updated takes on American sportswear classics.

For his spring collection, WWD’s designer of the year Dries Van Noten set out to make the familiar tropes of collegiate style unfamiliar. “We really explored things that material-wise are straightforward,” he told executive West Coast editor Booth Moore, “but turned and twisted, subverted and made them into something else better.”

More from WWD

Mission accomplished. Buyers including Net-a-porter’s Kate Benson, Neiman Marcus’ Jodie Khan and Alix Morabito of Galeries Lafayette lauded Van Noten for his sporty take on the trend, mixing rugby, cricket and tennis uniforms with shrunken club jackets and khaki Bbermuda shorts.

Geek and jock fashion collided at another buyer favorite from Paris: Miu Miu, where Miuccia Prada executed her character study of classroom archetypes on an A-list lineup, including actors Troye Sivan, Cailee Spaeny and Mame Bineta Sane who wore nerdy glasses and colorful Band-Aids on their heels and toes. “It felt like an anti-glamour statement, although glamor was never far away,” observed international editor Miles Socha, pointing to the chunky crystal necklaces, which were layered over navy blue polo shirts.

Polos were a repetitive element in Prada’s lineup, worn with the collars popped over everything from flared micro skirts to board shorts. A hallmark of preppy style, polos emerged as a key item this season, also spotted in Milan at Gucci with the brand’s signature green and red webbing and at Jil Sander, accented with silver metal rings.

At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson made long sheer dresses out of his polos and showed them as tops layered under V-neck and quarter-zip sweaters. “I’m loving daywear at the moment,” Jonathan Anderson declared to Socha who thought, “the look fell somewhere between boyish and awkward” when matched with high-waist pants that reached the sternum

Other references to prep on the European runways included varsity stripes at Benetton, mixed plaids at Marni and Louis Vuitton and twinsets at Bora Aksu.

Still, the preppy look is rooted in the American ivy league, and designers in New York laid claim to that legacy. The polo was again the star, showing up at Puppets and Puppets, Theory and Tory Burch.

And although Ralph Lauren focused on western wear for his return to New York Fashion Week — “bringing a taste of RRL ranch to Brooklyn Navy Yard,” as Moore put it — he did offer madras skirts, logo crest blazers and a polo shirt for evening, refreshed in gold.

Launch Gallery: Spring 2024 Trends: Preppy

Best of WWD