The critics will always have their opinions, but if you think about it, fashion buyers really have the inside track on what women want to wear. With retail data at their disposal and shopping instincts in their bones, online fashion buyers are some of the savviest industry insiders at the shows. And while we may admire them for their street style smarts (and ability to make one suitcase work for an entire month of fashion events), what we'd also like to know is their thoughts on the labels to watch, pieces to invest in and trends to buy.     

Fresh from attending a gruelling month of fashion shows, parties and endless flutes of French champagne, Stylebop.com's head of womenswear Coco Chan chats to Buro 24/7 Australia's Yeong Sassall on the highs and lows of international Fashion Week S/S '18.

What have been some of your favourite shows this season?
Raf Simons is definitely hitting his stride at CALVIN KLEIN 205W39NY. I love the mixture of utility fabrics and romantic mid-century silhouettes. The result had a David Lynch type of vibe that felt right for the moment and those nylon dresses were a great and unexpected option for evening. Brock Collection also offered a fresh take on all American polish with beautifully crafted dresses.

Buyer's guide: Stylebop's Coco Chan weighs in on Fashion Month

In London, Simone Rocha spun lightness and transparency (a key trend for the season) into pieces that were fanciful but also approachable. Versace stole the spotlight in Milan with a parade of head-to-toe pastels, heritage prints and metal-mesh dresses. It was an homage worthy of Gianni and the supermodel reunion finale might be the fashion moment of the season (or at least the most Instagramed one).

Buyer's guide: Stylebop's Coco Chan weighs in on Fashion Month

I love the continued evolution of Balenciaga where Demna played with his own codes as well as those of a few other familiar houses. A dangerous game, to be sure, but it also underscored his subversive approach to luxury and it resulted in some smart and practical pieces. Saint Laurent also had a great moment and, with such an iconic setting, it made a strong case for the return of the 1980s.

Buyer's guide: Stylebop's Coco Chan weighs in on Fashion Month

What trends have you picked up on for S/S '18?
Art and crafts is a major force that emerged in all four cities. Think homespun (not hippie!) with tactile treatments like crochet, hand-weaving, fringe, frayed ends and patchwork that infuse ease and approachability into refined pieces. I would say this definitely tops my must-own list trends come spring and there are countless of great options, from Roksanda's raffia dresses to Balenciaga's fringed bags to name just a few.

It's also impossible to ignore the resurgence of the 1980s! The decade came back with a vengeance. For me, the most convincing and versatile iterations focused on cut (mutton sleeves, big shoulders, power tailoring) and provided some great focal pieces for daytime (see Celine, Agnona, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and, of course, Gucci).

Buyer's guide: Stylebop's Coco Chan weighs in on Fashion Month

Finally, transparency was also everywhere and I think this time it might stick. Designers found so many inventive ways of using diaphanous and semi-sheer fabrics to suggest and beguile but without showing too much skin. The effect was to bring intrigue to wardrobe mainstays, like shirts, midi skirts and daydresses. Particularly at Victoria Beckham and the debut design duo at Jil Sander the results were mesmerising.

Buyer's guide: Stylebop's Coco Chan weighs in on Fashion Month

In terms of street style and what people are wearing now, what are some of the standout trends you've seen?
Statement shirting continues to be a street style favourite, with Balenciaga and Vetements leading the charge. Reworked denim also isn't going anywhere and I was excited to spot a number of Y/Project fans in the front row. Suiting is also dominating the scene and as a big fan myself it's easy to see why: it's versatile, cool, put-together and it transitions easily from day to night - in short, it's every editor's dream!

What labels are buyers getting excited about?
Y/Project continues to impress with a sensibility that is uniquely their own. The high-low mash up and nod to bad taste definitely resonates with the Vetements energy, but Glenn Martens has crafted a singular identity that's put the brand firmly on the map. I'm excited to see where he takes us next!

Buyer's guide: Stylebop's Coco Chan weighs in on Fashion Month

Which key items from S/S '18 are on your personal wish list?
The elevated anorak is THE cover for spring and there are countless of beautiful options. I have my eye on a transparent version. A satin tank dress in lilac and light yellow is another a focal buy and a great way to work the trend easily into your wardrobe. If you haven't invested in suiting, now is your chance. Slouchy blazers and matching trousers in sandy neutrals are amazing and they look great when paired with unusual hues like lilac or periwinkle. Finally, a crafty touch - for me it'll likely be in the shape of a patchwork floral dress that has a slight heirloom feel or a fringed flourish that doesn't have a hint of boho. 

Buyer's guide: Stylebop's Coco Chan weighs in on Fashion Month