As leaves change and begin to drop quiet little wallflowers should probably think about staying home, because this season fashion has become seriously bolshy. The last nail in the normcore coffin was finally hammered in as designers sent their models down the catwalk swathed in shocks of pattern, riots of colour and screams of texture. Femininity was celebrated with tailoring that felt soft yet strong at the same time, and the waist being very much in evidence in most collections. In fact, feminism was implicit almost all over, with a brilliant no rules style of dressing making for quiet acts of sartorial rebellion; if an outfit really is a way of speaking without opening your mouth, this season apparently, we will all have a lot to get off our chests.
More Is More
This season designers flicked two fingers up at minimalism and instead embraced excess in many forms. Use of volume was literal at Balenciaga; with the undisputable genius that is Demna Gvasalia celebrating the fashion house’s rich history by referencing Christobal Balenciaga’s canon of superior super-sized structures. Molly Goddard, whose work is clearly inspired by the Spanish master, gave us more hyper-feminine, huge tulle numbers. Meanwhile Alessandro Michele over at Gucci went loud and proud with colour, print and embellishment. The spirit of go-big-or-go-home has never looked so appealing.
No, we’re not saying that you should head out dressed in head-to-toe lycra, rather that work wear is well, not just for work anymore, as the catwalk has come over all executive. And it’s no wonder really, from the woman who would have made much better incumbent of the White House and whose pant suits were nothing short of iconic, to ‘Joanne’-era Lady Gaga in her perfectly pink number, suits have been inescapable. And this season, across different catwalks they appeared in many guises: double-breasted at Victoria Beckham, deconstructed at Isabel Marant and nipped in at Stella McCartney, but one thing was clear - trousers should be wide-cut and billowing.
As sure as florals will make an appearance in spring, come winter, women across the country will be clamouring to dress like an extra ornament from the Christmas tree, regardless of trend. Happily, this season designers blessed the catwalks with more glitz than backstage at RuPaul’s drag race. And while there is reams of space-age silver out there, it’s the unconventional metallics that have sparked our interest. Continuing with its brilliant disco granny vibe, Gucci showed a collared and cuffed purple metallic dress, that slaps the word ‘basic’ in the face, Sadie Williams used all the crayons in the box for her rainbow, metallic gown, whereas Molly Goddard’s signature voluminous party dress was reimagined in green metallic. Basically, just embrace your inner Quality Street this winter.
Of textures that is. Celebrating individuality, this look takes no prisoners, which is funny because it can also be very playful with a real feel of raiding a dressing up box about it, albeit one that's filled with incredibly expensive dresses and wraps. Miuccia Prada sent a model down the catwalk at Prada in a frou-frou hemmed skirt, fringed jacket that used both suede and leathers AND a woolen jumper; then over at Miu Miu she made use of sequins, PVC, fur and beading - all of that was on one girl, and it really worked.
Maybe it’s the association with the chilly highlands, or the going-back-to-school-in-a-fresh-new-uniform-nostalgia, but there’s something very autumnal about tartan and check. It’s also a weirdly adaptable fabric, capable of taking on a different personality depending on how it’s cut and styled. Ashley Williams, pairing her bright tartans with hoodies and padded jackets made it youthful and oh so cool. Over at Loewe, Jonathan Anderson had imbued it with a ladylike elegance. The lesson here is that this autumn there’s a tartan out there for every clan.
Lady In Red
Red can be a tricky colour to wear, there’s something so overtly sexy about it that it can be cringe inducing, which is why it should be handled with care. This spring, pairing scarlet with baby pink softened it and made it more fun. For autumn, things have gotten a little more grown-up, with red combined with a sophisticated maroon at Roksanda or toughened up with leather touches, à la Versace and Alexander McQueen.
The hilarious novelty jumper might have been relegated to the ash heap of history but knitwear with personality is well and truly alive. Both Prada and Versace dressed models in neat fitting, knitted pencil skirts and sweaters, with clashing cardigans and tunics layered respectively. Too much wool? Go bold with print instead à la Isabel Marant and Chloé.
Blue Is The Warmest Colour
From navy, via royal, to powder - if you’re not in the red corner, then you will certainly find yourself in the blue. The Christian Dior collection, using tulle, velvet, check and denim, was almost entirely done in shades of blue. Roksanda showed cerulean (or should that be Miranda Priestly?) blue, meanwhile models in electric (Dries Van Noten), rich navy (The Row) and periwinkle (Celine) were in evidence across all fashion weeks.
The puffa jacket is all grown up. Quilted rather than padded, this season it comes in silky fabrics (Roksanda), soft shapes (Stella McCartney) and splashed with deconstructed florals (Mulberry). Unashamedly feminine this time around, it works swathed over a casual outfit, yet can be paired with smarter outfits as well, making it a lot easier to wear than its sporty cousin.