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Fashion Month in Review – AW17

Now ‘fashion month’ has passed and we’ve all had time to reflect on 4 cities and more catwalk shows than you can shake a stick at, I always like to look back and see what key trends can be taken into our wardrobes for AW17. The main theme straight off the bat is the same as the last few seasons, and that is modern dressing for modern women. Even the most luxury labels are relaxing the fit, cut and overall aesthetic to make clothes as practical and comfortable for the wearer as they are beautiful. This mainly consists of focusing on classic shapes such as a sheath dress or slouchy tailoring but making these simple items in luxe fabrics and delicious colours. My favourite shows didn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel, but rather make the most gorgeous, useful and multi-functional wheel I’d ever seen. Ok before this metaphor gets too obscure let’s begin in New York….

NYFW kicked off the month with collections that were full of effortless glamour; a woman who has a busy day at the office and then an impossibly chic cocktail party to attend had her pick of day to evening chic separates. Alongside the classic pretty frocks the label is known for, Oscar de la Renta (above centre) showed a collection which had very wearable black tailoring paired with mix and match separates in bold brights and sumptuous fabrics – a monochrome fur skirt being a highlight for anyone keen on warm legs this winter. Tones of copper resonated throughout fashion month, starting in this collection and also in Jenny Packham (above left) who represented the UK with a show that was both feminine and tailored, touching upon British textiles and the East End heritage of the Pearly King & Queens. Michael Kors (above right) offered a wardrobe of style staples in luxurious fabrics – for example a black midi A-line skirt in button-down black leather (yes please) or a new take on a classic LBD covered in tasselled fringing. Kors also picked up on a micro trend of leopard print, but in my mind that’s always there… A lot of these looks actually involved midi skirts worn with slouchy boots, which came up repeatedly over the month and so another trend to consider (warm legs = good trend).

My stand-out show though was Delpozo (image at top of this article), as it is every time, due to the genius of creative director Josep Font. He has a way of subverting the everyday into something extraordinary via cut, detail and embellishment, A former architect, you can see his love of form and design in every detail. First of all the colour palette – mixing complimentary colours with tones that are slightly off kilter requires a keen eye, put together in a sophisticated way that was also the cornerstone of the Roksanda show in LFW (more on that later). The main thing I would take though is the play on proportion – go for a big sleeve, an oversized coat and some slouchy trousers for a fresh silhouette this Autumn.

And so to LFW, my home town and therefore because I’m biased my favourite fashion week! That quirky eclectic mix of heritage and punk style was out in full force for the AW17 shows; whether in Christopher Kane (above centre) with his glam homage to strong working class women in revved up factory wear, or Molly Goddard’s bright layers of tulle (above left) that are both girly yet punky. Emilia Wickstead (above right) brought some refined femininity to her show with her usual colour palette of sorbet shades and florals mixed with the odd flash of red, green and the addition of jeans making her range more practical for the everyday than previous seasons.

My two stand out shows however were Roksanda and Hussein Chalayan (below). The latter had not shown in LFW for almost 16 years and for a designer known for fantastical creations made in LED lights or moulded plastic, this range could not be farther from that outlandish reputation. These were artfully created, modern clothes, with a refined silhouette focused on volume in a range of neutral charcoal tones of exquisite materials. There were flashes of texture and colour, but this was an eminently practical show; one that the customer could buy and wear for the next 10 years without feeling dated at all, due to the simplicity of form and neutrality of the palette.

Roksanda (above) had a much more lively colour scheme, with red, burgundy, shades of blue, mustard and peach all happily sitting side by side in a multitude of gorgeous fabrics – in particular my favourite texture that I will be coveting for the season ahead is quilting, and plenty of it. Again, slouchy boots with midi skirts were a ‘thing’ and I am going full 1970s Jane Fonda with this aesthetic… But Roksanda shared the same sophisticated approach to contemporary, loose tailoring as Chalayan. This well cut, well thought out sense of proportion is just so appealing as we increasingly need to clothes that fit around our busy lives with as much practicality as beauty.

Milan took this way of dressing for the modern woman and (as only Italy can) raised the glamour stakes. Bottega Veneta (above left) showed a collection which was full of mid-century style inspiration – smart little skirt suits and loose cocoon coats cinched in at the waist. As with Roksanda a palette of mustard, blue and burgundy was mixed with coppery shades of gold. These colours got turned up a notch moving into citrus tones with plenty of black at both Versace (above centre) and Emporio Armani (above right) – the latter of which was a masterclass in how modern suiting should work for a woman. Hint: it should be versatile, smart and with a point of difference either in cut or print.

The highlight from the week though was Maxmara (below). Oh Maxmara how I love thee. They showed a range of mix and match tailored pieces in a simple palette of red, tobacco and shades of grey. First of all that is just heaven. Then there were slouchy suits in velvet, neat pencil skirts worn with chunky knitwear and a host of coats and capes too fabulous to comprehend. This was basically a dream wardrobe put together for a woman who has to work and play in one day and needs to look incredible while doing it….

Finally we get to Paris, the epic culmination of the month which never disappoints. One of the most moving concepts behind a show was Dries Van Noten (above) celebrating 25 years of showing in Paris; he hired a host of models who have walked for him over that period of time, so the faces were both familiar and new with an age range to match the amazing time span of his career. As ever, he proved himself to be a master of textiles, mixing quilted print coats (I repeat, I want quilting on everything I own now) with brightly coloured fur trims and then neutral classic pieces. Camel and navy suits were followed by orange, yellow and blue graphic print dresses, once again all with the easy aesthetic and fit seen in so many of these shows.

Valentino was a lovely display of fluid sheath dresses and included a baby pink PVC trench coat (below far left) that has ‘Pink Lady’ vibes in the best way possible. Dior (below centre left) showed a collection of super-feminine fabrics (sequins, velvet, chiffon, taffeta) but in simple, grown up tones of navy, indigo and midnight blue. McQueen (below far right) had a lush mix of ¬†fantastical sparkly evening gowns contrasted with wearable suiting (ok let’s be clear, modern suiting is on the agenda again; make it slouchy, put a belt on your waist and wear it with flats). Balenciaga got into it’s stride under creative director Demna Gvasalia (of Vetements infamy) and showed pieces full of the volume and irreverence and that design house is traditionally known for. I was also a fan of the Givenchy collection, all in scarlet red with a focus on embellishment, texture and exquisite tailoring.

So what key trends can we take into our own style for the season ahead? Well make everything slouchy then put a belt on it. That can be a wide-legged trousers suit, a loose fitting sheath dress or a chic cocoon coat. If we’re picking a skirt length, go midi and for the love of God wear it with slouchy boots. Yellow is a colour that carries on being a trend from SS17, but it’s latest incarnation is a more mustard hue, paired with navy, camel and plenty of all shades of red. Texture is also a big deal, in leather, velvet, fur and need I say it again – QUILTING. And if you get time, throw some gold or copper into the mix….