Let's start with the ruffles. You can't move for ruffles. And velvet. Sometimes you find yourself dreaming about them. You wake up at the point of suffocation by ruffled velvet. It's a hauntingly romantic kind of season. Sometimes the romance turns dark. Those teeny, tiny sprig prints (it's also a print season) grow predatory. You feel like Gretel—a Gretel who hankers after one of those gorgeous floaty (yup, the season is floaty as well) or lacy (that too, lots and lots of it) ruffled short prom dresses you saw at Alexander McQueen. The ones seeped in fantasy motifs; the ones Sarah Burton said she purposely wanted to be redolent of nightmares as much as she wanted them to be sweet, because one without the other is not interesting. You want one very badly because, like so many of this fall's folksy, flouncy chiffon dresses (seen at Erdem, Rodarte, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini, Alberta Ferretti, et al.), they're exquisite. Then you remember that you don't do sprigs, or dresses, and maybe you haven't worn florals or flounces for two decades. That shouldn't be a lifelong pass; the right floral or flounce may be the rogue atom that revitalizes your entire closet.
Welcome to a new season—one that doesn't simply propose a stranglehold on a lone idea but a myriad of possibilities, from biker girls to Pre-Raphaelites, outdoor-bound anorak wearers to armchair athletes.
If the onslaught of ideas seems confusing when you walk into a store or wander into an online boutique at summer's end, keep in mind that they're just the catalysts for a closet-refresher course—an ideal time to put some fresh gas in the tank.
The takeaway mesغير مجاز مي باشدe for real life? Mixing a single sporty piece with heels and tailoring is a shortcut to contemporary polish. It cuts it in the workplace, for sure. This season, try a silky, cuff-hemmed jogging pant with heels and a tailored jacket. Meanwhile, trainers, tuxedos, and crystals are now a classic trope for evening. Who said dressing up can't be effortless?
For a more formal excursion into androgynous functionality, there's always menswear—and I mean always. Pinstripes, elongated waistcoats, and brogues abound, and they've acquired a renewed desirability when styled with extravagant jewelry and lushly feminine fabrics.
If you haven't yet traded your white shirts for a soft, decorative blouse in any color but especially a dark jewel tone, this is your moment. From florals to stripes, scarf ties to lace inserts, metallics to ruffled yokes, Beatrix Potter necklines to Marc Jacobs's theatrical neck bows, the statement blouse is becoming the transformer trigger for many women: that key piece that's (almost) making a tailored jacket redundant but certainly works beautifully with it. Wear it with jeans or tweeds for a sensual but edgy option and a satin s******t or culottes to take you from a fashion party through to the most elegant setting.
To identify more mercurial agitators, it's helpful to understand the seasonal mood. Proportions and colors can (and should) be adapted to personal taste, but mood—and the pieces to invest in, to boot—provides a framework for seemingly disparate forces. This fall, there's an antiestablishment spirit that touches on everything, whether it's the ethereal Victorian maxis at Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini that are pushing out the Trump-pleasing, ***y, fitted dresses of the past; the streetwear that sprang fully formed at Vetements a year ago; or the dressed-down high-fashion renditions of athleisure. From cropped-haired, makeup-free models to chunky flat-form shoes, the ä norms of pretty are being challenged.
Where there is rebellion, the military is never far behind. Enter Prada, Versace, and Valentino, to name but three houses, with some of the smartest tailoring we have seen in a very long time.
No grown woman should take any of fashion's caprices literally. Even designers don't anymore. Instead they undercut every decree with a metaphorical lift of the eyebrow. Prada's army coats were shown with ultra-waist-cinching belts and ladylike top-handle bags. Valentino's were the carapace for the filmiest lace and tulle gowns. Versace's stirrup ski pants marched out with razor-sharp jackets and heels. There's utilitarian yin and vintage-looking yang everywhere you look: the brocade at Gucci, Prada, and See by Chloé, where quilted vests were slipped under khaki overalls; the animal prints at Dries Van Noten and Stella McCartney; and a slick rehash of 1970s excess at Roberto Cavalli.
And, yes, you did read the words "stirrup pants." They were in Demna Gvasalia's much-talked-about debut runway show for Balenciaga too, worn with jewel-smothered satin stilettos, and they probably constitute the season's most radical pants choice. You may want to pursue the popular velvet pant instead. Giorgio Armani pretty much has the genre covered in his take on menswear suiting, while Valentino used the opulent material in sumptuous dresses.
But let's not dismiss the stirrup out of hand because, as discussed, you never know. At Balenciaga it came with some spectacular ski-jacket interpretations, featuring soaring necklines or off-the-shoulder ones, quilting, and sky-high price tags. The definition of modern, pragmatic luxury—warm, light, and, unlike fake or real fur, impervious to waterlogging—Balenciaga's puffy coats and canvas anoraks are emblematic of an urban sportiness that can't simply be explained away as a passing trend. A rackful of haute bombers and sweatshirt fabrics is turning recent notions of what passes for elegance on their head.
Even fashion's die-hard romantics, bohos, and glamour junkies have bought into this athleisure moment: an equestrian-inspired quilted cobalt satin below-the-knee, belted coat at Tory Burch; and the ubiquitous track pants.
Then there is the equally relaxed and fictional color-blocked leather motorcycle jacket at Rag & Bone, graphic sportswear at Louis Vuitton, plus kick-flare leather pants with seaming borrowed from the Hells Angels … What is it about the biking fraternity (and sorority) that makes it so eternally appealing to fashion designers who go everywhere by limo? Discipline? Rebelliousness? The combination has produced a welcome high-energy alternative to the old body-con silhouettes. Right now fashion is in love with the strong ***iness of the sports arena rather than the cleavage-flashing of the showgirl.
There is so much tweed around, by the way, all of it juxtaposed with things that would startle our grandmothers—trainers, lamé, leather, and denim. There's also an array of tempting new bags to add a punctuation mark to your look or to deliberately throw it off-kilter, including Mulberry's navy Maple tote with contrasting topstitching; Loewe's expandable, highly adaptable, small Hammock; Balenciaga's Classic Traveller backpack in black suede; and an abundance of dainty top-handle and decorative chain-strap bags … no whatevers there. A bland era this is not.
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