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Black is well and truly back and has been the muse of many a designer on this seasons catwalks. Designers such as Chanel, Christian Lacroix and Valentino embraced black with heavy embellishment, added texture such as lace, metallic notes, sequins and shimmer. Jewel box hues are big news this autumn/winter and offset the principal colour of black perfectly, Dior and Valentino adopted emeralds, sapphires and rubies. Other colours making a splash this season are burnt orange, hot pink, purple and cobalt.

Floor sweeping evening dresses in paint box colours made significant appearances on the catwalks of Dior and Valentino reminiscent of old school Hollywood glamour. Valentino added romance with ruffles, sheer and satin fabrics in bold colours such as scarlet.

There is a notable nod to the ‘lady of the manor’; Mid length skirt suits made a big impact in tweeds, Valentino used beige tweed for a fresh edge. At Chanel skirt suits were worn with tights, patent heels, cinched-in waists and accessorised with pearls and hair bands with bows. Equestrian style quilted country jackets were big especially in midnight blues, for an eye-catching twist look for soft, silky fabrics and layer over a dress for the evening.

Volume is carrying through and continues to be a hit this season with a decidedly romantic Victoriana feel. Blouses and shirts in textured or sheer black with ruffles and bow detailing were aplenty. For a fresh twist layer under a shift dress or work the tailored look and wear under a tweed waistcoat with high waisted trousers. Another way to work volume this season is in a chunky, oversized knit as seen on the catwalks of Stella McCartney, Giles Deacon and Vivienne Westwood.

Vintage also showed up on the catwalks. Valentino featured a floor length nude, lace evening dress, emanating 40s glamour. To work this trend think ruffles, bows and glamorous fabrics such as sheer chiffon, delicate lace and silky satin. Jewellery should be classic. Be inspired by jewellery from past eras such as striking brooches and antique-esque necklaces.

Military also worked its magic on the autumn/winter catwalks and featured in Aquascutum’s show. Coats with red and gold accents and embellishments are central to this trend and make a real style statement with minimal effort. Complete the look by wearing boots with buckles or laces. This look works extremely well with a simple polo neck (try a block colour to be right on trend) and trousers for everyday but equally with skinny jeans and a simple rock t-shirt for an edgy look. The versatility doesn’t end there, simply team with a little black dress underneath for going out.

Another trend not to go unnoticed is tailoring, which once again takes on an androgynous edge as seen at Alexander Wang and Celine. Think high waisted trousers, shirts and waistcoats, leather jackets and tweed bomber jackets. Wear with a beret and heels to keep it looking feminine.

As for accessories it is all about making an impact. In terms of shoes make an impression with patent notes, zips, buttons, studs and buckles. Ankle boots are key and work well teamed with a military coat. Hats are also big news and add allure to any look. As for bags embellishments staked their claim of the autumn/winter 2007 catwalks. Gold accents, jewels and luxe fabrics are order of the day. Think vintage bags you would find in antique shops. Structured patent bags are another big story, particularly in blacks, burgundies and purples. Following designers’ fondness for leather jackets (and even dresses) this season, expect it to be big in bag terms too.

Urban sports wear carries subtly through to this season (so don’t throw away your parkas just yet!) Isabel Marant had a lightweight sports style parka in her autumn/winter collection at Paris fashion week. Bring this look up to date by taking ideas from Chanel’s autumn/winter show and investing in a pair of ice skating inspired boots.

Don’t forget that if you love something it is okay to wear it! Fashion is imaginative, and style isn’t merely about imitating and following trends, its about interpreting and adapting them. Designers such as JC De Castelbajac have fun with their creations too, he ‘rocked the lady of the manor’ look quite literally. He gave the usually prim and proper look a rock chick edge. And as Balenciaga’s designers stated their collection was inspired partly by girls on campus finding themselves, go ahead and remember all the worlds a stage (or should that be catwalk!?) and this is no dress rehearsal. So go on girl, shake it up, put your best fashion foot forward and get creative!

Gemma Doutwaite Ó

 

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