Top autumn / winter trends for ladies… and for gentlemen, of course

A bit of fashon!

You’ll be spoilt for choice as this season’s collections offer an exciting amount of variety, says Patrice Murphy

Ciaran Durkan reports on the top trends in menswear for autumn/winter 08/09

Top autumn/winter trends for ladies…

You’ll be spoilt for choice as this season’s collections offer an exciting amount of variety, says Patrice Murphy

A bit of fashon!

Believe me when I say it gives me immense pleasure to introduce goth as a top catwalk trend in autumn/winter 08/09. Now, every true fashion follower adores black – the classic, slimming, sexy and practical colour that can be teamed with any other – but this year top designers have surpassed themselves in returning to the intensity and darkness of their youth and bringing black back to the forefront of fashion. For a mature, graceful and grown-up-chic look, see Givenchy for beautiful, black trench coats teamed with highly polished patent boots and accessories. To give your look an edge, as inspired by Alexander McQueen, go for dramatically slicked back hair and dark, moody eye-makeup.

For those of you brave (and skinny) enough, nothing will scream high fashion like a pair of skintight leather trousers – yes, we are basically talking “bad” Sandy from Grease, but have a look at Christopher Kane to see the look being pulled off somewhat believably. For everyone else, well, almost every other designer sent out at least one leather piece, so the easiest way to work this trend is with a cool leather bomber or, for just a nod toward the catwalk trend, a dazzlingly dark neck adornment will make any top an outfit.

If goth is too intense, too dark, or just too depressing for you, you can turn to the “lace and lingerie” look – the other end of the fashion spectrum, perhaps, but, similarly, a top trend this season. Lace covers necks and arms in Twenty8Twelve, and bedecks all manner of blouses, tops, and vests, whilst skirts are embellished with a covering of lace and cut-out panels in Givenchy’s dresses, displaying an intriguingly demure yet softly sexy flash of bare skin under black lace. From boleros and scarves to underwear and false eyelashes, there’s no excuse not to invest in this luxurious fabric.

Before citing our traditional Irish weather as an objection to delicate laces and pure silks, envisage unwrapping the supersize knits of Christopher Kane’s collection a few seasons ago, after a morning Luas journey, to unveil a delicate silk vest with lace trim or a prim and proper sheer blouse from Victor and Rolf, perhaps topped off with a slim cardigan the likes of which have suddenly exploded onto almost everybody’s can’t-live-without list.

Please don’t get me started on Elle’s advice that patchwork and crochet pieces have homespun charm.

Whilst knits are centuries-old traditional garments in Ireland and continue to flourish every few seasons, the sometimes compared – or, rather, confused – trend of “folk” has resurged this season, refusing to die a death despite even its biggest fan, Sienna Miller, having both moved on in the fashion trends, and moved down in public opinion polls. Alas, we see the return of faux (read cheap) fur and suede gillets, as inspired by Dolce and Gabbana, and even the tasteful Italians at Prada have produced a fringed bag. That’s not to mention the pallet of dark brown with burnt orange found at Missoni or the Gucci short and slouchy cardigan/cropped jacket in black with red and white Christmas jumper-esque patterns. And please don’t get me started on Elle’s advice that “patchwork and crochet pieces have homespun charm.”

More favourable than folk is the “heritage” trend, as seen at Paul Smith, Alexander McQueen and Daks, although some might argue that Madonna has been sporting this new trend for a number of years – and, of course, tweed caps and head scarves have been seen across Ireland long before that. All that said, the restrictive tweeds, somewhat dull colours and expensive silk headscarves may not be entirely suited either to the high-fashion streets of Paris and Milan or to the more casual style of Trinity students. On the other hand, the military styles – particularly navy blazers with gorgeously vintage gold buttons, as seen in Ralph Lauren, and the long leather gloves at Paul Smith – will fit right in on our chilly cobbles, as will possibly the most popular and accessible aspect of heritage influences: tartan.

If there is one trend you should buy into this season (and not necessarily spend a fortune on), it is tartan. Dolce and Gabbana went for a full-on look with a ruched crimson and green check dress, combined with navy tartaned tights, brown shoes, and topped with a long blazer in navy-based tartan. A few words of warning, though: this trend is so strong, so current and so blatant that it cannot stay at the forefront of fashion for very long, and it may be hard to stand out from the crowd in such a conspicuous print when everyone is wearing it. Tartan accessories are widely available on the high street and combining a pair of tartan pumps with a similarly patterned bag and chunky bracelet, even with some skinny jeans and a block-colour blouse, may, in fact, appear more original than the cowboy check shirt of the girl beside you.

Then again, considering the variety of looks shown on the runway for autumn/winter 08/09, the accessibility of high-fashion trends on the high-street, the scope for unique style this season is enormous and enticing.

…and for gentlemen, of course

Ciaran Durkan reports on the top trends in menswear for autumn/winter 08/09

A bit of fashon!

The dull days of winter have set in once again and, as if to match the clouds that have shadowed most of what was the so-called Irish summer, the autumn/winter collections from London, Paris, Milan, and New York showcased a colour pallet dominated by grayscale tones once again this year. Last year’s trend for womenswear – which saw an injection of colour with the use of purple, violet, and blue – has been translated to menswear this winter.

Many designers are making use of purple to accent sombre grey suits and jackets with rich brocade, printed silks and textured leather seen in a vast array of men’s accessories, such as ties, scarves, belts, bags, and shoes.

However, this season is not all grey. The key look for autumn/winter is undoubtedly centered on a tailored jacket, be it dinner jacket, blazer or fitted over-coat. The waistcoat is an important addition to the suit, and need not match perfectly. As Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, and Jean Paul Gaultier prove, it can be used to add texture, tonal variation, and colour to a plain suit.

Formal wear has become extremely lavish and decadent, with a mixture of colour, materials, and rich textures. It echoes the refined aristocratic elegance of the belle époque in Paris or London and the British style, in particular, reigns supreme. Suits ranging from slim to box fit, single and double-breasted jackets, and even Scottish tartan and stripped boating blazers were all present on the catwalks.

Texture is of supreme importance and if suits of navy and grey seem a little dull, think again, as Versace, Prada and Cavalli boast that they can dazzle in shiny satin, treated wool and flashy velvet. There has been a considerable injection of colour and fun, not just in the stripes and tartan of the old school English Blazer, but also in the reinvention and reintroduction of a colour palette, which had fallen out of favour in the last five years – navy and beige. Armani, Missoni, Paul Smith, and C’N’C Costume National all show how it should be done best. Referred to by many as the camel and blue combination, it is the classic smart-casual staple of the country gentleman,with jacket/blazer and trouser combination in brushed wool, camelhair, and corduroy.

The key look for autumn/winter is centred on a tailored jacket, be it dinner jacket, blazer or fitted over-coat

Rich midnight blue and nightshade purples are also to be seen in the formal wear collections, notably by Moschino, Prada, and Pringle. Deep and dark blue are used like grey for entire outfits: from suit, shirt and tie down to shoes, overcoat and scarf.

Colour can also be added to the sombre base tones through accessories, this Autumn/Winter sees an inundation of prints and colours in men’s leisure wear in particular. A trend that students have been sporting for a number of years now has emerged on the runway and is being referred to as the bohémien. Paul Smith and Pringle in the UK, as well as Gucci, Prada, Burberry and Calvin Klein in the other fashion centres, displayed their variation of boho chic for men. Distressed velvet or corduroy, vintage-style jackets matched with paisley print or bold coloured shirts, colourful cotton, silk, brocade, and jersey scarves matched with dark denim jeans and leather boots or retro tennis shoes.

The Parisien theme is also seen through the repeated use of horizontal stripes on shirts, jumpers and scarves – even if the black and white, navy and cream or dark and light grey combinations of these quintessentially Parisien outfits are a little bit clichéd at times.

In casual wear there really is a myriad of styles to choose from. Diesel and Ralph Lauren showcased both a cowboy and Canadian lumberjack look, with jeans, tan Sahara or cowboy boots, and plaid shirts. Stateside urban culture also provided inspiration for those who want a little more edge. Dior Homme and Moschino, amongst others, display how leather and denim can be used to create a biker chic, or neo-gothic look. The predominantly red, white, and blue colour palette of the Alaska-style après-ski and sportswear-inspired collections by Alexander McQueen, Lacoste and Adidas Y3 with padded ski-jacket and patterned knitwear adds further to the variety.

Ever-present for the last 3 years and back again, the Army look is quite visible. So anything with buckle details, epaulettes on the shoulders, elaborate button detailing and a belt is right on target.

As it is winter, the most important clothing item should be the coat, and it is seen in all of its many forms on the catwalk this year. The new trend is the classic overcoat, Hermes, Burberry Prorsum, and Fendi display it retailored slightly to resemble more a knee-length dinner jacket or car coat, but it crops up in almost every collection with infinite variety.

The prize winner, however, has to be the belted trench coat, which came back with a vengeance last year and compliments the Parisien, preppy British and military styles perfectly and can be used to add panache to any outfit.