10 autumn/winter essentials
While last season was all about the girl, A/W is most definitely about the woman. Here are some key pieces to get you started, writes ROSEMARY Mac CABE
I’VE MENTIONED this before and I have no qualms saying it again: A/W (that’s autumn/winter for those of you who don’t speak “fashion”) is by far my favourite of the sartorial calendar’s two seasons. Although S/S (I’m sure you can guess) speaks of bare legs, light breathable fabrics and a feminine palette, A/W offers an opportunity to experiment with fabrics and silhouettes, layering denim and leather and knits and lace in a cacaphony of colour and texture.
The catwalk shows of A/W (confusingly, staged in February 2012) showed a variety of trends that have by now filtered down to the high street. Baroque influences – velvets, embroidery and embellishment – stand alongside SM-style erotica, military detailing, gothica and a new heritage characterised by heavy textures and feminine shapes.
While last season was all about the girl, A/W is most definitely about the woman. We’re talking curves, either natural or faked with a peplum; cinched waists and exaggerated shoulders and hips; strength in the form of military buttons, double-breasted coats and structured dresses; and power in luxe leathers, pointy toes (they’re back) and boxy bags. The icon of last season was a vision of cute girliness who spent her time picking flowers and running through cornfields, while this new woman is a force to be reckoned with – and, if the Céline and Lanvin catwalks were anything to go by (all mannish shapes, oversized outerwear, and tailoring), she’s a working woman, to boot. By all accounts, this is a season worth buying into, in more ways than one.
All wardrobes can be easily updated if you own the basics: three decent pairs of jeans, one skinny, one bootcut and one black; a fitted white shirt (to be worn with a nude bra); a black blazer, cropped below the hip if you’re pear shaped, otherwise always above; a wrap dress in a neutral colour (leopard print counts as neutral, by the way); an A-line skirt in a light, breathable fabric such as silk; and, of course, good underwear. Marks Spencer is a tough one to beat for shapewear, and its latest collaboration, with model Rosie Huntington Whiteley, is rather good.
Once you have the foundations laid, all it takes is a few smart buys to bring your wardrobe firmly into the new season.
Sparkly topA|Wear’s 1920s-inspired number is perfect for a night out, taking its cues from Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming The Great Gatsby. Embellished top (€60), and black skinnies (€35), at A|Wear
2 Leather trousersPair yours with an oversized coat and a pair of chunky heels to stay on the right side of sexy.
Pictured, faux leather skinnies (€50) at Oasis. Leather high-waisted skinnies (€1,115), by Acne at Brown Thomas.
3 Day-to-night bagThis Ralph Lauren number does exactly what it says on the tin, and is roomy enough to carry your Filofax and your heels. Structured black bag (€450), by Ralph Lauren at Arnotts
4 Statement neckpieceJoanne Hynes’s butterfly collar will dress up even the plainest black tee. Wear with attitude. Embellished collar (€395), by Joanne Hynes at BT2 and Harvey Nichols
Black court shoesThe flash of purple on these Zara heels is a new spin on a classic. Black shoes with purple heels (€69.95), at Zara
6 Neon-flash broguesSimone Rocha’s A/W collection gave us all a taste for mixing our traditional brogues with a flash of bright colour. Tan brogues with neon soles (€60), at Clarks