Yesterday I hauled home four large shiny magazines and opened them two at a time, so keen was I to fall into a world where people don’t wear masks and Covid-19 isn’t braided into every paragraph.
The pages of September's Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle and Tatler exploded like a glitter bomb in my kitchen. So many shiny things! So many sparkly things! So much of everything.
I want them all. I want Burberry’s gold lamé and cashmere trench coat (no price given, which means it must be aimed at millionaires). I want Molly Goddard’s electric-blue-tulle ruffled dress (at least this one has a price – £2,400, or €2,800). I want Prada’s green knitted dress with huge iridescent spangles, like a mermaid’s skin (£7,500). I want everything.
You can’t even try on clothes in most shops these days, so there is a kind of exquisite torment looking at these fabulous confections of imagination and design that require endless cash to avail of. It doesn’t really matter. There is still something so alluring about turning the pages of what are essentially fantasy picture books for adults.
There is a lowdown to be reported. Women of colour are on the covers of both Vogue and Elle, Gemma Chan and Ramla Ali respectively. Cindy Crawford turns up on the front cover of Tatler, and Naomi Campbell on its back cover. There are interviews with writers Sally Rooney (Vogue) and Elif Shafak (Harper's).
The thickest magazine is Vogue, at 341 pages, where editorial content starts only at page 98, so many are the cherished advertisements. The megabucks pull-out ads across several pages are for Ralph Lauren and Fendi in Vogue. In Elle they are for Christian Dior and Fendi again (spendy Fendi!). In Harper's they are for Louis Vuitton and – yup – Fendi. Tatler has just the one, for Christian Dior. Fendi can't have thought it was worth dropping its coin with Tatler.
Big questions are asked. “What is the new super-rich status symbol?” inquires a Tatler coverline. It’s signet rings, worn on the little fingers of the rich youth. Elle asks on its cover, “Is property the new porn?” I had to check that the date really was 2021 and not 2011. Or 2001. Haven’t people been saying that for decades?
Harper's has a model called Natalia Vodianova on its cover. She gets a whopping 14 pages of an interview and photoshoot inside.
And so to what really matters: the frocks, the trends, the delicious silliness of it all. Some of these trends will arrive at the high street in watered-down forms eventually. Sadly, I don’t think the gold lamé and cashmere Burberry coat will ever make the jump, but I can only hope.
Vogue is obviously the Voice of Fashion God, so what has it got? Its number-one pick for autumn is “the trophy jacket”. No, not like the metal ones with handles that golfers get excited about. Jackets that have only one arm, or are made of two different halves, or go down to the ground, which in my book is a coat, but there you go.
Cut-outs started with swimsuits and have now, horrifyingly, migrated to dresses. Vogue shows us black dresses missing their middles, the two parts held together with threads. No. Just no. Platforms are back. So are slips, which used to be worn under clothes but have gone up in the world and are now outerwear. Vogue also tells us “skin tight tops” are in. That’s its lot.
Elle goes with numbering its trends too. In at one is the colour silver. Silver everything. Dresses, coats, boots, jackets, the lot. I approve. My favourite colour. Two is rainbow-hued eyeshadow and hair dye. There is also hair – “sky high hair”. Wear it high and wear it frizzy. Four is “wader wellies”. That’s great big oversized floppy boots. There are 14 more trends, which seems like at least 10 too many. Big bags. Animal prints (again). Metallics. Fake furry coats. Barbie pink. And “Glam Granny”. This trend involves wearing a scarf over your head and knotted under your chin.
Harper's approach is to style its picks of various designers, thereby anointing various looks. It has gone mad for colour, with reds and greens and purple. There are purple miniskirts trimmed with red feathers from Saint Laurent, a red taffeta trench coat from Dior, and that glorious gold coat from Burberry I may have mentioned before. Its Gucci picks are gorgeous creations of silver and pink beading and embroidery. Its Armani featured dress is embroidered with blue and pink crystals, and features a matching tulle-and-crystal necklace. Oh yes, please.
Dolce & Gabbana are all crystal bodysuits. Valentino has a startling black and white geometric design cape which I could definitely see myself wearing, should a version turn up on the high street at a lower price than the 6,400 it is in this incarnation.
Tatler has chosen one piece from the main collections to showcase. Dolce and Gabbana is pink leopardskin boots, puffer coat and bodysuit. (Bodysuits, it appears, are also a trend.) In fact, most of its picks – Hermes, Miu Miu, Dior Prada and Gucci – are jackets. Trophy jackets. It must have a mole at Vogue.
And now excuse me while I start figuring out where I can find a bright-gold coat.