If your wardrobe is in dire need of a makeover, Harvey Nichols in Dubai's Mall of the Emirates has the perfect solution for you this month. The luxury department store is offering a series of styling workshops, with the international fashion commentator Melissa Hoyer on hand to give free advice. Get the rundown on this season's key runway trends and how to wear them.
Workshops for all
First of all, don't be intimidated - the "Fashion Styling Workshops" are aimed at anyone with a keen eye for the latest trends and an interest in updating their wardrobe with some of this season's key pieces. Whatever catwalk trend you're looking to emulate or incorporate into your daily wear, this is where you need to let your well-shod heels guide you.
"These workshops are very worthwhile as I think all of us can benefit from hearing ideas and getting some style pointers," says Hoyer. "Fashion followers enjoy the extravagance and excitement of the seasonal catwalk shows and editorial fashion shoots in our favourite publications. And these workshops are about taking those key looks and trends, figuring out what will suit us, and actually understanding how to incorporate them into our wardrobes and lifestyle."
Catwalk to closet
With the runways awash with digital prints and such impactful shades as cobalt blue, these workshops aim to show you how you too can be "on trend". Don't be shy to ask Hoyer for her invaluable tips on everything from accenting with lace or fur to wearing jewel tones, or even black and white.
"Monochrome is one of the simplest of trends for us to adopt," she says. "Something that takes us from day to night; this look has the ability to take you everywhere." This season offers a fresh interpretation of the classic black and white colour palette. Top looks include Philip Lim's three-piece Trope L'Oeil pantsuit. In addition to Jean Paul Gaultier's thought-provoking "wrapped pants skirt", which can be cleverly teamed with a classic white shirt.
Dress and invest
Seemingly timeless, and omnipresent on the runway in some form every season, is leather. Hoyer recommends adding a choice piece to your capsule wardrobe for maximum impact this fall.
"The leather jacket is a primary investment item - and glossy leather offers a sleek take on this season's decadent air," she says. "Some other, equally exciting leather silhouettes are the great dresses and skirts by Maison Rabih Kayrouz, 10 Crosby Derek Lam and ALC, or pants by Les Chiffoniers. I really like the look of teaming and balancing an edgy leather jacket with a ladylike piece such as a pretty print dress."
A/W key picks
Hoyer's top tips for giving your wardrobe a new lease on life includes mixing classic and contemporary pieces. For practical daytime glamour why not treat yourself to one of Victoria Beckham's structured bags or a statement printed dress by Peter Pilotto?
"Go long with a floor-grazing skirt - the maxi trend showcased by Rachel Zoe and Catherine Malandrino is the epitome of elegance this season," she says. "And for those cooler days, a cosy, chic knit piece. Ann Demeulemeester, for example, offers well-crafted sophistication."
Lace has also reinvented itself once again this season, with a plethora of vibrant colours on offer, promising to inject warmth into the wintriest of wardrobes.
"Replace classic black lace with bright hues and gold," says Hoyer. "If a full lace look is not for you, why not try an elegant lace detail high-heel pump?" Lace is so versatile that it's no longer just restricted to formal wear or occasion dressing. For a more contemporary day-look it also works as an accent or a great layering piece, [for example] a lace T-shirt worn with denim."
Dare to wear
Lest we forget that fashion is supposed to be fun, take a walk on the wild side this month and peruse the vast range of chic animal prints on offer in-store. Allow select pieces to snake into your wardrobe, says Hoyer, and you won't regret it.
"I think that animal prints are timeless and chic - a definite must-have," she says. "This season, reptile prints are the new statement fashion accessory - add just a touch with a clutch by Nancy Gonzalez or a belt by Gucci."
With prints an equally visible trend this season, take time to find out whether ornate geometrics, precision designs or florals suit you best, Hoyer advises.
"One of my picks would be the designer Mary Katrantzou," she says. "Also, why not go bold with a print-on-print look or try an accent such as heels by Charlotte Olympia or a clutch by Alexander McQueen? Print can easily be incorporated into our casual wardrobe, too. For 'weekend chic', for example, try print denim such as J Brand's brocade jeans."
Complimentary Fashion Styling Workshops will be open to the public at Harvey Nichols, Mall of the Emirates, on Wednesday and Thursday. Reserve your place by calling 04 409 8888 or visit www.harveynichols.com for more details