It may be somewhat presumptuous to think of an autumn-winter wardrobe as the thunderous heat begins to roll in, but from Paris to New York, London and Milan, it is clear that the coming season is imminent. Contrast is seen across the board - the play between masculine and feminine, strong lines and delicacy, opulence and punk and past and future. It is clear that boundaries will be at play.
Perhaps the success of the film Les MisÚrables has inspired the feminine-masculine look, as velvet blazers without sleeves were worn over high-waisted trousers at Giorgio Armani, while at Ralph Lauren, the model Magdalena Frackowiak was seen walking the runway in a billowing blouse under a masculine waistcoat and trousers tucked into boots, topped off with a flat cap worn to the side.
On the same note, tailoring took a masculine vibe with oversized pin-striped versions, as seen at Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto. Maison Martin Margiela also brought its own take on the trend inspired by the dapper suits worn in The Great Gatsby. For those who prefer a bit of feminine romance, there was also a nod to the 1940s femme fatale in Milan with reference to Lauren Bacall and Veronica Lake, with the use of nipped high waists and hourglass silhouettes.
Fabrics, again proved to be a contrast. On one side we had an abundance of mohair, this season's fur alternative as seen at Alexander Wang and Emporio Armani. There were soft petal pinks at Jonathan Saunders, while last season's crisp whites were replaced by soft cream shades as seen at Valentino and CÚline. On the other side of the spectrum we have a definite nod to camouflage in new oversized interpretations, as khaki dominated the runway with the military print seen in varying forms at Michael Kors, Christopher Kane and Alexander Wang. Offering a new take on armour-inspired pieces, ChloÚ and Paco Rabanne used a lighter-mesh fabric to follow the contours of the silhouette.
Interestingly, navy blue has overtaken the normally staple black for the season. It's actually a more forgiving colour on most skin types; CÚline and ChloÚ use it for impact by going head to toe, and Dries Van Noten and Jil Sander give overcoat options that can be added over a wash of colour.
Leather and tweed, often difficult fabrics to wear due to the weight and density, were also reinvented. This time around woollen tweeds, under the reign of Chanel, were feminised by the use of clever cutting techniques that follow a softer than usual silhouette.
When it comes to accessories, the pointed pump and the masculine mid-calf flat boot rule the runway. Leather high boots, as seen at Emilio Pucci, CÚline, and Balmain, offer a vampish take for those who like a statement shoe, and chunky statement pieces of jewellery made from chain are seen at Chanel. A definite nod was also given to Anna Karenina by Ralph Lauren, with Baroque-inspired chandelier earrings in oversized crystals.
This season would not be complete without grunge, in particular with the beauty trends. Think black-lined or heavily smoked-up eyes in shades such as metallic blues or brass. Inspired by Cara Delevingne's thick brow, nothing needs more attention this season. Un-manicured and filled in or even painted, think of your brow as a statement rather than a feature. Of course, grunge would be nothing without a dark, vampish lip in a purple-ish red or berry stain, and skin prepped with a matt finish.
A lot, perhaps, to take in, but an exciting season lies ahead nonetheless.
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