There is no easier way to update your wardrobe for a trend-packed autumn than with some must-have accessories. The London, Paris and Milan collections were full of great ideas ranging from monochrome to camouflage, furs to glossy alligator skins.
A plain black handbag doesn't quite cut it in the style stakes at the moment, although a classic patent pump does when it comes to shoes. Christian Louboutin surprised us with a classic pump and kitten heels that were a mere 45mm high in his new collection.
At fashion's most extravagant, there were dyed fur Speedy bags on the Louis Vuitton catwalk and mink Baguettes and Selleria handbags inset with neon fur strips at Fendi. Dolce & Gabbana showed Byzantine-inspired, intricately inlaid mosaic high heels and handbags with gilded crowns that will appeal to fashionistas with princessy aspirations.
Miuccia Prada has revamped her classic bowling bag for autumn while Gucci is reintroducing the famous bamboo-handled bag from more than 60 years. Gucci's shoes, meanwhile, are patent ankle-strap sandals or bootees with lethally sharp high heels, while Prada's and MiuMiu's feature platforms or extraordinary tractor tread soles.
In the accessory houses, monochrome and camouflage finishes are key trends. Black and white is a hit for summer and both shoe and handbag designers are reworking it to dramatic, graphic effect for autumn. At Gianvito Rossi it was all about Sixties Op Art recreated in peekaboo styles with clever cut-outs and see-through materials, while Roger Vivier's Prismick collection has been updated with a bit of silver in its geometric cut.
It has also revamped the signature comma heel, originally designed by Roger Vivier in the 1960s, with a monochrome houndstooth or a blurred camouflage print. For evening - rather appropriately given the high snowfall during the show season - Vivier's designer Bruno Frisoni produced a romantic snowflake design, dusting black shoes and handbags with white flakes.
There are also divine clutches with the knuckleduster skull clasps at Alexander McQueen in black with a pearl embroidered pattern that echoes the Tudor theme in Sarah Burton's collection for the label.
Burak Uyan, meanwhile, worked the monochrome trend in printed water snake for booties and used animal print ponyskin for ankle boots. The French and Italians love a luxurious, sheeny texture on their accessories but there is nothing equine about this trend. It is actually cowhide with a special shaved finish.
The monochrome and animal print trends merge in collections from Tod's, Furla and Zagliani, where zebra print replaces leopard as the must-have animal pattern of the season. Tod's used zebra on bags and masculine Oxford lace-ups, while Zagliani printed it on ponyskin. Longchamp produced a graphic python print in ponyskin for shoulderbags, and Anya Hindmarch used python in classic black and white for her day bags.
Camouflage, meanwhile, first emerged as a trend at Christopher Kane in London and subsequently featured in the leather dresses from Fendi and in bags at Zagliani, where it was used as a dip-dye effect on python handbags. Jimmy Choo produced little bags and calf-high boots in camouflage ponyskin and some very sexy handcuffed handbags.
For a classy classic look, Bulgari's Isabella Rossellini line has become so successful that the Roman jewellery and accessory house has added beautiful new jewel colours in shiny alligator with semi-precious stones such as lapis, malachite, lapis and purple jade on the clasp. There is also the beautiful: new "cosmetic"accessory - the Lipstick clutch bag for day with lippie-coloured lipstick-shaped locks.
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