THE RO­MANCE OF NAVY AND GREY

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Style -

Up­dated takes on two clas­sic shades.

Black and white may be the ubiq­ui­tous colour choices for Au­tumn (the col­lec­tions at Proenza Schouler, Dior, and Ba­len­ci­aga were all vir­tual odes to the starkly el­e­gant pair­ing), but a woman can­not live on black and white alone. Luck­ily, de­sign­ers like Fran­cisco Costa at Calvin Klein, Phoebe Philo at Cé­line, and Jil Sander opted for a softer pal­ette, mostly in navy and grey.

I know what you’re think­ing: “What could pos­si­bly be new about those neu­trals?” Well, plenty. Just as black-and-white sil­hou­ettes have lit­tle to do with a clas­sic white shirt and black pants, navy and grey have taken on brand new per­mu­ta­tions.

Navy has al­ways been rel­e­gated pri­mar­ily to Re­sort and Spring. Striped sailor tops, dresses (some­how I’ve man­aged to buy a print navy dress each Spring the past four years), and colour com­bi­na­tions in­clud­ing any­thing navy and white, or navy, red, and white. A navy blazer in­stantly makes you think “con­ser­va­tive”. And ex­cept for the oc­ca­sional sweater, navy hasn’t been a goto colour for Au­tumn. But th­ese days navy is look­ing se­ri­ously chic. Take the slightly mil­i­tary-in­spired coats that marched down the Calvin Klein run­way, for in­stance, or the menswear-style slim coat from Al­ber El­baz at Lan­vin. Chloé’s Clare Waight Keller sent out a range of navies from bright to dark, in pea­coats, capelets, long vests, and pinafores.

The best way to get in on navy now is to start with a coat. This sea­son it’s not about lay­er­ing; all you need are three el­e­ments for any en­sem­ble: a coat, a top, and a skirt or pants. I would not say I was pur­posely ahead of the curve, but last year I pur­chased a nar­row, sin­gle-breasted navy num­ber from Stella Mc­Cart­ney, as well as a navy Cé­line Trapeze bag. I’ve never re­ceived so many com­pli­ments on a coat-and-bag combo.

Maybe it’s be­cause in a sea of fash­ion­able black, navy stands out. Plus, navy is a softer shade against the face. And we can all use some “soft­en­ing up” now and then. As far as the easy fac­tor, you can and should pair navy with black. If you’re still of the mind­set that navy and black to­gether are a fash­ion taboo, it’s time to change your mind. Ev­ery stylish French­woman knows that navy and black make a très jolie pair­ing.

And then there’s grey, my favourite “non-colour”. I haven’t met a grey cashmere sweater I didn’t want. But grey now doesn’t have much to do with a cosy sweater; it has to do with a tai­lored coat like those at Stella Mc­Cart­ney, a fur-trimmed wool jacket from Reed Krakoff, or the di­vine wrap-sleeved coat at Cé­line. While you can go safe and wear grey with black, I like the con­trast of a sharp white shoe, such as the one at Stella, or play­ing up grey’s paler as­pects with a light pea-green leather boot à la Cé­line. In fact, treat­ing grey as a pas­tel seems in­cred­i­bly fresh and el­e­gant – an idea I can’t wait to try.

Gior­gio Ar­mani Au­tumn/Win­ter ’13

Sal­va­tore Fer­rag­amo Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13 Cé­line Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13 Her­mès Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13 Proenza Schouler Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13

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