Ten Key Pieces
Essential wardrobe elements that will open doors this Autumn.
“We were inspired by fairy tales, imagining our woman as an enchanted creature living in a secret garden,” Domenico Dolce says of the Dolce & Gabbana Autumn/Winter ’14 collection. “Only she has the keys to enter, and we printed them all over capes, dresses, and accessories,” says Stefano Gabbana. “She is a woman with a little bit of magic!” adds Dolce. Magic was indeed in the air: Dolce & Gabbana’s opulent key-embroidered coats (1) set the bar for what would be a season of spellbinding outerwear. Following the designers’ trail of bread crumbs, we have entered into the hour of the coat – specifically, the textured one. This is the first item to buy this autumn: We’ll be snapping up Calvin Klein’s just-thisside-of-shaggy, nipped-waist confections, or one of Céline’s white and black frayed-hem porcupine numbers, which are the perfect combination of soft and prickly.
Shearlings (2) merit their own category. Come winter, we’ll all want to disguise ourselves in sheep’s clothing, especially the oversize version that Stuart Vevers turned out for his debut at Coach. Ralph Lauren nailed the American West at Polo with a distressed, rugged take, and Joseph Altuzarra’s update was a fuzzy-side-out bomber. Another essential weapon in every woman’s cold-weather arsenal is the mega-knit. Roomy, extra-long-sleeved sweaters (3) abounded on the runway, where some designers even suggested knits from head to toe. Though we’ll probably abstain from woolly bellbottoms (at least publicly), we will be filling our closets with thick, slouchy sweaters like The Row’s titanic turtleneck, Michael Kors’s cardigan-dress hybrid, and Bottega Veneta’s grey pullover. About that pullover: The grey (4) is crucial. The in-between neutral has taken over as the hue of the moment. Invest in something – anything – in the colour, be it a nubby dress from Stella McCartney or a short-sleeved coat from Dior. Because there’s no such thing as being too cosy, Autumn’s sweaters demand to be worn with a scarf (5), ideally one that’s extra-long and matching. Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors showed theirs with casually strewn, knee-grazing scarves, while Prabal Gurung had the look all wrapped up, winding his scarves around as far as they could go. Meanwhile, the heroes of this season’s story are the trousers – particularly those of the stovepipe variety (6). Slim but not body-tight, these are further evidence of the function-isfashionable movement; they’re classics that will stay on the scene for years to come. Balenciaga and Altuzarra made some of the best, which would pair handsomely with a roomy blazer. Utility reigns in the footwear arena, too – scarcely a stiletto stepped onto the catwalk. Instead, behold Autumn’s boot: a ’70s-inspired low- and chunky-heeled style (7), just right for stomping around in the elements (and still looking chic as all get-out, of course). Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Bally created especially covetable renditions, whether in understated neutrals or punky patent leather. Luxe top-handle totes and shoppers were everywhere on Autumn’s runways, but the latest prize bags are the hands-free, long-strapped styles (8). Amid a forest of novelty options, it’s with the demure double-flap bag at Hermès that you’ll live happily ever after. In bright white leather, it’s the perfect foil for a dove-grey coat with retro boots or even trainers.
The story ends with the jewels: Designers dreamed up novel adornments to take the Snuggie-chic look up a notch. What with all of the thick layers and scarves, accents are limited to the fingers and ears, and should be hefty enough to stand up to the clothes. For rings, the rule is more: Big, colourful, multi-finger versions (9) at Nina Ricci and Proenza Schouler were among the smartest. Earrings, while also large, went solo. Céline and Louis Vuitton showed complex danglers worn on one ear only (10), recalling Madonna and Rosanna Arquette in the 1985 hit comedy-drama Desperately
And just like that, our desperate search for a solid autumn wardrobe is over. The magic door is open, and the season awaits.