Sum­mary of the Sea­son

A pro­posal for fall: Fit-and-flare sil­hou­ettes, de­mure dress­ing and out-of-the-box colour com­bos. By Lisa Arm­strong

Harper's Bazaar (Singapore) - - CONTENTS - Lisa Arm­strong is the head of fash­ion for The Tele­graph

Ayear ago, fash­ion seemed to dis­cover a new sar­to­rial ob­vi­ous: Fash­ion sneak­ers, luxe jog­ging pants and cash­mere hood­ies sud­denly be­came the “wear any­where” uni­form for cool girls ev­ery­where. Ath­leisure was here to stay, and, baby, we’d bet­ter get used to it. I dab­bled. I dipped.Af­ter all, I love an Alexan­der McQueen sneaker or a Chloé jog­ging pant. But gymwear as a blueprint for ev­ery­thing in my closet? For­ever? I couldn’t do it. This sea­son, the ath­leisure trend is still there for any­one who wants it, and its pos­i­tive in­flu­ences abound: More and more tech­ni­cal fab­rics used in more and more imag­i­na­tive ways, chunkysoled flats, and heels no higher than four inches. But thank­fully the bar is ris­ing for the com­ing sea­son. We’re talk­ing A-game. It’s as if fash­ion’s ra­diofre­quency sig­nals switched from ana­log to dig­i­tal. Tai­lor­ing, al­ready hum­ming along nicely for sev­eral sea­sons, has turned up the vol­ume, with skirt suits join­ing the pantsuit as a pow­er­ful day-and-evening al­ter­na­tive to dresses.Things are tak­ing a turn for the for­mal. Also, in­ter­est­ingly, the mod­est.

At Valentino, the neck­lines were so high and the sil­hou­ettes so body-con­ceal­ing that the clothes would have looked right at home at Riyadh Fash­ion Week (there re­ally was one ear­lier this year—times are chang­ing ev­ery­where).The new mod­esty may well be fash­ion’s way of ad­just­ing to #TimesUp, al­though the de­gree of cov­er­age made some women watch­ing slightly un­easy.When does de­mure tip over into op­pres­sive pro­scrip­tion? For­tu­nately, de­sign­ers of­fered plenty of op­tions, so let’s ex­er­cise our free­dom to take as much or as lit­tle as we want from this de­vel­op­ment.

Scarves are ev­ery­where, from Gucci to Ver­sace: Fas­tened to purse han­dles and wrapped around the neck as well as the hair. Head­wear in gen­eral hasn’t had it so good since the 1950s. Hats, base­ball caps… And even bal­a­clavas. I was tempted. I mean, cosy, but then I re­alised that the look hasn’t worked for me since I was about nine years old, alas. Coats are out­stand­ing: In checks (hang on to all your checks), high-gloss patent and out­ra­geously un­apolo­getic fake furs—I’ve or­dered three. I know.Where am I go­ing to store them come sum­mer? A plethora of cute faux-fur la­bels have ap­peared re­cently, but the big­gest en­dorse­ment came from Givenchy, where Clare Waight Keller made the most re­al­is­tic, glam­orous fakes I think any of us has ever seen. Re­mem­ber how stunned peo­ple were when she sud­denly ma­te­ri­alised out­side St. Ge­orge’s Chapel to ar­range the train on Meghan’s dress? That’s how sur­prised the fash­ion set was to dis­cover that her fur wasn’t real. I’m also com­pletely en­am­oured of an over­size

The main story, shape­wise, is fit and flare. flat­ter­ing this sil­hou­ette is? How end­lessly big­ger boobs than you, you can make

Vic­to­ria Beck­ham trench, which is be­yond chic, but in that low-key way we all want to be chic. I’ll be wear­ing my coats ev­ery day for the next few months be­cause, let’s be real, coat styles never ac­tu­ally die, they sim­ply go into hi­ber­na­tion some sea­sons.

Colour, al­ways a re­veal­ing lens through which to view fash­ion, has shaken loose from just about ev­ery last shred of pro­to­col and prej­u­dice.Think fuch­sia is for hol­i­days in St. Barts? See Os­car de la Renta’s fall col­lec­tion. Or that baby blue is more of a spring­time state­ment? Not when it’s mixed with bur­gundy, as seen at Al­berta Ferretti. In­ci­den­tally, bur­gundy now does the job that used to be­long to black—it an­chors an out­fit— and brown, af­ter decades in the rust-belt wilder­ness, is also back in favour, along with rust and ochre, as it hap­pens. It’s all part of a ’70s vi­sion that I pre­fer to think of less as a tran­sient re­vival and more as a clas­sic genre that has thor­oughly earned its po­si­tion on fash­ion’s Mount Olym­pus.

I’ll slow down be­cause there’s a lot to take in here. We should prob­a­bly start with the fash­ion mark­ers that make the big­gest dif­fer­ence, like length. If you’ve been steadily ac­quir­ing midis, know this:They’re still your go-to, al­though de­sign­ers flirted with even longer, an­kle-graz­ing lengths (a lovely flat-shoe-friendly op­tion for even­ings).

There are mi­nis too—at Saint Lau­rent and Bal­main, for starters—and at some point, be­cause this is the way of the world, they’ll swing back into full ac­tion. But for now longer feels most con­tem­po­rary, even if it leads us into a quag­mire of shoe quan­daries. Feel free to shout me down, but I don’t think a very long, sweepy hem­line looks good with a spindly-heeled pump. For one, it doesn’t send out the right kind of style sig­nal.This isn’t about be­ing Princess Tip­pyToes but about tap­ping into that care­free ’70s new-dawn-of-fem­i­nism vibe. Chloé’s lace-up Vic­tor ian-slash-cow­girl boot (there’s an in­ter­est­ing mash-up) has the ideal de­gree of off-kil­ter el­e­gance. Boots may be your new footwear sta­ple: Knee­high and taller for when you’re wear­ing some­thing slashed; shin-length for midis; and an­kle boots for pants. Speak­ing of pants, they’re longer too this sea­son.And high-waisted— but not so high that you can feel the zip­per digg ing into your

breast­bone yet suf­fi­ciently raised to tuck in a blouse and have it stay there, all day, and high enough to make your legs look longer. The cropped an­kle is still rel­e­vant. But a sub­tle floor-skim­ming flare looks new­est.And now for a tip: The way to re­tain your san­ity is for your clothes not to swish on the ground—that’s just dis­gust­ing—but to hover a cou­ple of barely per­cep­ti­ble notches above.Tory Burch, whose height is in in­verse pro­por­tion to her busi­ness acu­men, prefers to wear her pants with huge plat­forms or wedges, but you don’t see all that.You just see Tory look­ing in­cred­i­bly wil­lowy. This, my friends, is what we call fash­ion stilts.

Don’t get the wrong idea. Pants may flare and skirts gen­tly swirl, but the su­per­size pro­por­tions at Ba­len­ci­aga, Miu Miu and Junya Watan­abe are, for the most part, out­liers. Sure, Ba­len­ci­aga’s triple-layer du­vet parkas and opera coats were in­spir­ingly con­structed and in­trigu­ing to be­hold, as well as ex­pres­sive of a post-apoca­lyp­tic clothes-as-ar­mour sen­ti­ment that was ar­tic­u­lated at other houses, most no­tably Prada and Calvin Klein. But the main story, shape­wise, is fit and flare. Do you know how uni­ver­sally flat­ter­ing this sil­hou­ette is? How end­lessly adapt­able? Even if Mick Jag­ger has big­ger boobs than you, you can make the new sil­hou­ette work. In fact, if you re­call (younger read­ers, Google this) the true ’70s spirit was not about chan­nelling a Kar­dashian. Back then, the flat­ter you were, the bet­ter be­cause, let’s face it, you’d al­ready burned your bra.

De­sign­ers are nur­tur­ing sep­a­rates again, and not a mo­ment too soon be­cause—hello, ver­sa­til­ity! At Jac­que­mus (the fash­ion edi­tor’s lat­est crush), de­signer Si­mon Porte Jac­que­mus plays for high stakes with his sep­a­rates, go­ing for clas­sics with sub­tly de­viant qual­i­ties (twisted cot­ton shirts, un­ex­pected peek­a­boo slashes on skirts) and strong but not out­landish colour con­trasts— saf­fron and cobalt, for in­stance, or but­ter­milk and white. At Jil San­der, cre­ative di­rec­tors Luke and Lu­cie Meier are do­ing lus­cious things with a pared-back sen­si­bil­ity.Think more sep­a­rates, gen­tly curv­ing sin­gle­breasted jack­ets, and pants in del­i­cate shades of ivory and white with star­tling jolts of sap­phire and laven­der, and the oc­ca­sional blurry flo­ral print. The bot­tom line: There are no bi­nary choices in fash­ion any­more.That may be the big­gest story of all. ■

Do you know how uni­ver­sally adapt­able? Even if Mick Jag­ger has the new sil­hou­ette work.

Clock­wise from top left: Saint Lau­rent by An­thony Vac­carello fall/win­ter 2018.Jil San­der fall/win­ter 2018. Dior fall/win­ter 2018. Coach 1941 fall/win­ter 2018 OP­PO­SITE (Clock­wise from top left): Fendi fall/win­ter 2018. Chloé fall/win­ter 2018. Ver­sace fall/win­ter 2018. Os­car de la Renta fall/win­ter 2018

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