PICK AND MIX

From pantsuits to track pants, or stilet­tos and kit­ten heels, the new rule of dress­ing is that there are no rules.

Harper's Bazaar (Singapore) - - CONTENTS - By Lisa Arm­strong

There’s some­thing for every­one with fash­ion’s cur­rent of­fer­ings

Some­times the trends that sink deep­est into the blood­stream start with a slow drip.That’s how it feels with the pantsuit:A sharp streak of author­ity that’s been hov­er­ing on the pe­riph­ery for sea­sons. Sure, a jacket and co­or­di­nat­ing trousers looked good on the run­way, but track pants and sneak­ers were a way of life.This spring, the pantsuit strides con­fi­dently through scores of col­lec­tions. Checked and jaunty at Burberry. Slouchy and de­con­structed at Cé­line. Full Cana­dian tuxedo at Dior, where Artis­tic Di­rec­tor Maria Grazia Chi­uri imag­ined a cul­tured bo­hemian with a bot­tom­less bank ac­count.

The menswear sta­ple is up­end­ing the sta­tus quo of the aver­age closet. Is this the ghost of Hil­lary Clin­ton? Per­haps. It can’t be a co­in­ci­dence that at a time when women are call­ing on all their avail­able re­serves, max­i­mum cosi­ness is ced­ing the way to a sil­hou­ette with more… pur­pose. As Hol­ly­wood is dis­cov­er­ing, there is noth­ing that can’t be rewrit­ten or re­cast, be it a movie ( All the Money in the World) or the old rules about dress­ing.

One strat­egy for mak­ing the prover­bial grey flan­nel suit as com­pelling as those sweat­shirts you have on re­peat or­der, is colour. Laven­der at Max Mara, cobalt and pink at Os­car de la Renta… Take your pick and treat it like a sen­su­ous, play­ful, grown-up sis­ter to the jump­suit.There’s no law that says the pantsuit has to be bor­ing, cor­po­rate, or se­ri­ous. It doesn’t even have to be matchy-matchy. It’s a suit in in­ten­tion more than an ac­tual suit.

Chi­uri likes to wear her denim Dior Bar jacket with vin­tage vel­vet pants and high-main­te­nance per­ox­ided hair. “Of course I want to feel glam­orous,” she says.“But I want to feel re­laxed too.That’s mod­ern lux­ury.” It’s time to mix things up a lit­tle. If the ’70s owned glam-rock, in 2018 we have glam-com­fort.As Tibi’s Cre­ative Di­rec­tor Amy Smilovic put it to me over a cosy sup­per in Paris one night dur­ing the shows,“no one wants to be con­strained by their clothes any­more.”

Sep­a­rates are a crit­i­cal ele­ment in the new power blend. Spring’s high­waisted pants do ev­ery­thing a good skirt should do but without any of the panty-hose dilem­mas, i.e., high­light your waist and skim over your hips and thighs in the most curve-pos­i­tive way pos­si­ble (Alexan­der Wang draped his over leather waist-cinch­ers).Wear them full-length and flow­ing, or sliced above the an­kle, and pick your footwear ac­cord­ingly, from gleam­ing white Stan Smiths to Prada’s vel­vet plat­forms.

What goes on top? Any­thing that de­fines the waist. Loose, long, tucked-in shirts at Cé­line or cute iri­des­cent bombers at Coach 1941, where Cre­ative Di­rec­tor Stu­ar­tVev­ers went for a full-shine, more-is-more ef­fect, pair­ing them with slim se­quinned skirts. Speak­ing of max­i­mal­ism and sparkle, add a dose of each to your shop­ping list be­cause se­quins are not only a day­time en­ergy booster but also a big fac­tor in evening­wear, which is back as a high roller for 2018. Pick a deci­bel—from Ver­sace’s rau­cous fi­nale mo­ment, when the orig­i­nal supermodels ap­peared in floor­length gold me­tal mesh show­girl dresses, to Er­dem’s queenly duchesse satin prom dresses—and riff on it at your plea­sure.

This is the year that you stop re­ly­ing on ear­rings alone to take you from your desk to a party.The ear­ring is still a state­ment, big and care­fully, co­or­di­nately mis­matched (you buy them that way). But it needs backup. Jimmy Choo booties and glit­ter shoes from la­bels like Gucci and Miu Miu are an easy wink to old-school vamp­ish­ness. And there are a lot of other clas­sic ac­cou­trements to gloss up your game.The dec­o­ra­tive kit­ten heel is back and pret­tier r than ever, with bows and rib­bons. bons.

So is the stiletto pump (tweed eed at Ba­len­ci­aga, stud­ded ed at Prada) and a de­li­cious us posse of sum­mer boots, , in­clud­ing Vic­to­rian-style e lace-ups, stretchy tall boots

(corsetry for can­kles, calves s and knees), and Cé­line’s s pa­per-bag bootie.

Pat­ter ns are an­other her hall­mark of the spring closet, loset, to the point where min­i­mal­ists lists may want to stay in bed. Florals are more gor­geous than ever, of­ten en on dark gothic back­grounds. If you’re go­ing this route, make them sub­lime.Among lime.Among the stand­outs, Gi­ambat­tista at­tista Valli’s sculpted ruffles have a san­guine, ar­chi­tec­tural pres­ence, while Marc

Ja­cobs’s ditzy daisies are punchy and adorable (and all the more e as­sertive for be­ing ac­ces­sorised with opera gloves).

This new dressed-up, , more-is-more mood doesn’t mean that your favourite Off

White streetwear just be­came came re­dun­dant. In fact, Cre­ative Di­rec­tor Vir­gil Abloh ref­er­enced

Sloane Ranger poster girl Princess Diana this sea­son.

Anoraks have been made over in plas­tics and leathers; fanny packs are sud­denly a de­light­fully per­verse lux­u­ri­ous-fash­ion thing; track pants are silky, beaded, or both; sneak­ers are reach­ing new lev­els of in­ven­tion

(and pric­ing); and hoods are peek­ing out from the chicest of blaz­ers.

This in­her­ent con­tra­dic­tion in the sea­son’s glam­our—which has more to do with pleas­ing one­self than with ap­peas­ing the male gaze or play­ing to the In­sta­gram gallery—is what makes it work­able. You don’t nec­es­sar­ily have to wear an item of cloth­ing to in­voke its spirit.The re­turn of the pantsuit, evening­wear and stilet­tos is merely fash­ion’s im­mune sys­tem kick­ing in to en­sure that our cur­rent crush on so-called util­i­tar­ian leisurewear doesn’t slide into a couch­potato sta­sis. I reckon that most women will tran­si­tion back­ward and for­ward be­tween ath­leisure and glam-com­fort, de­pend­ing on their day. In 2018, glam­our is not a rigid pre­scrip­tion but an à la carte buf­fet with plenty to nour­ish the soul as well as the body. ■

Celiné spring/ sum­mer 2018

From top: Coach 1941 spring/sum­mer 2018. Alexan­der Wang spring/ sum­mer 2018 2018. Marc Ja­cobs spring/sum­mer 2018. Miu Miu spring/sum­mer 2018

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