Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Anya Hindmarch

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Anya Hindmarch is fashion’s doyenne of riffing on the parochial and finding humour in the mundane – if she isn’t being inspired by mobile phone emoticons, or schoolgirl graffiti, then it is cereal packets and milk cartons, remember those Frosties packet handbags she showed this time last year

Anya’s latest theme is traffic – the collection was entitled ‘Diversion’ – and so her handbags, and this time a debut collection of clothing, riffed on the signage that marks our roads and motorways.

The show opened with chevron striped, funnel-neck tops and dresses stamped with slogans: ‘Soft Verge’, ‘Free Delivery’. Although the clothes could be considered the accessories to the main event: the bags.


Cue leather box clutches stamped with ‘No U turn’ signs and ‘slowdown’. Dove grey bucket bags swinging with green scratch and sniff Magic Tree charms and Little Chef signage, and tote bags stamped with digging men road works signs.

The show came to a close with the catwalk being flanked by the London Gay Men’s Chorus, singing their hearts out dressed as motorway workers in orange high-vis.

“There is something about being on the M25 with a clear road and combination of lights, reflective surfaces,” said Anya in the show notes, “I love the iconic graphic signage with its purity and efficiency of message.”

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Alberta Ferretti Couture

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Alberta Ferretti often takes inspiration from exotic motifs picked up throughout her travels. For her couture collection, the setting pretty much came to her.

Ferretti recently moved her Paris offices into the ground floor of a glorious 19th-century mansion adjacent to her boutique at 43 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. As befitting a home once owned by the Rothschilds, it is lavishly decorated with cherub paintings, friezes, and gilded moldings that vary greatly from room to room. Once painstakingly restored, they provided a perfect story line for Ferretti’s Couture collection.

“My customers are looking for evening pieces that are precious and unique with more personality, but with the modernity of ready-to-wear,” the designer explained. And she obliged to dazzling effect, plucking the rosy bouquets and geometric friezes from the walls and recasting them on a long silk evening gown in the same rich jade green. Elsewhere, a burgundy dress and a beige bustier dress in duchesse satin were hand-embroidered with brass beading and singed velvet flowers, reprising an elaborate floral relief.

Ferretti revisited several of her signature haute bohemian silhouettes, adding inserts in pale gold lace; one of the most beguiling items was a draped silver and lavender dévoré gown tied together with a ribbon in woven gold. The final exits, in tightly gathered flounces of pure white tulle, were embedded with winking, droplet-shaped crystals that recalled the Murano glass chandelier. Those looks immediately evoked wedding bells, but the truth is that a free-spirited bride could pick virtually any one of these dresses for her big day.

Who needs storybook princess when you could be a Coachella queen?
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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Vera Wang

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THE fashion landscape right now is full of street styles, urban edge and sports accents. We dress down, we feel comfortable and then of course there is the opposite end of the spectrum: dressing for the red carpet. But who really does that?

For those somewhere in the middle of all of this comes salvation in Vera Wang, who designs for adults, riffs on classics and keeps within her own parameters to surprisingly stand out. Masculine shirting, wide-leg, loose trousers and straight-down dresses that gave no hint of feminine curve, jackets and coats of off-kilter proportions – it was full of subtle segues.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Topshop Unique

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If fashion is about projecting a vision of a woman and the clothes she’d wear in her fantasy life, then bagsy being the Topshop girl.

She’s a little bit of all of us – a charming, mixed-up style dichotomy who quite fancies herself frolicking in the playful wilds of the English countryside in narrow, side-split shift dresses, printed with spriggy dandelion flowers.

Equally, once the country jaunt is over, she can’t wait to get back to London, primed for mischief and ready to shimmy her bare shoulders in a strapless cocktail dress while sipping champagne.

This Topshop Unique girl had an Eighties sensibility (let’s imagine she’s doing all of that dancing at Annabel’s). There was certainly a brashness to her – the ornately embroidered, black velvet mini dresses and wide, glossy green vinyl flares worn with a gold Lurex jacket saw to that.

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But as much as this girl likes to party, she craves a homely sense of luxury from her everyday pieces (like all of us she sees the practical appeal of a capsule wardrobe).

She chooses pinafore dresses worn with chubby, navy roll-neck knits and cute, block heel pumps – the red velvet with their jolly, sixties verve were a favourite – as were the two piece cornflower blue corduroy suit and Taupe vinyl macs.

So what will be next season’s hit winter coat on the high street? Expect it to be shearling, with weighty fluffy cuffs, and it’s worth noting that the hemlines here were abbreviated, aimed squarely at Topshop’s coquettish customer.

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