Winter print, it’s a no-brainer really. When it feels cold outside, you should bring warmth and personality into what you wear. And nothing says that better than a spiralling, frenetic pattern or painterly splatters. It’s also a lot more interesting than just the traditional blocks of black, grey, navy and brown colour palettes that so often dominate the season. Even so, if you do prefer a more sombre palette, then this is exactly the time to make sure the pieces you do choose are those that come with some sort of razzle-dazzle too.
But let’s get something straight: winter print is different to summer print. The latter you’ll find spring-fresh or neon-bright in tone and radiating from a wispy-wafting piece of chiffon. Use of black is sparse, if at all, and motifs themselves rightly depict paradise vistas and beyond. Winter print is underpinned by bold graphics, geometric formations and an often slightly jarring (but in a good away) colourway.
Dries Van Noten did it most memorably this season: spiralling kaleidoscopic lines of magenta and orange, navy and yellow, and monochrome. Sunglasses weren’t worn just for show this time round, they were required. Modern art movements informed collections from Chanel and Burberry to Roksanda and Prada.
The pros for winter print are that you’ll stand out on a grey day – both against the backdrop of a rainy cityscape and the legions of winter-coat-wearers that wander its streets. It’s also a nice reminder that winter isn’t just a month of gloom – getting darker earlier and staying so for longer – and that colour can still reign supreme beyond the realms of July and August.
But the way to wear it is either head-to-toe as one item such as a dress or coat; or select one choice piece and make that your sartorial centrepiece, as it were. Valentino‘s circus-bright skirt in pink, red and black will work with a black roll-neck jumper; Acne’s zingy mini needs only a band-style T-shirt or simply a plain design; while tops will easily bring something new to favourite jeans or faithful smart bottoms.
Phillip Lim is a designer who does wearable in a way you don’t even ever really realise.
Even to the point that random strapping on skirts, trench coats and cardigans, jackets and bustier additions seem just fine. Of course, there was a utility edge as only Lim does – but it played out with a grunge vibe and that feeling that you wanted to be in whatever fashion gang his girl is in. Dishevelled jumpers layered upon shirts and jackets hiding beneath great coats (I’ve got my eye on the monochrome plaid number especially), there were lots of layers.
They looked good together but will look just as good apart if you can only manage to make one a part of your wardrobe this season.
There was a tightening up of ideas at Proenza Schouler as Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez presented a hit autumn collection.
Their imaginations were stirred by the work of Helen Frankenthaler, the American expressionist painter, and conceptual artist, Robert Morris. The slicing of hemlines was a direct homage to Morris’ felted panel installations whereas the link to Frankenthaler was less obvious, but there was certainly a free-spiritedness and freedom to the way those hemlines moved that certainly seem to tally with her paintings.
Regardless of how those artists played a part, it all worked. Long and lean was the message: bandage-tight up top with long narrow sleeves extending past fingertips, while skits were cut into considered slits allowing for movement. It made for a strong look. The shape was executed in tweedy tops and skirts partnered with curly grey Mongolian shrugs, cow hide dresses and boiled felt coats with inside-out seams.
Sheer sheaths decorated in eyelets and eruptions of Mongolian, feathers and fox felt punkish in combinations of red, white and black, those chaotic scribble prints were another crowd pleaser.
Proenza Schouler girls will find a lot to like come autumn.