Winter Print

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.

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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.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Jonathan Saunders

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The pop architect Robert Venturi once said, “Less is a bore,” and Jonathan Saunders’s latest collection was a no-holds barred homage to living an amplified life in optimistic technicolor.

Saunders has recently secured investment in his brand, and although most of this collection must have been designed before the cash injection had landed, this was a case of art imitating life; if “life” is sweet and “art” is unfettered joy, that is.

His latest was a complete departure from his last collection. The spring/summer 2015 offering was introspective, conceptual even, and yes, Saunders could be critiqued for inconsistency from one season to the next, but he isn’t interested in repetition and his true talent lies within his ability to shape-shift. Saunders is a generous designer. His collections are offered up with an open vulnerability. If his designs had a catch phrase it would be, “Take me as you find me”, and as such this collection was unmistakably him.

There was that trademark, tense duality between the formalist and the fetishist; the dresses with bracelet sleeves and high-funnel necklines had a prim restraint which was twisted with lace-up, over-the-knee kinky boots. Colour wise this was an ode to outré. The op-art prints were varied and clashing, riffing on a modish Sixties swish. Saunders had been inspired by the artists which he referenced at the beginning of his career: the pop art of Allen Jones and Bridget Reily.

The sound track to the show was George Michael’s Careless Whisper. “I love that song, it makes me happy,” he said backstage. “I went back to thinking about why we do what we do, why I design, and look at my face,” he said, backstage. “I’m happy, that’s what this collection is about. Optimism.”

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Hugo Boss

Polished, industrial, sharp and serious – one can’t help but think that ever since Jason Wu took on the helm of Hugo Boss this time last year that the aesthetic has filtered out onto his own eponymous line. As we saw at the start of the week, his namesake label was less full of the flounce and frou that it once was. And Boss is about a certain precision, a heritage luxury brand. That said, among the silhouettes today there was a renewed softness – rounder shoulders, a play on proportion and panels for lithe dresses and leg-of-mutton sleeves.

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Caught on Fishnets

It’s a fishnet fall—but not necessarily the full, sexy, boom-boom kind of a season this time round. Somehow, the idea of large-scale mesh took over entire looks in the Spring shows—in collections as completely dissimilar as Simone Rocha’s and Balmain’s—not, I think we will agree, fashion at its most wearable. But these cues have a way of sinking in and popping up somewhere else. And now the useful form has arrived: May we suggest the fishnet sock? Yes, as tiny and inexpensive a purchase as they are, this is the moment when a pair of fishnet socks will sneak an inordinate amount of pleasure into a daily repertoire. As the days turn draftier, they’ve turned into a perfect styling flip: great as a New Wave–ish device for glamming up the gap between turned-up denims and spiky pumps; a neat surprise when flashed with trainers; or—if the eccentric-lady mood is upon you—worn as the fully visible knee-high version, with a skirt.

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To trace the thread of how this minor trick hit critical mass, we only need to glance at Proenza Schouler’s Fall show, where the web of intrigue began with the label’s large-scale, chunkily knitted tights and socks. By the Spring collections, fishnets were popping up at Maison Margiela and Ashley Williams. Just a footnote to fashion, of course—but one to have plenty of fun with right now.

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