Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Ralph Lauren

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When the talk of New York fashion week isn’t revolving around the brutal weather front, then it’s chat about newest latest happenings. That week, it had only been about one thing: the Polo Bar restaurant – Ralph Lauren’s latest opening, a cozy, dimly lit den serving the best steak in town, a stone’s throw away from the new Ralph Lauren Polo Fifth Avenue store. Woody Allen has already been, so too half of the fashion fraternity. It’s a roaring success.

What to wear there? Well, Ralph Lauren of course. In fact, any piece from his collection this morning in 50 shades of brown would fit right in to the equestrian clubhouse feel. Take ‘Truffle cashmere’ for example – it conjures good things doesn’t it? Rich, expensive-looking deliciousness, in which to pour oneself come autumn. This was a classic RL collection; from the layered knitted ensembles, reined in with a low-slung saddle leather belt, to the two-tone wool and suede ponchos, shearling coats and oatmeal flannel trousers.

Celebrity stylists would be wise to put a call in now to request that sublime black strapless gown, devastatingly beautiful in its restraint and simplicity. The woman in that dress can’t not but feel good about life.

This is exactly the sort of collection that his legions of women will shop at his Madison Avenue flagship in New York – and anywhere else in the world for that matter.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Prada

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Like Laduree aliens Prada’s models took to the catwalk – a beautiful collection that had a strong, clear and young message, and Sixties vibes but brought right up to date.

It was all about the combinations: the jarring colours that went from fondant to salmon pink, pea green, mustard and teal, all in one look from prim collar to contrasting brooch, from jacket to trouser.

It was a mouth-watering palette with just as much mouth-watering decoration and detail. There was the sheer prettiness of pink empire line dresses that fell somewhere between a Regency or Victorian coming-out-ball number and something from a sweet sixteen, combined with bedazzling jewels in the hair which then worked their way, super-sized, onto inserts in petal-shaped skirts, as morphing floral brooches or traversed a mink bow that perched at the shoulder and navigated its way to a hem. It was the caricature of prim, pretty and proper – handbags, gloves, little fur collars, Mary-Jane shoes, jacket and skirt combinations.

But so that you didn’t overindulge in all things too sweet, Mrs Prada pulled out those little stylistic details to prevent it all from getting too saccharine, too Dolly Mixture. Those rubber shoes that were a wellington-trainer hybrid; the neoprene and printed tweed; that mean hair by Guido Palau – that was all typical Prada. A style spoke among the wheel and just what we look to her for. There were instantly buyable and bankable looks here.

Next season “ladylike chic” as it’s so often dubbed gets amplified, a smothered brooch approach to dressing will be de rigueur, as will matching your bitesize sandwiches your clothes just as Prada so kindly did for us here pre-show. Simply put: yum.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Oscar de la Renta

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FACT: a front row bursting with Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and North West may get the flashbulbs going but if you really want to know what sets fashion editors’ hearts racing, look no further than the old guard at Oscar de la Renta. Nancy Kissinger, the second wife of Henry Kissinger the former US Secretary of State, Barbara Walters and of course, Annette de la Renta.

On the surface of it, not much seemed all that different: it was the same showroom space that the late Mr de la Renta has always presented in, the same coiffured women on the front row, the same intimate audience, except, everything had changed. This was Peter Copping’s first outing for the house. There can be no doubt that the former Nina Ricci designer would have been quaking in his boots backstage, such is the enormity of taking over from one of America’s greatest ever designers, right here and now under the watchful eye of the late designer’s wife, friends, and the small matter of the rest of the world.

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“I am immensely proud to have been chosen as the creative director of Oscar de la Renta,” he wrote in a letter left on guests’ seats. “Unfortunately things did not go according to our plans and I never had the chance to work with Oscar, which is something I deeply regret. He continued, “In this, my first collection, I hope to honour Oscar’s legacy and also to start a new chapter for the house.”

There wasn’t a single person in the room who wasn’t gunning for Copping, he is probably the most universally liked designer working today; suffice to say he passed with flying colours. It was a sensitive debut filled with the sort of hits that de la Renta’s clients expect to find: cashmere skirts with fox fur trims, cross mink coats, full-skirted day suits – one in cherry fuchsia. A killer cocktail dress arrived in the shape of a black stretch wool shift, with crystal tasselled cap sleeves.

But it was the gowns that stole the show – as they usually do – from an ivory strapless number decorated in ribbon appliqué roses to another streaming in black velvet ribbons. The smile on Mrs de la Renta’s face said it all.

Job well done.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 No.21

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“The mood, the situation, is aristocratic. Like the Luchino Visconti films of the 1950s mixing with sportswear elements. I like to mix and match. But this season it was more about the mixing of romantic femininity with a legerity and masculinity” said designer Alessandro Della Acqua backstage before his show.

Over the years, Della Acqua has become quite an impressive fashion mixologist. He has always been on the hunt for new ways to bring masculine and feminine, sportswear and sophistication, and minimalism with maximalism together.

This season he found a perfect blend.

In one of his strongest collections in recent memory, the designer produced a lineup of asymmetrically layered ensembles that gave his more familiar sartorial ingredients a new kick. The almost avant-garde arrangements of fabrics that moved from flou to fan pleating and flouncing across the ensembles were masterfully done. And the juxtaposition of rich gold brocades woven into grey knitwear was unexpectedly delightful.

The textural and proportional transitions, a beige beauty that started with a cropped nubby-wide lapel coat and grew into a layer of fur which then hovered over panels of plan knee-length wool fabric on one side and to a lace-edged fabric on the other – all of it worn over a pair of slim pants with a razor pleat at the front and hick heeled red ankle boots – were seriously impressive.

Other takeaway items in the collection included the lovely Patrician tapestry outerwear, shimmering with embroidered jacquards. A blue marble effect mohair ensemble and the semi-sheer bird-embellished pieces were other winners in a show filled with strong options.

David Bowie was singing “Let’s Dance” on the show’s soundtrack.

It’s good advice.

This collection deserves to be celebrated.

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