Who says you can’t go for second best? Diffusion lines (affordably priced merchandise created by high-end designers) are all the rage for the right reasons—they bear the designer’s trademark designs and philosophy, and you don’t have to rob the bank for them. Plus, they’re more casual and wearable too, with the likes of D&G by Dolce & Gabbana and DKNY by Donna Karan continuously delivering stylish ready-to-wear season after season. Here’s what’s in store from these coveted “second” lines for Autumn/Winter:
While the ubiquitous Donna Karan’s original dapper and classic silhouettes are simply out of reach for the casual shopper, its diffusion line DKNY has been generating consistent sales since the 80s. Focusing on smart tailoring and classic silhouettes for the younger set, these elements are still in place this Autumn/Winter. For the men, modern military is the inspiration, with American classics and staples updated and streamlined for the times. Expect slimmer and more refined cuts featuring long-sleeve polo tees with fitting nylon trimmings and fine Merino turtle necks. Utilitarian hardcores should look out for the iconic Harrington trench coat or the three-in-one nylon bomber parka—all set in classic shades of concrete, ash charcoal and pewter. For the ladies, black, cream, navy and shades of grey permeate the V-neck cardigans, lean flare trousers and capes with silk pleats that will look great layered with everything else you’ve got. $69 upwards.
Marc by Marc Jacobs
The always flamboyant Marc Jacobs takes a backseat for now, as its diffusion Marc by Marc Jacobs gets all classy and serious for Autumn/Winter. The more dapper among you will be glad to know that Herringbone suits, trench coats, button-down shirts and ties take center stage for the guys, with a sophisticated 40s twist. But the girls needn’t worry that Jacobs has stopped having fun. Metallic leather jackets and culottes, jade green silk dresses and a printed silk jumpsuit show that the man has not lost his edge—these pieces are great if you’re looking for a fun night out with the posse. $129 upwards.
T by Alexander Wang
Alexander Wang’s collections have always been extremely stylish yet laidback, resonating with the contemporary men and women of today who enjoy fashion but still want that casual yet sophisticated look. His diffusion line, T by Alexander Wang, of pre-weathered cotton tees, tanks and T-shirt dresses, is no exception. With their stretched necklines and lowered armholes adding a touch of slouchy, rolled-out-of-bed edge to the label, we don’t think we’ve ever been more psyched about basics before. His Autumn/Winter 2011 collection continues to be versatile, monochromatic and uncomplicated but is made fresh with longer hemlines, plush fabrics and even a tinge of goth. $99 upwards.
Defying tradition with its bold colors and prints, this winter is looking unusually bright and cheery for D&G. Its Autumn/Winter collection is a mash up of trends from the 80s kept up-to-date with quirky and unconventional twists, featuring alphabet print tube dresses coupled with bat sleeve jumpers in striking neon hues. Other hot items to stock up on are the cool bomber jackets, cartoon printed cardigans and colorful wedge sneakers. $99 upwards.
Deemed to be the most accessible (and reasonably priced) of all Armani brands, Armani Exchange compromises on neither style nor comfort with its unique and sleek designs that manage to reflect sophistication and a charming ruggedness at the same time. Inspired by urban living and pop culture, expect to see elegant flowing dresses and smoky printed shirts that are wearable for day and night. Grey, a constant color throughout the Fall collection and meant to highlight the melancholy of the cityscape, can be a difficult color to pull off. But with splashes of teal and red creating a stunning and beautiful contrast, this collection just looks effortless. $89 upwards.
Diffusion lines we’d really like to see:
Maison Martin Margiela doing a line of basic tees that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
Comme des Garçons launching a new range of men’s and women’s shirts without that tacky Play logo emblazoned on any of them.
Louis Vuitton doing a series of collaboration notebooks that starving artists can afford.
Prada or Dior Homme doing a new range of mandals, not necessarily made out of leather (we’re fine with plastic), that we can wear to the beach.
A|X Armani Exchange, #B1-02A/2B/03 ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, 6304-1369
D&G, #01-08/09 & #02-09/10 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rd., 6733-9860
DKNY, #01-04 Palais Renaissance, 390 Orchard Rd., 6304-3551
Inhabit The Other Store, #02-16 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rd., 6836-8441
Marc by Marc Jacobs, #01-11 & #02-12 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rd., 6304-1376