The traditionally straight-laced (and dare we say it, boring) Autumn/Winter collections are a thing of the past. Even the major fashion labels are stepping things up with outstanding collections featuring unexpected cuts and silhouettes (most notably, designer Rei Kawakubo’s shocking gold prints and trademark asymmetrical cuts for Comme des Garçons and John Galliano’s last flamboyant collection for the house of Dior).
Comme des Garçons
After the apocalyptic-inspired designs and prints for Spring/Summer, featuring images of skulls plastered all over its ready-to-wear collection, one of Japan’s most revered designers pares it down a little for Autumn/Winter. Not really. The typically long black-and-navy trench-style coat for example, may look predictable on surface, but its back features sheer net tops that will certainly stop traffic. Equally attention-grabbing are the one-sided jackets with bunched-up sleeves, as well as vintage-inspired colors and prints on body-hugging dresses intersected with asymmetric bands of black ruffles and gold-colored headgear.
A fitting farewell of a collection from the flamboyant John Galliano (who, if you’ve been living under a rock, was fired from the label after he made anti-Semitic comments a few months ago), the Dior women’s range is what you’ll get if you cross the classic style of The Great Gatsby with modern Cate Blanchett/Paris Hilton-esque Hollywood glamour. Floppy felt hats, flippy pleated school skirts, suede clam diggers, vintage-inspired sunglasses, hooded cloaks and silk bloomers with bows on each hip come in a rich palette of burgundy, green, brown and black, interspersed with dressier coats of undulating silk ruffles interrupted by stripes of fur. And that’s just the daywear. Classier formal wear like the red velvet mousseline princess dress, lemon tulle embroidered dress and pink pleated silk knit dress are true standouts—elegant, swish and outrageous.
Kris Van Assche
Somewhat reminiscent of his homme collection for Dior, Kris Van Assche goes even deeper with his penchant for impeccable tailoring, subtle details and overall sartorial elegance this Autumn/Winter, with a (very) subtle twist of punk aesthetics. Asymmetric zippers are added to tailored jackets while the jacket’s necklines are imbued with nappa leather lining. The overall silhouette is still pretty loose, with clever use of pieces such as a jacket collar as a scarf and accessories like thin leather belts and mountain-climbing-inspired boots for that further edginess. Van Assche said in a recent interview, “The new generation doesn’t want to wear suits, or is uncomfortable with suits. But the boys who followed me since I started my brand now have office jobs, so most have to wear a suit.” This is as cool as it gets for the modern dandy.
$699 upwards from Club 21.
Never one to relent, the ubiquitous Marc Jacobs outdoes himself again with his Autumn/Winter collection for Louis Vuitton. Clearly never satisfied with just one style, the women’s ready-to-wear collection has been described as one that walks the fine line between modesty and provocation, between reason and irrationality. From ultra-feminine pieces such as the Belle de Jour-inspired blouses replete with shiny black buttons on its back and knits to the suggestive use of corsets interspersed with mannish-military-style jackets and coats nipped at the waist in shocking red, the collection is totally off the charts (in a good way). Throw in a mix of more wearable pieces like sheer pencil skirts, A-line skirts with palettes mimicking python scales and rounded-toe pumps accentuated with delicate bow straps and sexy laces, and you have a winner.
Romance is in the air in the house of Valentino, where its current designers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccoli, have been working hard to create a timeless collection that stays true to the brand’s authority on lace, coats and day dresses. As contemporary as ever and never dainty. Tailored beige cashmere suits and day dresses are imbued with inserts of ribbed knit, giving them a casual yet lustrous feel, while gorgeous appliqué works feature in A-line dresses in nude, burgundy and navy. For something more formal, try the neat trench coats in emerald green leather. You’ll stand out in all the right ways.