Fashion trends for autumn/winter 2011
A new season means a new wardrobe, and there's a world of choice for today's fashionista, writes Niamh O'Rourke
Fashion accelerates once Autumn/Winter hits. The new season is less about bikini bodies and more about the actual clothes in all their glory; fabrics, cuts, silhouettes, hot new labels, statement accessories and, of course, 'The Trends'.
They are showered upon us twice a year and whether you love or loathe them, they yield plenty of power.
You may not slavishly follow them and unless you're into regular high-street purchases, few of us can keep up season to season. Nevertheless, if you view them less as dictatorial and more as inspirational, they can add a fizz of newness to your wardrobe.
Fashion will never merely exist, it will always hunt for cutting-edge creativity. It's a fickle industry but its energy and its break-neck pace make it addictive.
Trends have never been so diverse. Gone are the days of an entire decade being dedicated to prom dresses, flower power or shoulder pads; now you can taste it all. And not just one at a time -- not an ounce of loyalty required here.
If you nail the right cocktail, it's perfectly acceptable to bundle 10 trends into one look. Personal style has never been so acknowledged and appreciated.
So what delights are on offer for AW11? Spiced hues, androgyny, the '60s and spots are a few to focus on.
Equally strong are the '40s, as Miu Miu leads the march with fur stoles, broad shoulders and crimson lips.
Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton took fetish with all its black leather, corsets and sheer fabrics, to a new level of luxe.
Minimalism and clean lines are a modern alternative to the vintage overload with Phoebe Philo at Celine and dare we say it, Victoria Beckham driving the 'less is more' ethos.
In contrast, high-voltage shine hit the runway at Cavalli, Moschino and Balmain with shimmering gold topping the poll.
Borrow from the boys for this trend. Leading the pack is Dolce & Gabbana, who have that nifty knack of being able to sex up absolutely anything.
For their show, braces, brogues, quiffs and fedoras accompanied double-breasted jackets and sleeveless shirts.
There was a distinct nod to the '50s Teddy Boy with two-tone suiting and drainpipe pants a particularly strong pairing.
Tailored pieces like tuxedo jackets and cropped tapered trousers provide the lynchpins, while essential accessories include brogues or chelsea boots.
If you can't resist a heel, opt for these Celine-inspired ones at Zara -- they're minimalist and modern but with a tomato-red panel for added zing.
The key to this look is to play with the ambiguous balance of feminine versus masculine.
Think Parisian chic, that timeless juxtaposition of a fragile frame in men's tailoring.
If you're going to combine suiting and flats, introduce a hint of shimmer with metallic pants like these electric blue ones from Topshop or this sequin and chiffon shirt from Warehouse.
From polkas to full-on spots, fashion has gone dotty for AW11. You could even say that spots were the new stripes if you were that way inclined.
Stella McCartney popped them on sheer fabric panels on body-con dresses using a monochrome palette of black and white for added impact.
Marc Jacobs did pencil skirts smothered in over-size paillettes to add texture and sheen while Diane von Furstenberg teamed swathes of spotty fabric with round bug-eye shades.
This is the perfect trend to add a pinch of colour to your wardrobe, rather than going the whole hog. For a wink to the '80s, sheer polka-dot hosiery is ideal, or check out Wolford's bolder version for a graphic effect.
These Dalmatian-print boots by Kurt Geiger don more of a splodge than a spot and are sure to pack a punch.
Or if you have the urge to splurge, these crystal-encrusted heels by Pierre Hardy are the way to go. Never before have spots looked so sophis'.
We've seen the pretty side of vintage from floaty tea dresses to '50s debutantes, but now fashions cleaner aesthetic calls for something sharper and the '60s hit the mark.
Inspiration comes from the Mod era, Jean Shrimpton or for a ladylike twist, Hitchcock heroine Tippi Hedren.
At the core of this look are A-line miniskirts, shift dresses, polo necks and knee-high boots or socks.
Jean Paul Gaultier offered elegant beehives, bracelet sleeves and fur-trimmed brocade suiting.
Prada went down a more girly route with thigh-high, drop-waist dresses, bakelite buckle belts, driving gloves and python knee-highs setting the tone.Resist the urge to be too literal or you'll run the risk of looking more fancy dress than cutting edge. Take elements and contemporise.
Keep grooming modern and opt for a clunky bag rather than a neat box clutch, or just touch the trend with loaded lashes and block-heel courts.
Golden shades of citrine, ochre and turmeric are bounding forward this season. They may not be the easiest of hues but they're no canary yellow so fear not. They have depth, subtlety and suit blondes as well as brunettes surprisingly well. The key is to add intensity with berry accents of rich garnet and claret red topped off with amber jewels and gold hardware for added heat.
At the most vibrant end of the palette is this saffron satin gown by RI Roksanda Ilincic. With pussy-bow collar, raw pinked edging and high waist-band, it's a real show-stopper.
To invest, check out Moschino's pearl collared shift. If your purse strings are yelping at the mere mention of a designer brand, you'll be happy to hear the high-street has embraced this trend with muster.
Maroon skinnies are the jean of the season and these River Island ones are a mere €53.