Sunday 4 December 2016

Get suede by this cult item

Nothing says 1970s like a suede skirt - so here's how to wear yours.

Published 09/04/2015 | 02:30

Alexa Chung stepped out in the calf-length skirt.
Alexa Chung stepped out in the calf-length skirt.
Look One, wedding - Karen Finnerty
Look Two: Communion
Look three: Work
Look Four: Cocktails
Look Five: Date night
Look Six: Family lunch

One sumptuous fabric was seen in many variations on the spring/summer 2015 catwalks and if you had any doubts that the reigning trend of the season was a hark back to the 1970s, the resurgence of suede should clear things up.

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Wearing suede has long been considered a status symbol. As far back as the 1930s, French designers would execute suits for their most prestigious clients in the soft hide, which they made from manipulating the underside of leather. In fact, every couturier worth their salt, from Hubert de Givenchy to Jean Paul Gaultier, has featured stand-out suede pieces in their collections over the years, but it was in the 70s when it really came into its own.

The era's perennial style icons spent most of the decade wearing suede. Soft mini-skirts, fringed jackets and slouchy boots were an integral part of the wardrobes of musicians such as Stevie Nicks, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Cher, and thanks to 'it girls' like Anita Pallenberg, Britt Ekland, Jane Birkin and Lauren Hutton, suede became ingrained in the fashion identity of the 1970s.

Fast forward some 40 years and our love affair with carefree, folk-inspired fashion has been reignited. When it came to reinventing suede, a modern take was offered by labels in all four fashion capitals. Derek Lam and Lowe presented suede coats and jackets in lilac and camel, while Gucci and Chloe upped the ante with their mini dresses and twin sets. Even the godfathers of American fashion, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors, used suede in olive and khaki tones, while Tibi produced chic culottes in a delicious shade of fawn.

Taking inspiration, here is a functional, practical and stylish mid-length skirt to see you through the season. Compliment it with neutral staples for an effortlessly luxe look, or walk on the wild side with some animal prints.

Skirt of the season

It's the suede skirt that has everyone talking. As 1970s fashion mania took hold, Marks and Spencer was quick to cotton on to the trend. The retailer managed to cause an international stir, akin to the Zara skort of 2014, with a suede skirt in its Autograph range - and the garment hasn't even landed in stores yet.

Nonetheless, the skirt debuted late last year, when both Olivia Palermo and Alexa Chung stepped out in the €270 calf-length skirt, prompting some 3,500 customers to register their interest in it.

Marks and Spencer responded by multiplying the original order by five, and dedicating a web page solely to "the skirt of the season" ahead of its landing date on April 10.

The skirt featured below is M&S's more budget-friendly version of the style, and is in stores now.

Look one: Wedding

Skirt: Marks and Spencer, €59 (used throughout)

Top: Coast €45

Necklace: Coast €70

Bag: Coast €70

Look two: Communion

Jacket: Marella at Arnotts €270

Ring: Warehouse €8

Bag: Coast €45

Shoes: River Island €45

Top: River Island €35

Look three: Work

Shirt: Jaeger at Arnotts €215

Shoes: Kurt Geiger €49

Bag: Oasis €31

Look four: Cocktails

Shoes: Kurt Geiger at Arnotts, €59

Top and bag: Warehouse, €72 and €52

Look five: Date night

Top: Manley at Arnotts €220

Bangle: Warehouse €16

Bag: Oasis €28

Shoes: Kurt Geiger €59

Look six:  Family lunch

Sleeveless jacket: River Island, €60

Shirt: Oasis €40

Shoes: River Island €70

Bag: River Island €75

Irish Independent

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