Sunday 18 March 2018

Break the rules - fashion moves toward retro glamour

Printed chiffon dress, €3,500, Gucci; crystal brooch; €725, Lanvin; model's right hand: cocktail ring, €100, Kenneth Jay Lane; model's left hand: pearl ring, €270, Lanvin; ring, €160, Marni
Printed chiffon dress, €3,500, Gucci; crystal brooch; €725, Lanvin; model's right hand: cocktail ring, €100, Kenneth Jay Lane; model's left hand: pearl ring, €270, Lanvin; ring, €160, Marni
Hand-painted, embellished chiffon dress with silk underlay; leather trousers, both Chloe, both to order

Liadan hynes

'The most important thing for me was change, this season. I think we've seen lots of little changes over the years - contrast, over-sizing, feminine glamour; but this season was definitely the most diverse change," Shelly Corkery, fashion director of Brown Thomas reflects, describing the huge transition in trends for autumn/winter 2016.

Femininity is still key, she says, but "it is a change from classic feminine glamour to a much more retro glamour, and to much more diverse fashion. In the past, we looked at little changes every season, but I think this season has done a nearly 360-degree turnaround."

New creative directors at the helm of both Gucci and Balenciaga had a lot to do with this departure in direction, Shelly says. In particular, Demna Gvasalia - who was last year appointed creative director at Balenciaga - seems to be responsible for the new movement. He's also the designer behind Vetements, Alexa Chung's current favourite and one of Brown Thomas's new labels for this season. Gvasalia is a designer known for championing newness, rather than harking back to past glories.

"It's not about that hourglass simplicity any more," says Shelly. "It's about styling your look, and what can you do to modernise that dress. Change your shoe; wear your sneakers. We were getting very serious with all those hourglass dresses; I think it's much more fun now."

For the customer, it means the potential to buy into a far more individual offering, rather than receiving a head-to-toe look with little room for any personal interpretation. A recent beloved autumn/winter staple, for example, was the uniform of Roland Mouret Galaxy dress worn with YSL Tribute platform heels.

"There are no package deals," says Shelly. "I think the whole world is leading in a new direction. It started after Phoebe Philo put her stamp on minimalism and over-sizing. This season is a development of that. A very embellished development."

It's what Shelly calls "a typical fashion-person's season, there's so much out there: femininity; streetwear; genderless; Prada's global traveller; fairytale at Dolce&Gabbana." A "sporty vibe", the essence of modernity, is also key, says Shelly. Even Victoria Beckham has started wearing trainers. Every brand from Chanel to Valentino now includes a pair each season.

Layering is important, as is playing with fabrics - brocades and velvet are used in daywear.

"I think we got bored with wearing just a plain dress with a stiletto. It's definitely more focused on more modernity, more fun, more sportswear, cool materials worn in a more casual way," Shelly says.

Brown Thomas is seeing men buying from the womenswear collection, reversing the boyfriend trend. The spirit, Shelly says, is, "whatever you love you can have, and there are no rules. Rules are there to be broken".

Photography by  Andrew Nuding

Styling by  Darren feeney

Words by Liadan hynes

Fashion edited by Constance Harris

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