A Gothic romance
For the past few seasons, it has felt as if fashion is being dictated more than ever before by the requirements of our lives, and each wearer's individuality, rather than arbitrary trends sent down from on high. Our new go-to uniform is a case in point: midi-length skirts and dresses now set the tone for our wardrobes. We want clothes that are capable of going from casual to dressy to work, but are, most importantly, comfortable. Nothing too fitted, or too tight.
"It's a very feminine season, first of all," says Brown Thomas Fashion Director Shelly Corkery. "But the other thing that I'm keen on is all those soft, long, nearly against the body, rather than hourglass, fitted silhouettes. Valentino dresses - they're loose, long, and done in chiffons, or organzas, or silks like liquid jersey. Keeping it feminine, but not fitted-tight; definitely away from the body. It's a new silhouette in fashion."
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Autumn/winter 2019 sees comfort prioritised over all else. Tailoring is a big theme, too, but the trend is loose and easy, rather than formal. "I think tailoring is not going away, and it's better than ever," reflects Shelly. "This year, it has developed to that wide-trousers silhouette, with all those oversized blazers." The way to wear it, she says, is to break the suit up. "I think that's a really cool look; wearing your dress with a jacket," she says. "Whether it's a soft, short or long chiffon dress, I think to wear your tailored blazer over it is a lovely way to get that tailored look."
This contrasting of silhouettes is key this season, which, as in previous years, places more emphasis on personal touches to create your own look, rather than slavishly following a trend."I think it's a new way of dressing, and it's more about styling your look, rather than just throwing on your suit or your dress," says Shelly. "It's the way you wear it. With your oversized blazer, it might be nipped in with a belt, or you might have a chiffon multi-print or a plain dress on underneath. It's a lovely way of bringing structure to soft silhouettes."
Shelly says this will be a season of strong colours - burgundy; red; cobalt blue. There are also lots of pinks, she adds. She says romance with a darker edge is strong for autumn/winter 2019. "Miuccia Prada showed a grunge look, which is really strong," she says. "All those bright evening dresses, bright pink, bright red; all those floral prints, worn with that big, clumpy biker boot."
In place of summer's trainers, we will be teaming our softer pieces with thick, chunky boots. Last season's trend for cowboy boots lingers, but the tractor sole is the new favourite. Shelly identifies Prada's lightweight rubber-soled version as a particular favourite. "It's away from too much femininity. Keeping your look feminine, but adding something heavyweight with a boot," she says.
This season sees several new labels come to the designer floor in Brown Thomas Dublin. Labels like Bottega Veneta's ready-to-wear, which is a clean, minimalist collection, particularly strong on classic Crombie coats. Paco Rabanne brings flirty dresses, with a strong sense of glamour. Also new are Marc Jacobs Runway; Yves Salomon; Nicole Benisti and 16Arlington.
As one of the most influential women in Irish fashion, what will Shelly, whose favourite shows of the season were Valentino, Prada and Dior, look to as her go-to pieces this season?
"A flower-print, A-line midi skirt from Prada. I think that's very strong," she says. "I'm going to wear that with a biker boot. I'd love to see myself getting into a pair of those wide, loose trousers from Stella McCartney or Bottega Veneta. And definitely an oversized blazer, which I'll be throwing on over everything."
Photography by Stefano Moro Van Wyk
Styling by Darren Feeney
Words by Liadan Hynes
Sunday Indo Life Magazine