Dressing for a new season
Far from bleak and mid-winter, AW15 looks set to be anything but dull with rich colours and couture-like finishes, writes Bairbre Power, who spoke with Shelly Corkery from Brown Thomas about what to watch out for as the new style term begins
Autumn Winter 2015 makes a little history in fashion terms because, for the first time in ages, trends don't rule the roost and dictate dressing behaviour.
Shelly Corkery, Fashion Director of Brown Thomas, reports a clear message from the catwalks.
"I really felt that AW15 was not so much about trends, new lengths or new colours, it was more about the designers doing their own thing," said Shelly, pictured left wearing a black Roksanda Ilincic mid-calf length dress.
"There was a huge reference to all the decades - the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s in the AW15 designer collections, and there's kind of a change, and we are actually looking back to all of the decades in a much different way.
"I think all the designers are doing their own thing. There was definitely huge themes of femininity and Goth and Op Art happening but it was not as trend-driven as it was the educated designer looking to the past for inspiration, that's probably the best way to describe it," says Shelly.
The Fashion Director reports "futuristic tones and lots of blurred lines between the decades". There was nostalgia and femininity and lots of things that we looked at last season (SS15) like Victorian, Gothic, optical art and the decades "but they have moved on, definitely they've matured.
"Far from bleak and mid-winter, AW15 looks set to be anything but dull," says Shelly, "thanks to an abundance of rich jewel-inspired colours that have come through from the runway shows, and all the autumnal hues were there with sapphire blue being very strong along with beautiful rusts, reds, rubies, emerald green and gleaming gold."
The Op Art influence has brought a new intensity to the graphic monochrome trend. The super talented and highly collectable Peter Pilotto excelled, especially with his skirts. There were memorable moments too from Celine who stepped into print.
Roksanda Ilincic whose jumpsuit instantly attracted fans, and Valentino, played at longer lengths in pure monochromes with great charm.
Peter Pilotto has gone into the BT's Limerick store this season and another big name player, Roland Mouret, formerly hailed as the king of the bodycon, has gone onto the rails of their Cork store, with pieces in colours that are exclusive to BT's.
"Exquisite" is how Shelly describes the feminine shapes which evolved to mark out this AW15 season as something special and, after viewing endless collections on either side of the Atlantic, she praises the delivery of a couture aesthetic with luxury details and delivered "by way of impeccable craftsmanship."
The black strapless cutaway dress is from Stella McCartney whose collection "bordered on couture", says Shelly. Listing off her favourite shows this season, Shelly enthusiastically name checks Balenciaga, Victoria Beckham and Dries Van Noten. She points to the beauty of the ovoid shapes (which resemble the outline of an egg or an ellipse) and also the "magnificent cutaway check skirt from Balenciaga".
To achieve this couture construction, the designers used luxurious fabrics in silhouettes imbued with dynamic cuts, folded materials and bespoke touches like hand stitching, adding in extra detailing on buttons, zips, raw edges and metal sleeve details.
"It's a 'one-of-a-kind sensibility,'" says Shelly, who enthuses about Victoria Beckham's asymmetric cutaways and her turtle-neck top and midi-length skirt (pictured right). Victoria Beckham, who has visited the Grafton Street store (memorably, her little daughter Harper took her first public steps walking across the designer floor), continues to be one of its retail stars. "This season, Victoria Beckham was one of my favourite shows and it was wonderful to see the dress taking centre stage," says Shelly.
"Victoria Beckham was sexy chic but in a new, experimental way. The dress silhouettes were close-fitting and elongated with funnel-necks and plunge necklines. Victoria's opening look was a figure-hugging knit with a deep v-neckline with large buttons down the front and her outerwear also stood out, with coats that were sculptured and tailored."
While Miuccia Prada is at the vanguard of originality, and innovation, she clearly enjoyed looking back in time, as did the Dolce & Gabbana boys, and both these labels delivered memorable runway looks.
Dolce & Gabbana celebrated La Mama and they did the whole collection around her. It's a niche that Shelly calls 'Grandma's dressing up box' and across the bejewelled collections, we saw liberal use of tweeds and lace, high-collared shirts, old fashioned knits and tiny twinsets worn with plaid skirts.
Within that category, Erdem's silhouettes fell away from the body with a trapeze-style silhouette.
Black will never be far from our Irish consciousness and you have to love how the gothic theme has evolved, and this year, it's do-able with Victorian frills and butter soft leathers, fringing, embellishment and sheer fabrics that banish any gothish connotations.
The gothic girl is an ode to Givenchy, McQueen, Phillip Lim and Wang. McQueen did lace in nude and worn with ankle boots, and do watch out because the leg length of the boot is rising, says Shelly.
Shelly admits she is keeping a keen eye on John Galliano at Maison Margiela. He triggered a lot of attention for that red gown Amal Clooney wore to the Met Ball and Alexis Roche - Galliano's longtime partner - is slated to be her stylist.
"I couldn't believe the amount of punk and grunge in AW15, from Wang in New York to Givenchy in Paris. Goth, punk and grunge were strong on the catwalks and embellishment was an another strong message with crystals, hardware and ornate embroidery added to almost every item. Lace was also key in all forms, from 3D to guipure and couture lace but it was all done in a much more casual and contemporary way," said Shelly.
If you are a handbag fiend, the box bag, shoulder bag and daytime clutch are on the receiving end of lots of love from style mavens. If you are more the Imelda Marcos type and you can't think beyond shoes, the mid-calf boot is the leading shape.
The art lover in you will delight in mixing chevrons and swirls, stripes and chequerboards and I recommend you let them clash and combine to create high impact.
Dusty pink is big and BTs have bought into lots of coats in this hue. Colour-wise, expect to see an awful lot of mustards, maroons, rusts, brick, and sage coming through in AW15. They may be new to your wardrobe but a good brick works brilliantly with Irish skin and Celine did it so well with a delicious open-back knit dress with cream ribbon tie detail.
Coats, capes, dresses and separates
1. Chloé cape, €2,780
2. Peter Pilotto top, €1,350, skirt, €895
3. Céline dress, €1,800
4. Chloé coat, €3,490
5. Dries Van Noten coat, €1,865