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New Black: This season's starkest strictest tailoring

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Lace blazer, €49.95, Zara.
Dress, €429, Sean Byrne,
Design Centre.
Brogues, €450, Alexander Wang,
Brown Thomas.
Watch, €179, Hugo Boss, good
jewellers nationwide.
Ring, €79, House Of Harlow,
Design Centre.
Tights, €6, Topshop

Lace blazer, €49.95, Zara. Dress, €429, Sean Byrne, Design Centre. Brogues, €450, Alexander Wang, Brown Thomas. Watch, €179, Hugo Boss, good jewellers nationwide. Ring, €79, House Of Harlow, Design Centre. Tights, €6, Topshop

Shirt, €165, Acne,
Brown Thomas.
Waistcoat, €180,
Isabel Marant, Costume.
Trousers, €360,
Sinead Doyle, Project 51.
Watch necklace, €13,
River Island.
Watch €179, Hugo Boss,
good jewellers nationwide

Shirt, €165, Acne, Brown Thomas. Waistcoat, €180, Isabel Marant, Costume. Trousers, €360, Sinead Doyle, Project 51. Watch necklace, €13, River Island. Watch €179, Hugo Boss, good jewellers nationwide

Silk blazer, €410,
Malene Birger,
Brown Thomas.
Jumpsuit, €119, Zara.
Watch, €30, River Island

Silk blazer, €410, Malene Birger, Brown Thomas. Jumpsuit, €119, Zara. Watch, €30, River Island

Blazer, €350; shorts, €185,
both Rachel Zoe,
Brown Thomas.
Top, €33, River Island.
Obi belt, €189, Roisin Linnane,
Design Centre

Blazer, €350; shorts, €185, both Rachel Zoe, Brown Thomas. Top, €33, River Island. Obi belt, €189, Roisin Linnane, Design Centre

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Lace blazer, €49.95, Zara. Dress, €429, Sean Byrne, Design Centre. Brogues, €450, Alexander Wang, Brown Thomas. Watch, €179, Hugo Boss, good jewellers nationwide. Ring, €79, House Of Harlow, Design Centre. Tights, €6, Topshop

I love this season’s fashions. I love the gorgeous floral prints, the softness of the colours and the pretty femininity of the shapes. But it can get a bit, well, icky, if done too much. Regular readers know my feelings on black; I am not generally a fan. But there are times when we need the structure, discipline and strength that clothes in black tend to lend us.

This season, opposites will attract on fashion floors as we are offered some of the starkest, strictest tailoring in 20 years alongside one of the softest, most retro, feminine seasons we have seen since the early Noughties. If you are loath to don black, take heart. Another big trend is monochrome, so as well as black you will find this season’s disciplined shapes in white or navy too.

So what is this new tailoring I am talking about? There is a little bit of androgyny and sports luxe in it, but really, a whole lot of strong, curvy shape is going on — nipped-in waists, strong shoulders, long lengths — providing a foil and strong contrast to the curves of a woman’s body.

Trousers featured in collections last winter, but their return was underwhelming. This season sees trousers make their presence felt through variety in the shapes — wide, narrow, cropped, over-long — as well as city shorts and Capri adaptations. Add the white shirt, heavily influenced by Thirties and Forties masculine tailoring — especially when worn with a tightly fitted waistcoat, or a tuxedo jacket — for a look that is pure ‘Seventies YSL Le Smoking’ cool.

Stylist Karl Patrick Smith has got it exactly right on our pages today as he illustrates all the wonderful places we can go with some key pieces. “The look is a breath of fresh air,” Karl told me. “I liked the overall dark look of the tailoring, the flattering shapes. For me, the key buy this season is a blazer. It has to have a nipped-in waist to give you definition. And it should be long, to flatter the body.”

Tailoring takes in this season’s themes such as volume, skinny, androgyny, monochrome, graphic, classic and even rock chick. It is, as Karl believes, the season’s investment buy; tailoring is not going to date as fast as pastels. “Young Irish designers also are doing this look very well. I really liked Sean Byrne and Natalie B Coleman,” Karl told me.

Always reliable for interesting, stylish black suiting are John Rocha and Anne Demeulemeester at Havana; Prada, Celine, Moschino and Lanvin at Brown Thomas. The look can be sourced less expensively; Zara does tailoring brilliantly and my other favourite is Bastyan (Brown Thomas and BT2), which has superb quality for its price.

Sunday Indo Life Magazine