Autumn trends: top takeaways from the catwalks
Following a blockbuster month in the fashion world, Meadhbh McGrath has a recap of all the major looks, must-have accessories and styling tricks for next season
February was a dizzying month for fashion. Along with Oscar season reaching its climax and a series of high-profile royal appearances, designers in New York, London, Milan and Paris presented their autumn-winter collections. Here, we're running down the biggest catwalk looks and what you'll be wearing next season.
MAD FOR PLAID
It never really goes out of style, but the fashion world seized on the versatility of plaid for autumn. Dior led the charge with a tribute to the 50s Teddy Girl: the famous Bar jacket was rendered in vibrant red tartan, alongside wool coats, jumpsuits and skirts in vivid green, black and white. Versace went grunge with acid-hued outerwear and negligees with bondage harnesses, while Chloe gave rustic tartans an urban twist with sharp coats and mid-calf boots - expect to see plenty of lookalikes come September.
INTO THE MATRIX
The Matrix turns 20 this year, and Italian brands marked the anniversary in style. Bottega Veneta's new creative director Daniel Lee featured directional leather dresses, jumpsuits and coats paired with futuristic knitwear and stomping lug-sole boots. At Rochas, there were vinyl gowns, blouses and jackets; Salvatore Ferragamo proposed leather for eveningwear with a strappy floor-length gown; and Trinity-worthy leather coats appeared at Tod's, Roberto Cavalli and Alberta Ferretti, often worn with over-the-knee boots.
THE (SUPER) HERO BUY
We're pining for a bit of drama in our outerwear after seeing the range and variety of capes on the catwalks. There was lush velvet at Giorgio Armani for red-carpet-ready glamour, delicate lace at Prada for some fairy tale romance, cosy tartan at Lanvin for a weekend retreat, and supple leather at Salvatore Ferragamo for elegance with an edge. If that sounds impractical, look to Missoni's fine knitted versions for an alternative to the blanket scarf, or take inspiration from JW Anderson's cape-coat hybrid. The belt flatters the waist, while the draping is quietly chic.
ON YOUR TOES
It may not be the most weather-appropriate boot, but open-toe styles are set to dominate this year thanks to Victoria Beckham. The former Spice Girl's hero shoe is a thigh-high peep-toe style that was presented in leopard print, lipstick red, rich burgundy and classic black. Worn with satin gowns, skirt suits and argyll knits, Beckham makes the case for a peeptoe for every occasion. There were skintight knitted versions and slouchy leather styles, which VB has already worn a handful of times. Brace yourself for some chilly toes this winter.
Trinny and Susannah's favourite styling trick makes a return. All eyes are on the waist next season - and the wider, the better. The standout at JW Anderson was a chunky paisley jumper cinched with a thick belt, while Dior wrapped massive belts over full skirts, knits and high-waisted trousers. It works a treat for breaking up bulky winter looks.
NO SHRINKING VIOLET
At Kate Spade, Irish designer Nicola Glass championed the regal hue in satin shirtdresses, trouser suits and leopard print coats. There were pastel 80s silhouettes at Balmain, 70s disco dresses at Michael Kors and swinging 60s prints at Anna Sui, while Valentino's fluid mulberry gown was clean and contemporary. From soft lavender to rich plum to deep eggplant, this is the colour to wear, head-to-toe or in a statement piece.
DRESSED TO FRILL
Call it the Villanelle effect, but designers are pumping up the volume. The silhouette is modest, often with high necks and long sleeves, but the focus is on the vast, frothy skirts. Molly Goddard (who designed the famous frock from Killing Eve) proposed more fabulous fuchsia frills; Tomo Koizumi's blockbuster New York show was filled with technicolor ruffles; Ashish presented his signature sequins in hot pink and denim blue; and Richard Quinn applied loud florals to trapeze dresses, bubble hems and even a feathered bridal gown. Ground yours with a pair of combat boots, or stick to a sweeping skirt with a crisp white shirt tucked in.
RUFF AND READY
High necklines are getting a Victorian update next season. You can go big or take it in small steps: Marc Jacobs, Brock Collection and Erdem nodded to the past with decadent metallics, antique florals and ladylike tiered dresses, while Tory Burch put a modern spin on the look by pairing ruffled neck blouses with jeans for everyday wear.
MORE IS MORE
Busy lifestyles call for more than one bag to fit all the daily essentials, and designers have answered the call by doubling the number of bags to hold at once. Ulla Johnson teamed circle bags with tasselled bucket bags in warm tan and ochre, Rebecca Minkoff offered doubles in polished leather and snakeskin, and at Kate Spade, models wore cross body styles while carrying structured totes.
Is it time for a break from sequins? Plumage took the spotlight across the fashion capitals, most spectacularly in Mary Katrantzou's ombre designs and Marc Jacobs' sweeping gowns, including the finale look modelled by Christy Turlington. Irish designer Richard Malone showcased feathered opera gloves along with coats, shirts and trousers trimmed with contrasting feathers, while an orange feather-embellished parka worn by Kaia Gerber was a highlight at Valentino - and just about made the case for feathers for daytime.