The new season runway edit
Shelly Corkery (pictured below) says: "Autumn/ winter 2017 is a season which showcases the re-emergence of high octane glamour and femininity and the designers exhibit an exquisite medley of prints, patterns and intricate embroidery with a 1970s vibe, bringing to life The collector theme."
Shelly praises Miuccia Prada for showcasing wonderful ostrich feathers, embellishment and embroidery across both the Prada and Miu Miu labels. She points to Robert McGinnis, the artist behind the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany's movie poster, whose influence can be seen throughout the Prada collection with his artwork of glamorous fantasy women on dresses, tops and skirts (pictured below).
"It is nearly like vintage re-invented, and this really came through with Prada in a very glamorous way," says Shelly.
Exploring the concept of 'feminine glamour', the modern woman can wear it in several guises this season, from soft romance - with its ethereal silks, chiffons and lace, intricate details and embroidery as seen at Erdem (above), adding to the magic of the silhouettes and the experience of wearing them - to the femme modern, which is all about luxury in its most simplified form.
To understand this trend with its refined attitude, think soft, clean, minimalist lines with big shoulders and street wear references.
Relaxed shirt dresses worn over trousers can be slashed at the knee, front and back like Céline did, while the Balenciaga trench is cinched in at the waist with a full tweed back.
To work this trend, keep it feminine but very streetwear at the same time, working the layering so your cotton trench sits on top of chiffon or silk, plus embellishment. This femme modern as seen at Céline (see khaki trench) and The Row (the critically-acclaimed US brand which the insanely stylish twins, Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, infuse with their personal aesthetic) plays into the androgyny that dominates AW17 with sophisticated silhouettes and loose, oversized shapes.
"For AW17, designers continued to indulge in directional surface decorations for dresses as well as outerwear. While outwear is key, I think the dress is the most important piece this season," says Shelly.
"The big news is hero tailoring, which is coming through on every single collection we saw on the catwalk. My personal thought is that this trend may have come from Demna Gvasalia, so prominent with his brand Vetements, and now creative director at Balenciaga."
Shelly says the archives of Balenciaga feature sculptured tailoring, and his tailoring was bound to come forward. She says hero tailoring is not old fashioned tailoring like you might have worn to the office. It is cropped trousers, jackets focused on details - whether it is a button, a bow, an embellishment - diagonal pockets, magnificent tweed, three buttons instead of two, and very sculptural hiplines. The perfect example of this is the Dior jacket (above) with the brand's name written all around the waist.
Exaggerated shoulder details, asymmetrical necklines, structured ruffles and trapeze shapes lead the way in the artful architecture trend. Delpozo, a Spanish label new to BTs, is the undoubted star in this category. Delpozo's curved rust coat (above) was a showstopper at their new season press show, and not surprisingly, creative director, Josep Font, has a background in architecture.
Monse and Jacquemus, new brands in store last season, showcased structured jackets with a strong emphasis on the waist, keeping in tone with the 1940s film noir theme. Dior's Maria Grazia put a classic spin on this vibe, combining taffeta, velvet and tulle in a sea of blues. Fabric fiends like myself will love the onslaught of velvet looks inspired by Gucci and Dior, leathers from Saint Laurent, faux fur from Miu Miu (above), metallics and the wow checks, such as the Prada coat (below) with its rich hemline.
Movie fans will appreciate the film noir homage to an enhanced feminine silhouette with its updated construction, like the Céline dress (below). The trend is "both subversive and sexy, with shapes kept interesting, and modern but always skimming the waist and hips," says Shelly.
She praises Peter Pilotto for "their best collection ever" and in their hands, the classic puffa coat has been slightly replaced with a quilted blanket coat , showcased in beautiful jewel satins - colours that donned the runway at both Dries Van Noten and Pilotto. The latter excel at knits, such as their tufted jumpers and their asymmetric hemlines dress (below).
There is lots of soft romance this season with magical silhouettes cut from ethereal silks, chiffons and lace, "and designers are still crushing velvet, which is probably the key fabric of this season," says Shelly.
Another key trend coming through is florals - as if they ever went away. For AW17, they are pioneered by Gucci, Dries Van Noten, Balenciaga (above), plus, of course, the genius duo of Dolce & Gabbana. The twist this time around is that they clash eclectically, so not so much English garden tidy as "layered up for a more nonchalant look," says Shelly.
"There's oceans of reds, which is really important this season - from burgundy right through to scarlet - and seen throughout every collection, but particularly at Roksanda." Other colours coming through strong this season are green, navy, pink and cobalt blue, and black is back (did it ever go away?).
Knitwear is key, and beautiful shapes and colours are executed by Peter Pilotto, Roksanda (above), Valentino, Prada and Zimmerman, a label which won over Irish hearts last season - and that romance is building.
From a point of newness, Alexa Chung, Rixo of London, Off-White (above) and Jordan are new brands to level two at BTs on Grafton Street. On the accessories front, there is a play on proportion from Céline and Mulberry's over-sized styles, to miniaturised pieces at Coach and Valentino. Watch out for the classic top handle seen on the runways. The shoulder bag is at the heart of the season, and clutches are important. The shopper has an updated feel when it is handheld, and Shelly describes the soft bucket bag (below) and hobo shape as AW17 essentials.