Autumn & Winter 2019-20 part 4
This may not be fashion but just a gentle reminder that in the midst of shows, writing, calls and catching up with friends and contacts it's essential to put some time asside and have some food during fashion week. Here's a burger from one of my favourite spots in Covent Garden with some Sweet Potato chips. It set me up for a good afternoon of shows. A mint tea on the side made this the perfect filling late winter snack.
Scotland is renowned for its knitwear creations and Pringle, one of its best known heritage brads has lost time in seizing the opportunity in recent years to create forward looking designs to reach into the 21st century.
This seasons offering opening with loose cut Navy tracksuit trousers, a light sweater complete with ruffled headscarf all snugly wrapped beneath a broad knitted bolero cardigan defining the higher end of the waist. Fabric moves loosely across the figure ensuring that the warm woollen weave keeps heat close to the figure. It shows that you can layer with style easily and ribbed knit helps it to cling around the figure though never too close.
The trousers above have to be some of the cosiest this season with soft knit cashmere like a warming feathery touch on the skin. A long line Grey sweater and matching trousers is another soft gentle outfit and the sweater could be worn by itself with leggings or even tights as it almost reaches the knee. These are clothes you can rest in, at home, whilst travelling or at work. There’s almost a hint of the knitted suit about these pieces and a thick knit sweater is elegantly matched to trousers with a peaked dome hat. Gently tapered with the knitted braid gathers at the wrist, waist and ankles the figure is defined and always comfortable. Wraps are always a dependable autumn staple and to the right a Navy woollen blanket wrap is matched with Navy wide leg trousers and a White knit sweater. It’s a faintly naval look and shows the adaptability of seasonal norms. To the right a look that equates to a stylish sports look features a caramel tracksuit with White shoulder and escalloped Black band. The trousers where lightly pleated at the front in the style of classic tailoring true to the expertise of a House over 200 year old.
A multi-tone Navy checked cape features as part of a multi-layered outfit that will keep away the harshest chill. A dark Navy sweater features a cowl head cover including peaked hat and escalloped bandeau bodice cups. It’s a bold design idea from a brand with a traditional image and a waist band is casually off-set buttoned around the waist adding another style point. Trousers cut in classic lines complete a versatile indoor and outdoor look. A White sweater dress with high neckline and Black boots forms an easy seasonal classic that will keep the wearer warm. It could be easily worn in the board room as well as for a lunch, drinks or dinner with friends or family. This easily adaptability is something priceless to Pringle clients. Having a capsule set of pieces that are versatile for busy lives a serious goal.
A Black loose sweater makes an easy autumn staple to wear alone or with layers and a double style feature of tartan skirt over trousers in the same fabric follows the trend adopted by several houses in recent seasons including Chanel to use both of the garments that traditionally covered the lower figure and be used in either/or capacity. The famous Pringle intarsia pattern features in knit across a sweater with thick waist hugging waist-band. Smartly cut dark Black trousers with their pressed lines create an understated look. A Black sweater dress matches the White in a monochrome easy to wear paring to suit different tastes.
An intarsia knit sweater featuring bold Black, Yellow and Red set on a Caramel background. Black trousers show another feature of the collections emulation of the male wardrobe for female clients. It’s a slightly nostalgic look and the sweater in itself could also be worn with leggings or Black tights on cool days. A Caramel-Beige trouser and sweater combination also features a cape around the shoulders cut in asymmetric lines. A Grey long sleeve sweater has a scarf wrap that extends from the neckline. A skirt and trousers also cut in a single tartan fabric create an optical illusion around the wearer. Taking tartan in a new direction Grey, Green and Red checks spread across a thin sweater with a darker Green tartan creating a bold pair of trousers banded at the waist. A double layer sweater blends three layers of tartan fabric and three different tartan designs into one with tartan Red trousers completing the look that pledges a firm affinity to Scotland.
A Black and White check jacket carries hints of the classic bomber jacket with classic defined wide-cut trousers. The illusion of pattern contrast is created by the sleeves hanging at the side of the body cut in a straight line of fabric. A Black knit sweater and the classic tailored trousers feature with a wrap style jacket. A broad collar flopping over the shoulders gives a second layer of warmth to the wearer from the garment. A Cream sweater with generous cowl neckline again features the external use of bodice boning that featured earlier in the collection. Broad Cream coloured trousers envelop the legs and a large wrap cloaks the figure from the shoulders to the ankle. It’s a garment that literally wraps you up completely against the cold airs. The Grey knot sweater dress, another neutral autumn classic is adapted to place emphasis on the central core of the bodice. This area in a cutting masterstroke fits the garment to the body holding it above the waist and a skirt with an easy flowing cut. A deep collar neckline, long sleeves and over the knee boots add to the look of warmth captured in the piece. All in all plenty from the classical to the slightly more experimental to choose from this season.
Something of a military effect takes hold of the open passage of Paul Costelloe’s Autumn-Winter 2019/20 collection. It begins at the shoulders with strict lines reaching out across the span to the tips. Sleeves descend to Golden stripped bands around the wrist and pockets are cut in deep broad squares to give maximum practical advantage. A Scarlet jacket gives full military fashion salute and also offers a good opportunity for adding a splash of colour to the darker days and nights. Chunky Gold rings subtly highlighting the tradition of beautiful Irish Gold add an opulent touch to a look. A Khaki shirt-dress offers an easy option for day to evening styling.
Irish tweed is one of the most enduring craft items that is produced by Paul’s home country and features widely across the collection in both day and day-to-evening looks. A dusky Blue and Charcoal weave feature a hint of Pink in the twill. An elongated waistcoat serves as an outer coat over a thin White Sweater and Green trousers. You can literally feel the warmth looking at these pieces. To the right a Tweed coat dress with broad collar hits a classic style note. It’s testament to Pauls’ fantastic tailoring experience and cut to fit perfectly, the gathers in the skirt of the coat feels perfectly right somehow. Worn with tights, leggings or trousers it’s an easy to style look that would also work well with classic bags.
An exquisitely cut tweed jacket is paired with a Black velvet skirt. The three jacket pockets are trimmed with the same fabric to give the outfit a chic, polished feel. The models wear ankle boots laced from toe to ankle in over a dozen crosses. They add that extra touch of uniform to a series of stylish looks. To the right two dresses cut in beautiful tweed reference the baby doll hemlines that Paul likes to craft. With velvet trim at the neckline. One circular and one featuring a larger bodice with bow tie at the neckline, these looks both quietly suggest the party season and fun.
A tweed coat dress cut in longer length sits comfortably around the figure. Sumptuous use of fabric in the upper sleeves, graduates to long bell cuffs. Ruched gathers through the length of the border extending from the collar. Pin tuck ruching around the dropped waist create a generous skirt descending to above the knee. It’s a fun piece that you could step out in for autumn anywhere is the world. A Caramel skater dress is softly ribbed through the bodice to give extra definition of shape. The soft cowl collar and ample mini-skirt circling the figure create variation in shape through the garment and it’s a fun yet formal-appropriate look to enjoy through the autumn.
A tartan checked mini-dress is banded by Black silk in the lengths as the tube neckline descends fluidly to the rippling waves of the skirt. This look could be worn with trousers or leggings too for those looking to create a more demure look or keep away the cold. The cut of the piece is perfect with fabric falling around the figure in natural proportions. A Burgundy jump suit is cut with wide legs and plunging V neckline whilst large plumed upper sleeves give hints of dress of the late 19th and early 20th century. It’s a beautiful formal wear look that would be just as at home on the Red Carpet as at a drinks party through the autumn season. It’s expertly cut and a joy to take time and study it’s construction. A skirt suit features a beautifully painted design in shades of different shades of Gold to ochre. Bringing an artistic theme to the collection, it’s not too not to bold to be worn for work as well as social settings.
Tweed returns with a Pink woven fabric creating a classic pencil skirt with deep pockets at the hips. A think cable knit Scarlet sweater adds another layer of warmth to the garment whilst a Caramel coloured coat eases over the shoulders to lower hip length. Its light and an easy wear for trans-seasonal and mid-winter with ample space for layering underneath. A coat dress follows in the same tweed fabric with a tulip skirt and smaller tulip shaped lower sleeves. The jacket upper is derailed with military epaulets and collar with an exacting line of buttons ready to stand to attention. It’s a clever garment that contains both the restraint of the military and the soft Dior-esque lines of the super feminine.
Centre above two dresses use a beautiful bespoke fabric with a Cranberry base featuring brush strokes across the surface of the garment. A halter neckline dress with petite bodice is cut to the midi length through flowing broad skirt. With an echo of the mid-20th century classic style it resonates with the time that Paul spent in Paris learning his craft in the 1960’s. A shorter dress echoing the mini-dresses if the 1960’s is layered at the shoulders by outsized ribbon folds. Sitting across the shoulders it contrasts the tiny ruched tucks bordering the dropped waistline of the skirt. To the far right one of the most attention grabbing looks of the collection is a beautiful jacquard Rose print set on a Grey background. Redolent of the opulent fabric of the 18th century, hints of which Paul brings to his collections, its straight lines are supported by an almost hidden front pleat and a bodice wraps the figure firmly without the constraints of antique pieces.
An ankle length dress in the same fabric is an easy to style with wraps and jackets over the simple bodice. As the fabric flows more loosely over the figure, Violet and Golden Yellow plants are always visible. Florals are one if the key looks that have emerged for Autumn 2019. A nebulous cloud of colour resembling a far away constellation or earth bound water colour painting runs through the length of an easy to wear evening dress. Escalloped at the neckline this look is an adaptable classic. Centre above geometric brush strokes sweep across the surface of a Charcoal dress in Gold and Silver. It somehow captures the light and life of the city whilst also working to classic ball gown dress lines. A full length broad dress echoing the lines of the 18th century Manuta is crafted in floral print fabric with its firm bodice descending to curves over the arch of the hip side. The colours of autumn swirl around the wear as she walks on the modern Red Carpet or across an antique ball room. To the right another dress in similar long lines echoing vintage fashion of another century. It’s an elegant look that again carries the hints of Paul’s time in Paris in the mode 20th century learning about the work of Pierre Cardin, Jacques Esterel and other contemporaries.
The Georgian designer brings a unique brand of classicism to his work that sits equally comfortably in the antique past of his countries momentous history and into the 21st century of realism and style. An opening look a trouser suit cut at the jacket collar to resemble a shirt and around the waist and descending from the shoulder a belt pair that echoes military styling. Black satin silk trousers match the collars of an open-wrap jacket. A coat cut in classic lines of men’s and also women’s fine tailoring from the 20th century creates a note of defined elegance. It’s one of the pieces that is most easy to transpose to a working or leisure lifestyle setting.
Centre above a Black silk jumpsuit is worn with a broad striped sweater underneath is fitted with seams running through the sides of the upper garment to define the waist. It looks a little like the aviation suit one-piece and large pockets at the hips keep the practical details accounted for. It doesn’t look too militarian to blend into everyday life in an international city and you could also wear this for work in many places in the world. To the right a White tunic dress features feathers through the length down each side and in a brocade raised on the surface of the left hand side of the dress. Featuring a belt similar to those in the opening look of the collection doesn’t interrupt the smooth chic line of the garment. A White roll-neck sweater is crafted in thick chunky knits and a large pocket to the right of the garment adds the signature hint of utility to an otherwise chic and pretty piece. A Black mini-skirt is fitted to the waist in similar style to the jumpsuit with a central zip making it easy to get ready or change in the evening.
A Black mini-dress is cut in similar metallic sheen fabric with the waist defined by visible boning through the waist. The antique aspect of the classic European neckline and fitted corset briefly appear to the eye before being subsumed by the glimmer of the fabric giving an up to date look. An open crochet style weave is something that Koma uses in several places through the collection and a second very different Black mini-dress appears composed of panels of weave with large coat-style deep pockets at the side and a double layer of fabric at the sleeves. It’s a look to go out and party in.
Centre above a sheer Black butterfly crochet weave single shoulder blouse sits above a Black A-line skirt in the same fabric as the dress in the first look of the above frieze. Split to the upper thigh it’s a daring way to show the elongated lines of the figure. To the right a White swimsuit shaped bodice is overlaid with butterflies all in White fluttering around the figure of the wearer. As with neighbouring looks, some butterflies are made in sheer fabric others are a pencil outline tracing the delicate structure of their anatomy. To the right a dress is composed solely of a sweep of gentle butterflies with a nude bodice underneath maintaining the modesty of the wearer. It’s an effortless piece for the Red Carpet.
A Black silk satin dress is cut with classic Koma elegance with an edge. Ballooned upper sleeves and a dress cut with ample fabric rippling across the figure of the wearer. The loose gathers create that soft sensuous touch on the skin that is wonderful to feel and Black satin boots complete the look. Working in a single colour through most of the collection, the next series of looks in Scarlet set a bright colour note for the cold nights of winter. A long sleeved blouse is cut-away beneath the bodice leaving a bandeau neckline. Long sleeve echo the long silhouette of pencil trousers sequinned and shimmering under the lights. Two square cut pockets at the hips add a hint of utilitarian to the design but don’t distort the image.
The asymmetric look returns with a bare shoulder cut above a broad side slit to the upper thigh. A dress is ruched with draw strings running the length of the sides of the garment to create soft folds of fabric across the figure. Like it’s peers, it would make an excellent Red Carpet statement piece through autumn and possibly into early awards season. Another Scarlet dress cut as a mini dress also features the draw-string gathers with the lengths of the ties swinging loose around the wearer. It brings a hint of sports to eveningwear. To the right an all in one suit is a visual contrast of straight lines and plumed ruffles around the shoulders and through the sleeves. It has a feel of carnival and something to brighten up the winter nights for parties and balls.
A White single-shoulder dress transforms a classic bias-cut line with a ballooned upper sleeve and neat cuff detail. A side split to the upper left thigh provides a diametrically opposed composition. A ballerina skirt surrounds the skirt of a White mini dress with a plunge V neckline. For drinks, a party or something to wear in front of the cameras, this is memorable, fun piece to choose for your collection. A ruff collar hints at both antique themes and the fun of the circus. The Butterfly design forms a central feature of the dress centre above emblazoned across the bodice and at the neckline. Swathes of Black fabric form puffed upper sleeves and form the skirt length of a chic otherwise understated garment. A thigh split enhances the impression of long sweeping lines of the look and knee high boots seal the visual composition.
Another animal form, the snake weaves a path across the bodice of a dress and through the lengths of the sleeves. Both animals suggest different aspects of personality, lightness and beauty and intelligence and perseverance. The snaking border defines a sheer fabric across the bodice and the sleeves with an opposed sleeve covered in tightly packed ruffles of tulle. It’s a bold design but not too controversial to wear to parties and press events in the autumn. To the right a lattice design through the sleeves of a narrow waist jacket echoes the tinsel diamonds of Elizabethan and European renaissance fabric. This nod to fashion history again highlights Koma’s interest in updating the past. As the garment reaches the cuffs, the diamonds narrow to squares. Long line Black velvet trousers also add to the optics of a suit that emphasises length and proportions.
The snake returns weaving up through the lengths of a sleeve and across the bodice of a dress across the breast. A cut-away shoulder fits the form of the snake’s path and adds a note of the unconventional to the look. This is a dress to go out in and shine in the spotlight, it’s a look that wants to be seen and heard. The lattice design returns set against a backdrop of Midnight Blue velvet on a dress cut with the wide broad shoulders of vintage suit jackets. The pattern gathers more tightly at the waist of the outfit giving gentle emphasis to the natural curves of the figure. This fabric is replicated in the body of a mini-dress with tube neckline cut away from the skirt. It gives a sense of freedom and movement within the structure of the garment.
A Midnight Blue mini dress is composed in classic lines with two large butterfly wings ascending to the shoulders from either side of the bodice. More serious than a Tinkerbelle this is a perfect piece to capture the attention of the camera through the autumn season. To the right the collection closes with a suit comprising bodice and trousers. Plated with small glass tiles across the garment it reflects the light almost like wearing a disco ball. You’ll light up a party in this and again it’s another look that I would expect to be chosen for a Red Carpet entrance in the coming months.
Nayal is inspired by the decadence of the Elizabethan age of the 16th century and the following Baroque era. Ruff collars, pin tucks and braids abound. He is not just thinking of the past, he’s fascinated by exploring the techniques used by designers and tailors in previous centuries. This may sound like something obvious but it’s actually something that you rarely come across in the fashion world as few people look that far back or credit renaissance era designers with advanced technical skills. A young designer uncovering the depth of skill of previous generations that is largely forgotten. Following a childhood in Syria, he moved to the UK and began to study design.
The Austrian princess Marie Antonia who married Louis XVI of France was the muse for this collection and her feeling of isolation and confusion in the Bourbon court that she arrived in in France. It’s difficult for us to now understand the reality of a life governed by dynastic arranged marriages and the lack of freedom and choice that a woman in a seemingly privileged position could have. She wasn’t always sad during her life and the births of her children particularly represented a happy time for her but Nayal focusses here on the mythologised princess and creates some wonderful pieces in the most beautiful fabrics
The Queen is brought forward into the 21st century, sat with attendants surrounding her she wears a White shirt with stiff collar and buttoned lines pairs to Black trousers in a conventional contemporary work/leisurewear look. Around this the garment explores the traditional lines of the Mantua dress with a framework sitting on the figure covered in the lightest gauze fabric. The mantle of the dress extends around the model just as the historic dresses did leaving her swathed in fabric but also restricted. Her garment is created in singular White alongside several other single coloured looks that are contrasted by outfits using bright ribbons of colour. Faces from the past peer out and a faint sense of rebellion is in the air in the stark challenging colour modes of the designs.
A beautiful White blouse shirt above is elaborately tailored with a loose ruffle plume. The upper sleeves are pin-tucked to give volume to the blouse sleeves descending to a deep cuff with three stud buttons. It blends the best of vintage and contemporary with ample fabric and smooth lines. Below another White blouse is styled in the images of the men’s (and sometimes women’s) 18th century riding coat. Pleats at the side of the hips add volume and gathered ruched rosettes of fabric around the elbow add a further decorative touch. To the right a Black sheer gauze shirt dress is a light and delicate piece to wear in front of the cameras or for parties across the winter season.
Above a riding jacket is created in bright stripped fabric with the bold of Scarlet stripes cutting through the Grey and White backed by fragments of images of Queen Mare Antoinette. The shattered fragments of her portrait are a reflection of the mirror fragments, an allegory of the chaos that enveloped all of France and its people after the revolution began. The cut and movement in this piece is wonderful. Centre above the shards move between the models creating flashes of light and a changing perspective through the gallery as the clothes where viewed. To the right an elaborate dress is strewn with ruffles and ringed with the trim enhancing the effect of the fabric used previously in the hunting jacket. It’s a look you can see takes key style motifs from the 18th century era of high court fashion. It’s understated grandeur is a key statement of elegance.
Marie Antonia’s dress that accompanies her shirt and trousers spills broadly out across the floor. Pin tucks at the hem add to the look of a night-gown of centuries past contrasting with the contemporary day-wear beneath. Her headdress is worn high in historic proportions with feathers place into her raised hairstyle to give elevated height. Shards of mirrors are suspended through the room and also left for the models to pick up. In an age before televisual media, mirrors where extremely important and women and men used them perhaps several times a day to check appearances. In the palaces and castles of Europe and the UK they usually appear in abundance as they were also a way to increase the sense of light in a room.
Above you can see detail of one of the blouses a little better from the front and also centre and above a hooded gown features a slightly less elaborate version of dress worn by the Marie Antoinette muse. The simple but effective use of pin-tucks gathers fabric into a romantic halo around the wearer in the border of the hood and the fringe at the sleeves. From a little distance the fabric becomes feather like.
Lace embroidery detail in a blouse pays homage to the importance that embroidery played in the formation of the layers of detail in garments in the past. The details that some would only glance at whilst others would audibly admire forma crucial part of the garments’ charm. A final look from several angles shows the reflection, side and frontal faces of the models features acting out the roles of women in the court. Times where different then, women of all walks of life had far fewer choices than today bound by centuries of Christian tradition. In their own ways, I believe they are dreaming of freedom.
Founded less than five years ago RIXO has grown from a conversation between two friends who were fashion business graduates to a thriving ready to wear label offering unique designs that hit the mid-price market and allow women and girls some fun choices that won’t usually stretch the budget too much. This season they exhibited their collections at the Café de Paris club in Piccadilly, one of the oldest clubs in London and a piece of the capitals nightlife heritage. The models made the dance floor into their catwalk and showed the collection doing what it should; having a good time.
A White skirt suit cut above the knee is fringed at both skirt and jacket by outsized cross-stitch like details. With the confidence to boldly clash, the Leopard print blouse beneath and faux Zebra-skin fabric bag add a powerful dynamic to the composition of the outfit. One of the string suits of the RIXO offering are the vintage-style Bohemian dresses that capture 1970’s ease and elegance. A Red dress dotted with brush stroke lines through the length of the fabric features a gently defined waist and a double drop hemline. A Black short sleeve tea dress printed with Rose-Pink flowers is an easy trans-seasonal piece. It could be worn with a jacket or cardigan and like its Green chevron print neighbour, it could easily be worn in more relaxed working environments.
An Aqua-Blue kaleidoscope of abstract marine-inspired images are sketched across the surface of a dress with neon hints adding an extra dimension of fun on the dancefloor. An easy to wear dress set on a light Blue background could be your perfect go-to piece next season. A light Blue dress is patterned with the same shapes that featured in its neighbour to the left with colour muted out, it’s a more neutral option. A Pink mini-dress also features the marine abstract pattering and offers a look that could easily live on into the next season and enjoy life on the beach. Sequinned lines in Pink, Green, Blue and White create a structure on a shimmering backdrop with lateral gathers around the waist contrasting to the vertical drop of the dress fabric. This piece could be styled without the faux animal print belt to create a more subtle elegant look.
Stars and twinkles seemed to fill the room and a Green slip dress emblazoned with shooting stars across the bodice is bordered by a shimmering belt that could have been pulled down from the night sky. It’s a carefree goddess moment with a fringed peplum hemline adding further movement. To the left Green chevron marking imitate the natural shape of ferns as they grow across the fabric and the look is boldly accessorised with a juxtaposition of faux Leopard and Zebra prints in the handbag and the shoes. A sequinned match for any glitter-ball and disco floor features Chevron stripes across the surface of a dress in sequinned tiles of Pink, Green and Blue.
Leopard appears in a full length dress with dropped waist hemline detail. Like it’s peers in the collection, it’s an easy option for dressing for a night out. A midi length dress plays with the emphasis in the linear slant with Red and Gold stripes of varying thickness crossing the figure at the bias angle. A Peach base mini dress is printed with tile shapes and flowers in a combination of the floral and human-made. Again another easy dress to wear out.