All about the big and bold outfits this winter
Gone are the days when holiday fashion meant a modest wool skirt or a drab beanie hat. This season, dressing boring is cancelled as the autumn/winter runways made it obvious that bigger is better.
Sharp pencil skirts and downy scarves at Saint Laurent led the way, while Marc Jacobs pursued big belts and bold shoulders, in an epic throwback to eighties couture.
Maximalism flourished on the runways of Gucci and Burberry with checks, stripes and denim, blended with headscarf-inspired baroque prints of both houses. And, of course, nothing says holiday season like a lightweight classic leopard-print mac with belted waist and elegant midi-length, first seen at Victoria Beckham. So lose that jumper, and head for bolder styles.
Leopard-print mac with belted waist was first seen at Victoria Beckham
Comfort is never king in fashion. But Demna Gvasalia had big ideas about layering this season. At Balenciaga, oversized parkas and basque-waisted jackets came piled up over fleeces and flannel shirts. Inspired by snow and snowboarders, close to seven layers of outerwear were fused together to form a look. Backstagebefore the show, Gvasalia described the theme as a “kind of a snowboarder paradise from the beginning of the nineties. We tagged it with all the things we were talking about in the studio at the time,” he told Vogue. However, despite the piled-together aesthetic, the signature Balenciaga sleek tailoring and volume remained apparent.
Over at Prada, the designers projected similar sentiments, as robust functional layers of workwear and tulle were spearheaded by large Pocono-nylon padded rainwear. Squared-off parkas contrasted with colourful digital prints and tweeds. But perhaps the complexities of the patterns and the contrast were most palpable when big and bulky pieces of outwear were layered over pieces covered with corsetry, flowers, veils, bows and sequins. Motivated by feminism and female empowerment, which is another major theme of the autumn/winter line-ups, Miuccia Prada kept to the brand’s legacy as she displayed another powerful and intriguing collection.
Bigger and oversized coats are in trend this winter
“Layering doesn’t have to be drab and boring nor does it only serve the purpose of protection from the weather. A bright, colourful oversized parka layered over a monotone sweater and slim-fit pants can be both comfortable and stylish,” says Italian stylist Piero Amerigo.
Autumn’s favourite coats and jackets now come either ultratextured or ultra-floral with faux or real variations. Classic winter staples got a 2018 update and included everything from utility stripes to patchwork and appliqué.
Called the “Fashion Devotion” collection, Dolce & Gabbana’s autumn/winter line-up paid homage to the baroque Oratorio di Santa Cita church in Palermo, Italy, the island of Domenico Dolce’s birth. The collection featured signature brand details such as lace and crochet but was enhanced by brocade jackets, suits crafted from cut velvet (green, cardinal red, Venetian pink) and opulent embroidery. One of the prominent looks featured a heavily sequinned jersey paired with velvet trousers and layered under a silk bomber.
If that isn’t inspirational enough, this fusion of patterns and textures continued at Christian Dior where designer Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by the protest and feminist movements of the sixties. Powerful slogans, reproductions of magazine covers and protest art from the sixties adorned several pieces along with crochets, embroideries and patchwork.
Robust functional layers worn under by Pocono-nylon padded rainwear at Prada
In another customer and fan favourite look, reproductions of archival Dior prints helped piece together patchwork jackets that were paired with denim. Kilts were worn with tailored jackets created from a mishmash of fabrics. The ultra-pattern party also manifested itself in shearling capes, wool embroidery-on-organza dresses, leather trench coats, mini skirts and plenty of crochet and fringe.
“There were some pretty bold looks this season that can be intimidating to pull off at first,” says Amerigo. “If you’re not quite ready to dive into the trend, I suggest starting off slow with perhaps a checked jacket layered over a embroidered shirt or a patterned pencil skirt.”
Mix and match
While some designers heightened their existing patterns and designs, others decided to club them together.
Stella McCartney isn’t known for loud colours or prints but that doesn’t mean she can’t be experimental. For her autumn/winter 2018 show, an amalgamation of masculine and feminine aesthetics were put together in soft fabrics. A notched-collar, a herringbone coat with zip closure instead of buttons, and an oversized grey Aran sweater paired with a diaphanous skirt played as a primer to what was coming. In true McCartney fashion, laced-evening dresses inspired by vintage bridal gowns led the show. This was followed with tailored shirts and dresses featuring prints from J.H. Lynch’s mid-century portraits of glamourous women, and colour-saturated floral postcards.
Gucci had a maximalist theme
Over at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld wasn’t settling for classics or minimalism, either. Inspired by “Indian summers and the leaves of autumn”, the Chanel autumn/winter collection was both nostalgic and spectacular. An array of greatcoats, ankle-length skirt suits, tweeds and furry capes captivated the audience during the first part of the shows. The second half was defined by a stunning range of dresses with billowy sleeves, high necks, peasant-style leaf prints and a dash of seventies glamour. This assortment of fabrics and textures was later mixed with double-breasted coats, coque feathers and gold Lurex.
Bolder is better
If layering or mixing patterns isn’t your thing, there was another school of thought that reimagined holiday fashion with glossy leather, slit skirts and sleek hair.
Anthony Vaccarello, the purveyor of sexy Parisian chic, debuted some racy numbers at Saint Laurent to spice up your holiday wardrobe. The all-black eighties redux line-up that featured leather shorts, bigshouldered dresses lopped off to swimsuit length, cropped skinny jeans, and fur-cuffed suede stiletto knee boots was both astounding and bold.
Versace played around with bold colors and structures
“For me, short is the best way to describe modernity,” Vaccarello told Women’s Wear Daily. “It’s the best way to walk... the legs are not something you have to hide.”
Over at Versace, eighties glamour took a different approach. The eye-popping, and colourful prints that remain fundamental to the design aesthetic of the brand were all there; as was some tartan and argyle patchwork. But elements such as draped tulip-shaped miniskirts, bubbles, cinched-in waists, broad leather Versace logos, and wide shoulders were what really outlined the Versace look for winter. The punk spirit of the seventies and eighties that dominated most of the collection further reinforced this notion of glamour.