A more sober tone is set for autumn/winter womenswear
Now that summer is over, I can admit it: I am quite glad to see the back of pastels. To be honest, I don't think I am going to miss broderie anglaise, either. And I can't see myself pining for Hawaiian tropical florals. We miss summer so very badly when the mercury falls and the garden starts to fade, but I don't think many of us really miss the trends. Summer is silly season in fashion. It's fun for a limited period, but the novelty quite quickly wears off.
This autumn, the change in fashion is not really a trend so much as a mood. Fashion has got darker, a little more sober. If summer was a season of ice cream parlour colours, autumn is one of bluebottle shades: rich blues, blacks and greens, with texture and shine. And the clothes on the catwalk were very covered up. This sounds like stating the obvious, but I have sat through many autumn/winter catwalk shows that seemed to disregard climactic issues in favour of a vogue for miniskirts or sleeveless jackets.
A coat is always the mainstay of a winter wardrobe, and the new on-trend look is somewhere between the junior-princess style that dominated fashion a few years ago, with its Peter Pan collars and cutesy styling, and the androgynous parka and blazer styles that came after. I'm suggesting we call the new look a Town Coat: elegant, with perhaps a velvet trim, and an air of sleek competence. Utilitarian in a different way than the multi-pocket country-style coats that are fashion's Swiss army knife.
The new season is delicately poised between femininity and androgyny, which means you will find lace panelling on coats, inspired by the gorgeous collection from Chloé, and pretty bows at the waist (very Burberry), but also coats in new sleek, fine leather, or many versions of the trench (look for olive green for this season's most modern look).
With your coat updated, the second major change to note is that the hipster neckline is now collarbone height or higher. A crew neck or polo neck was the designers' favoured silhouette, from New York to Milan. Yet, many women don't want to cover up the décolleté, the one area of flesh that they usually still feel good about. Until the day catwalk fashion is not shown primarily on teenagers, I suspect the neckline jury will remain out.
There is no one headline retro trend to this season. Instead, there are references – the grown-up way to nod at an era without aping it. Think mid-century couture (longer skirts , neat waistlines) and Sixties chic (Jackie Kennedy rather than Mary Quant). As for hemlines, maxi and midi lengths are on-trend, but the shopfloor winner is likely to be the Jubilee length – right on the knee, and named for the Queen who made it her own.
Sensible, yes – boring, no. After all, if clothes are wearable and grown-up, you are surely entitled to buy more of them. And that's when the fun starts.