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What designers have in store for the FallWith the early onset of autumn this year, now is definitely the time to start throwing out last year's garments and getting in with this fall's fashions with damper and colder weather fast approaching. We can breathe a sigh of relief as designers this season have added some much needed steel to last year's gamine chic. Yes, the last year was definitely a side step in terms of female empowerment in clothing but designers have managed to regain the elegance, strength and femininity which we have learnt to love over the last few decades. Say goodbye to last year's Ugg boots and tiny jean skirts, this year is all about being more restrained and so much sexier in the process.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the Lagerfeld's Chanel fall collection where he continues his admirable work for the brand. You will find that every woman is catered for. In essence, the collection breathes a 'la parisienne' meets the New Yorker style -my personal favourite being the red houndstooth tweed suit accompanied by the crepe georgette Chanel logos trim blouse. The white wool angora tweed coat is also a stunning example of this season's effortlessly elegant designs. The main colours to be found in Chanel's pallet are black, sky grey, metallic grey, pastel pink and a touch of red so there is little variance with much of last year's hues. Chanel remains this
season, the best at providing us with beautiful, simple
silhouettes. However, I will express some disappointment
at finding that Karl Lagerfeld has not given up on 'the cap'. Perhaps even he is not immune to the unhealthy influences of Galliano's poor taste.
But unfortunately, Galliano continues his seemingly unstoppable destruction of the house of Dior in the most horrifying display of poor taste that we have seen yet. Could the man who built his name into a global empire ever foresee it being placed in conjunction with the words 'rasta' or 'girly'? One can only imagine him turning in his grave at the thought of what the italian has done to the brand. What little solace could
once be found in the slightly eclectic but passable accessories of last year's collection, can
no longer be found in this fall's. Anyone going near the 'Dior Sport shoe' in pink canvas or better yet the pink canvas cap ought to be publicly humiliated for the blinding cheapness of the accessory designs.
Surely at the base of every big fashion house was a policy and an essence of the aesthetic? So where has it gone? I wonder whether Galliano has taken the time since his arrival at the house to consider Dior's original ethics of work. Above all, it was to make the woman beautiful, elegant and uncompromising in her presentation. The fact he achieved this so well gave rise to the logo- not the other way around. Somewhere along the road, Galliano has managed to strip Dior's essence away. The tables have turned for the brand and as buyers we must realise that all we are essentially left with is a logo. For remove this from Galliano's collections, and there is very little else worth paying for. A piece of advice for this coming autumn's elegant and attractive looks: stay away from Dior.
Having considered the best and the worst of this fall's collections, we can proceed to a more general overview of what will be found on the high streets- keeping in mind that Lagerfeld is also working with Hennes to produce what will hopefully be a far more affordable and street chic vision of taste. For day wear, the fashionable and chic working woman should have a figure hugging grey skirt suit. The skirt should be strictly knee length- absolutely no shorter. If you are willing to spend, go straight to YSL for work wear. There you will find a stunning grey beige cotton suit with black leather piping. You can team this with a black cashmere turtleneck sweater: simplicity turns heads.
The autumn trend for coats also follow this simplicity in style, where you will at most find two-tonal looks. This makes a bad cut all the more obvious and a good cut twice as important. The designs come in black, grey and light tan pink hues mainly, often fur trimmed and with two set lengths: below the knee or waist level. However, there are some slightly more interesting colours about such as Michael Kors' stunning lilac double breasted coat, Diane Von Furstenberg's red doubled breasted thigh length look or even some yellow in a Versace yellow and white houndstooth coat. If you are willing to experiment, by all means do but always be weary of yellow. If you are planning on buying a yellow coat, make sure you have a friend with you. Whichever coat you choose this season: simplicity is key so look out for a good cut rather than an eye-catching pattern.
So what to wear to an important dinner when you can only look your best? Follow Gucci's example and go for midnight blues and silky purples. You must also ignore the oldest rule in the book: this season darker blues work with black. Although it may seem scary at first, a straightforward way to doing this is to simply accessorize your silk ribbon long sleeved blue or purple dress with black jewellery or a simple black silk clutch. Do this and you will have the effortlessly elegant and fashionable look which epitomises the French woman.
No outfit is complete without the right shoes and this season, evening heels are high and ankle oriented. They come in a variety of blacks, greens and purples silks. For the day time, the ankle boot is making an unexpected return (I will forever bear a personal grudge towards these). They come in all this season's colours but for god's sake, stay away from the yellow or -heaven forbid-the purple fur line Diane Von Furstenberg end of the spectrum- because very few people can carry those off. Not only do they shorten and fatten your leg by ruining the curve of your ankle (unless your Elle MacPherson and your leg probably needs shortening) but they will also hopefully disappear into anonymity next season and you will wish you had never been seen with them on. In any case, if you do decide to risk it, whatever shoes you wear by day must be just as high if not higher than by night and even if it is painful, don't you just love the way they make your calves look?
From the accessory to the well tailored suit or the dangerously high grey tweed stiletto, simplicity is everything. Stay away from anything too ornate, go for tweed, houndstooth jackets, good cuts generally and enjoy the simplicity of a black polo neck. Do not weigh yourself down! Elsie De Wolfe- a pillar of style- once said: 'I always take one item off before I leave the house'. That is absolutely the right attitude to have this Autumn 2004.
Diane Von Furstenberg
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