SPOTLIGHT ON : FUTURE CLASSICS

The best kind of fashion trend is one that’s barely a trend at all – it isn’t remotely demanding, it doesn’t require a body of supermodel proportions and you probably already own an iteration of the season’s key pieces.

In the case of Pre-AW16, easy-to-wear classic pieces were the focus, as designers fixated upon archetypal wardrobe staples: the shirt, the trench coat and perfectly tailored trousers. A lesson in practicality and year-round dressing, these new collections saw the emergence of a familiar, everyday style, albeit subtly reinvented. So how to map out new-season purchases, distinguishing what you already own from what you now, achingly, need? How to eschew the predictable and plain, for the elevated and interesting?
Let’s start with the classic white shirt. It’s the gathered neckline at Marni, Gucci’s pleated contrast cuffs and a pearl-trimmed bib front at Altuzarra that transform it from every day to alluring. What makes Acne Studios’ navy overcoat extra special? Note the sculptural metal D-ring closure in lieu of traditional buttons. The trouser suit has shaken off any lingering connotations of office attire – see the raw edges and statement split cuffs on Calvin Klein Collection’s wool and silk-blend blazer and exaggerated, slouchy silhouette of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s hound’s-tooth two piece. A peaked shoulder or elongated sleeve is the stealth detail turning a black jacket from boring and insignificant into distinguished and must-have. Denim is no longer a standard-issue fare – crafted and considered by Adam Lippes, Chloé and Emilia Wickstead, it requires a second look. Even the humble sweatshirt has new conversation-starting appeal thanks to Balenciaga,whose crafted cocoon sleeves create an architectural silhouette.

"This season is about clothes that are so easy to wear, you won’t want to take them off... pieces you can eat, travel, work and entertain in – repeatedly."

This season is about clothes that are so easy to wear, you won’t want to take them off. Designers are encouraging you to build your wardrobe around investment pieces you can eat, travel, work and entertain in – repeatedly. Labels like The Row and Joseph have long mastered the art of simplicity, but it’s not traditionally minimal brands setting this new agenda: Valentino – synonymous with exquisite gowns and craftsmanship – has put its own spin on everyday pieces with the new Rockstud Untitled collection. The 12-piece unisex capsule has re-energised the trench coat, the crew-neck sweater, the pea coat and more, each embellished with the label’s iconic studding. Meanwhile, London-based Osman Yousefzada is another designer aiming to streamline your wardrobe with his Perfect Five capsule collection, comprising five tailored styles of five wardrobe essentials: the coat, the trousers, the shirt, the knit and the dress. In quiet opposition to the mega-watt maximalist trend proliferating both on and off the runway, his rationale is that modern-day women are too busy to categorise their wardrobes into work, weekend and everything in between. So, take a confident, decidedly non-corporate approach to office wear – Raey’s striped satin smoking suit will look effortlessly chic and fabulously unexpected with sleek mules, extending its wear long after hours. Challenge the norm when it comes to travel attire: Stella McCartney’s contrast-stripe track pants and Barrie’s drawstring cashmere trousers ensure you won’t sacrifice sophistication for comfort. Ultimately, it’s about finding pieces that do the hard work for you, while redefining easy chic.

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