Women may spend their lives in jeans, but the dress remains the centrepiece of most womenswear collections and autumn/winter looks like a strong dress season.
Sports made a big impact on runway dresses as designers subverted traditional sports styles with polo and rugby shorts the key influence. These casual dress options made the most of sports colour and detail, but with a twist. That could mean sleeve used to create a belt effect or the traditional polo shirt extended to mid-calf for the easiest of easy-wear options. Teamed with the season’s trainers, they kept the look ultra-casual, while paired up with the platform boots, jewelled court shoes or kitten heels that are also a big AW story, they felt more formal, but still fun.
Slips continued their reign as the dress of choice for many labels and should be key come party season. But they work as relaxed daytime occasionwear too, especially when interpreted in one of the season’s eye-searing brights with print and embellishment used to add an extra boost to the simplest of silhouettes. Meanwhile perfectly minimalist felted wool required no embellishment and made a strong style statement that should appeal to the contemporary customer.
The smock has also made a comeback and it will be interesting to see how this one develops. Will the younger customer embrace the challenging and roomy silhouette as she taps into the general 70s-influenced trend we’re seeing for the season? Or will a more mature customer appreciate its forgiving shape? Regardless of who wears this dress, it simply hast to come in floral print for a faux-naïve celebration of femininity. Add it ruffles, higher necklines and contrast panels in velvet or corduroy to play up the vintage appeal of this key piece.
Strapless dresses made an impact either as a powerful look for evening or worn over a fine-knit top, blouse or shirt to make a style statement for daytime. Expect to see plenty of interpretations in which the bustier and top are both built-in. But regardless of whether it’s a real strapless dress or a faux bustier, the key here for the new season was clever cutting and a draped effect with can’t-miss-it materials such as the most supple leathers or super-fine wools.