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Pre-fall 17 trends: Beautility (or how utility got gorgeous)

Sandra Halliday
03 January 2017

Utility detailing has been a big deal for some time and in a world where the parka is the favourite coat style, that’s no surprise.

But all those drawstrings, giant pockets, zips, parachute nylons, heavy cottons, and topstitching have been evolving. We’ve had purist ultra utility, and we’ve had a more girly pretty utility (remember the whimsical floral print jumpsuits Raf Simons did at Dior a few seasons back?)

But for pre-fall 17, utility is moving on again and becoming, dare I say it, elegant. It’s grown-up, ultra-cool and feminine. The usual details are all there, along with the expected colours/pattern trio of khakis, desert tones and camos.

But the look isn’t primarily casual (although it can be). Teamed with vertiginous heels, power platforms and a boardroom handbag, it can also be about career or occasionwear. Waist definition, peplum hems and flared skirts all add to the feminine edge.

Add in plenty of shine (satin sheen or polished patents) and the season’s favourite amethyst or inky green tones and the look moves even further away from its functional, ultra casual roots.

Of course, if you want to keep it for off-duty, it’s a great way to move ‘casual’ out of the ‘basics’ arena and into a more trend-forward one.

For anyone sick of both athleisure and jeans, that is at least a newer and more versatile story to buy into. And it’s that versatility that means it’s also as a way to give a newly relaxed edge to more formal daywear that can still be smart… and sexy.

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