Leather looks are set to hit the mainstream for autumn with the fabric becoming the season's fashion essential. Used predominantly in deepest jet black, designers as diverse as Hermes, Daks, Belstaff and Celine showed blousons, cap-sleeved dresses and moulded coats in sleek and shiny leather. Christopher Kane created full-skirted leather mini dresses, Noir took its inspiration from the classic tuxedo and Burberry Prorsum featured trench styling.
London designers Betty Jackson, Jonathan Saunders and Basso & Brooke were in a shiny happy mood, parading wet-look organza dresses and coats. Elsewhere, Chloe featured tangerine plastic, Alberta Ferretti used gleaming pewter PVC and Cacharel included a Lurex weave to sparkling effect.
Pink & Purple
Pink, from powder shades to vibrant fuchsia, were joined by regal purple and lilac to punctuate an overwhelmingly dark season. All-over mono colours dominated over prints. Lanvin, Luella, Pucci and Zac Posen incorporated sleek designs in shades of purple, with Paul Smith, Stella McCartney and Christian Dior all opting for edgier hot pink hues.
A fuss-free silhouette mixing 1990s minimalism with last season's luxury sportswear emerged as an antidote to the severe tailoring and hardwear-clad leather that has stalked autumn's catwalks. Simple A-line shapes at Chloe, Emporio Armani and Aquascutum and oversized asymmetrically-fastening coats at Calvin Klein, Lanvin and Yves Saint Laurent typified the look.
The shoulder is the new erogenous zone for the coming season, with an abundance of exaggerated sleeve treatments, armoured-look shoulder constructions and cutaway racer-style straps. Bottega Veneta, Sass & Bide and Proenza Schouler opted for more subtle capped or balloon shapes, while an oversized 1980s shoulder shape was the key look at Maison Martin Margiela, Lanvin and Stella McCartney.
After emerging last season, the 1920s story continues to bubble under the trend radar. Dropped waists on velvet dresses at Paul Smith had a Great Gatsby feel, while in New York the Marc Jacobs mainline collection was underpinned by a flapper-inspired shape, albeit with a leaner, more masculine silhouette. More literal examples came in the guise of Julien Macdonald's cocktail creations.
Cosy and comforting, autumn's affection for quilted fabrics is a rare commercial mix of practical and covetable. Quilted styles veered from duvet proportions at Basso & Brooke to more traditional down-filled looks at Ungaro, Marios Schwab and Dries Van Noten, while Prada and Alexander McQueen used quilting to dramatic effect on luxury silks and taffeta.
Thick and bulbous, the season's knitwear is anything but fine-gauge. Oversized cable knit tunic dresses at Betty Jackson or pull-on gilets at Aquascutum reinforced the rustic looks on show at Christian Lacroix, which offered trumpet-sleeved knits with ruffled fronts. Elsewhere, Nina Ricci served up elegant funnel-shaped swinging knits.
A subtle nod to the neat and trim 1940s silhouette was introduced via nipped-in knee-length suits in nude tones at Bottega Veneta and floral printed silk at Gucci. Other looks included Katharine Hepburn-style high-waisted Oxford bags at Oscar de la Renta, and coats with exaggerated sharp shoulders at Christian Dior.
Tartan reared its Celtic head again this season, but lost all punk references with oversized picnic-rug plaids at Chanel, Eley Kishimoto, Jean Paul Gaultier and Gucci. Monochrome houndstooth was used at Oscar de la Renta, while smaller lumberjack plaids were seen at both Marc by Marc Jacobs and MaxMara.
Gold and silver have been filtering through from designer collections to the high street for several seasons, but for autumn 07 the metallics trend has shifted up a gear. Body-clinging molten gold at Issa, Marchesa and Matthew Williamson had a stretchy, draped quality with a retro, disco feel. Meanwhile, burnished sequins at Yves Saint Laurent and old gold at Roberto Cavalli helped to convey a more refined, antiqued look.