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Season’s preview autumn 08

Drapers round up all the essential trends poised to hit the high street for the coming season.

As hard as it is to believe, there’s another buying season already upon us, with brands playing it safe on the trends front for autumn 08. The uncertain economic outlook is partly to blame, with many designers playing a defensive game stylistically, focusing instead on quality fabrics with luxury detailing. This comes at a time when buyers need all the help they can get just to entice customers through their doors.

In womenswear, vintage glamour informs fluid 1920s silhouettes, providing a compromise between waist-cinching body-con styles and the tunic styles of the past few seasons – think Keira Knightley in Atonement. The words ‘investment’ and ‘purchase’ are common conversational currency in fashion circles and, with this in mind, there is a renewed emphasis on beautiful fabrications and texture. Embellishments are essential, and brands are widely exploring new fabrics.

Trouser shapes are varied, with form-fitting jodhpurs, classic wide-leg shapes and flares providing alternatives to the ubiquitous skinny-leg look. In dark economic times, designers traditionally return to a safety net of darker tones and autumn 08 is no different, with black adding a sharpness to masculine tailoring and sleek shine in eveningwear.

In men’s tailoring there is a continued emphasis on sumptuous fabrics and details. Never before have so many off-the-rail suits been blessed with so many bespoke characteristics, from contrast fabric internal pocket piping to working cuffs.

For autumn a growing number of men’s brands have succumbed to the slim silhouette that has swept contemporary young fashion over the past two years. While the younger sectors offer retro rock and mod silhouettes, as well as the clean-lined aesthetic of Scandinavian fashion, the mainstream delivers diluted versions of these influences. Grey – from steel and charcoal to slate and dove – is still a part of the menswear wardrobe, but shares rail space with more black and blue stories, with a handful of references to autumn 07’s browns.

Buyers are facing a season characterised by a more discerning and subtle line-up of trends. The bywords for the season are luxury and texture, with hand-finished details aimed at shoppers looking for a little bit more mileage from their autumn 08 fashion purchases.

See the Pdfs attached (below right) for breakdowns for womenswear, menswear and young fashion.

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