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Tailoring trend poses dilemma for multiples

High street retailers will draw on the architectural and 1980s power-dressing trends shown on the international catwalks for autumn 09, but the trend for tailoring and sombre colours is likely to present the high street with significant challenges.

Trends including the 1980s as seen at Stella McCartney and Yves Saint Laurent and the architectural and sophisticated tailoring championed by Viktor & Rolf will be key for autumn, alongside super-structured shoulders and a palette of jade, black, grey and pink.

However, tailoring is notoriously difficult for the value players to reproduce well and whether a broad spread of shoppers will want to spend their precious pounds on formalwear next season has posed a dilemma for multiples.

While 1980s-inspired collections had a new glamorous twist, the trend offered nothing ground-breaking and a strong commercial trend direction was not as obvious this season.

Barbara Horspool, trend director at high street chain New Look, said: “There isn’t the breadth of choice [of trends] that there usually is. There is a big 1980s feel coming through and it is more modern and glamorous, but even the main colour palette was limited to grey, black and graphic print.

“Gucci’s sexiness will be hugely influential and there is a feel for the anarchical coming through. The biggest message has been shoulders, while the mini-length proportion and the waist are also key.”

Sheradene Rose, joint head of womenswear design at Marks & Spencer, added: “The muted colours and sheer fabrics, exaggerated collars and cuffs and embellishment are all very accessible to our customers. The amazing prints and textile designs will also appeal to the M&S customer.”

Etailer Asos’s womenswear buying director Caren Downie said of the trends at LFW: “There was a strong 1980s influence coming through at the shows which will continue to be important next season. Lean trouser silhouettes were a key theme paired with voluminous shapes on tops including batwings and strong shoulder shapes.”

Drapers’ pick of the womenswear trends to watch

From prim 1940s-inspired tailoring and a revival of skirts to confident 1980s shapes and intricately constructed angular shoulders, autumn 09’s catwalks were awash with easily identifiable looks set to inspire both the high street and the wholesale contemporary womenswear market.

Tailoring was among the biggest trend stories. Partly a confirmation of the adage which demands a general smartening up during recessionary times, and in equal measure a response to consumer demand for fashion purchases with more mileage than a four-month season, designers created a diverse mix of tailored silhouettes with plenty of coat options thrown in.

Drawing inspiration from the waistline emphasising demure skirt suits of the 1940s, some brands, including Christian Dior and Lanvin, created knee-hovering skirt suits with
belt-cinched jackets and waspish silhouettes.

More prominent was the explosion of 1980s-derived suiting. The intricately structured power shoulders advocated by Balmain since autumn 08 created
a stampede of dramatic shoulders for autumn 09. Key looks included oversized cloud-like constructions at Dolce & Gabbana, puffy rounded shoulders by Balenciaga, Balmain’s anvil-shaped styles (pictured right), and over-emphasised capped styles at Jean Paul Gaultier and Givenchy. Whatever the interpretation, few trend-led tops and tailored jackets will escape some form of theatrical shoulder padding for autumn 09.

A sexy rock ‘n’ roll look, which set the design agenda at Twenty8Twelve and developed into a more futuristic look at Givenchy, will also make an impact in the UK. Raunchy mini dresses, tight tailoring and spray-on trousers defined the look, which also drew on riveted details, shiny fabrics, biker-style jackets, and once again sharp, angular shoulder lines.

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