The elegant lady-like story first seen this spring has gathered momentum in womenswear brands’ autumn 11 collections.
The influence of Mad Men star Christina Hendricks and Prada and Marc Jacobs’ full calf-length skirts with fitted tops from autumn 10 have filtered into contemporary and mainstream womenswear.
Meanwhile, softer, looser silhouettes have become more important. Ballet-themed fabrics such as dreamy soft tulles or pleated skirt shapes given weight by the recent film Black Swan have also been translated by brands for next season.
The result of all of these combined influences is a plethora of mid-length skirts, which when styled with chunky knits or heritage jackets, breathe new directional life into what can be a difficult length both to wear and to sell, particularly to the younger end of the market. This look has a distinctive 1940s feel but go for a grunge take to maximise its appeal in store.
The seasonal palette is built around green, stretching from dark murky woodland shades through to lighter forest shades which are broken up by a touch of flora. Florals have moved far away from ditsy prints and large single graphic placements further towards abstract and digital interpretations, often in a tonal palette.
Outerwear remains vital to next season but is divided firmly into two camps. The first sees military-inspired coats, complete with epaulettes and shiny buttons, or double-breasted variations tied smartly at the waist, while the second embraces quilted or waxed jackets to tie in neatly with the countryside theme that is also prevalent.
Capes are also here to stay, and wool swing coats provide a third overlay option.
Both give shoppers a dressier outerwear option for their wardrobes, though this limits their wearability.
It would be foolish to ignore the importance of add-on-sales in a market as tough as today’s, so for the first time Drapers features a selection of lingerie on p110 for you to choose from sweet, daytime options to more luxurious styles.
Speaking of glamour, on p109 one of the freshest evening trends is the 1920s-inspired flapper dress. Our eveningwear shoot, which starts on p94, takes you through all of the key after-hours looks, from sumptuous maxi-length velvet dresses, to draped, Grecian-themed silk-jersey gowns with asymmetric necklines. The important things to look for here are timeless elegance and opulent fabrics.
Laura Weir Fashion editor