A/W 2011 Trends: Forties Elegance

Arriving in store as early as May, the A/W Pre-Collections sit juxtaposed with marked down summer dresses, last minute purchases for anyone lucky enough to escape the rather miserable summer and venture to warmer climates. Increasingly designers are expanding upon these mid-season collections and in many instances they are becoming the most commercial and profitable due to their trans-seasonal wearability.

Wishing away the summer even further, by the beginning of July, monthly fashion titles including Vogue, Elle and Harpers Bazaar are all publishing their seasonal guides to the forthcoming Autumn/Winter 2011 trends. Just when we are reminded of last Februray’s collections and creating our winter ‘wish lists’ however, along come the Spring/Summer 2012 shows in September; there is no doubt the pace driving the fashion industry is increasing rapidly. While it is true that consumers worldwide are generally tightening their budgets, the luxury market still remains relatively unscathed. Here at Semple, we have identified four of the key trends occurring in the luxury and subsequently high-street sectors this autumn and we will be presenting weekly updates to highlight these over the next month.

One of the most striking and easily adopted trends to emerge this winter is the return of forties glamour and elegance. A far cry from ration books and painted stockings, this forties aesthetic takes inspiration from French Haute-Couture legends Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Dior, who despite lacking in their preferred materials during and post Nazi Occupation, still managed to influence the rest of the world with their Parisian design skills and inherent knowledge of style.

Capturing the elegance and glamour of the 1940's on the catwalk, Vogue's main fashion with Kate Moss and Hollywood icons.

This season, key designers including Miu Miu, Jonathan Saunders and Marni presented pencil skirts and tea dresses with longer hemlines and fitted waists. The upper body features accentuated and boxy shoulder silhouettes and prints are decidedly delicate and mid-century contemporary. Collar details are sharp and accessories including fur shrugs, skinny belts and three-quarter length gloves complete the look.

Avant-garde designer Jean Paul Gaultier sent his models down the catwalk wearing three-tiered strings of pearls and wrap around fur jackets interspersed with a mix of textures such as tweed skirts and soft silk, printed blouses.¬† Hair was immaculately bouffant and more importantly grey in colour, not too far removed from a classic blue rinse. Donna Karan’s take was more contemporary, a wool and crepe¬† mix simple grey dress with ruched neckline takes the look from day to night; just add a dash of of bright lipstick in either pink or red.

Reaffirming the importance of this trend further is the August issue of British Vogue, which features Kate Moss on the cover wearing the beautiful lily-of-the-valley tea dress. For further inspiration in how to tune into the glamorous icons of the decade, take a trip to the National Portrait Gallery to see the current exhibition ‘Glamour of the Gods’ which features portraits of some of the most celebrated actors and actresses of the Hollywood golden era, look out for full coverage of the show here at Women Fashion Stories.

Images from Vogue.com


Stephanie Barker and Laura Roig





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