This isn’t the bold statement it appears to be. In the aftermath of all four fashion weeks, New York, London, Milan and Paris are in agreement about one thing; to be in style next autumn you will need to take inspiration from the history books. Designers weren’t rehashing looks from the seventies, eighties and nineties as they have for the past few seasons – and thank goodness because for those of us who can remember those decades, it’s too soon – they’d instead rummaged through the back catalogues of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley.
This pleases me enormously because while I love the ever changing face of fashion, I also suspect I was born in the wrong era (the seventies may sound like the ‘olden days’ to some of you but really it isn’t) and am far happier and more comfortable in a dress and heels than I am in jeans and trainers. It’s terribly un-PC of me, but I watch Mad Men and secretly wonder if I might have put up with sexist comments and smoking at the breakfast table if only I was doing it dressed like January Jones as Betty Draper. If you enjoy a costume drama and fancy yourself a gothic heroine or a whimsical romantic lead, then this just may be your time. And it’s not as if you even need wait until next autumn as much of these trends are already in the shops now. Given we are still in the grip of winter here in the UK, you could actually be ahead of the game. Here’s what to look out for:
Usually confined to the summer months, floral will stick around this year and be huge come the autumn. It’s not just adorning dresses either, trousers, boots, bags, it’s on everything. Buy now and chuck a knit over it later. Think 1940s tea dresses.
Yes it’s a crazy idea to waft around in London in your nightie when the temperature drops. Also, it’s an underwear minefield so get in on the act this summer and then you can be so over it by the time the clocks go back. Think Ophelia from Hamlet or Great Gatsby.
Off the Shoulder
Sense of deja-vu? Yes well, this trend is fabulous, everyone can wear it in some way, you don’t have to forego sleeves and it can be worn with anything from jeans to maxi skirts. The ultimate no-brainer. Think Gillian Anderson in War and Peace or Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita.
Another trend that can already be found on the high street, ruffles are on anything and everything so be careful where you put them. Gothic in black, Victoriana in ivory. Think Elizabeth I rather than Charles II.
Ruffled, puffed, ultra long, leg o’ mutton, take your pick. Wear while you can because as we all know, once this ship has sailed the look will date faster than you can say Princess Diana’s wedding dress. Think Cinderella or Deborah Kerr in The King and I.
You don’t have to end up looking like Willy Wonka but you will have to tread carefully. Probably best avoided if you have a substantial bust but what a great boost if you don’t! Think Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.
I can’t wait to get going with the ruffles and sleeves and am so excited about the long floaty dresses – oh the multitude of sins that’ll be hidden! Shall we bypass summer altogether? We’ll only moan about the weather not being good enough and what a waste of money it is buying flimsy dresses in this country. Yes, 2016 is shaping up to be full of costume drama, a vintage year indeed.