The Coats of Autumn/Winter 2016

So, here we are again. Ushering in the cooler days and evenings with brisk walks in the cold, rediscovering the particular tang of pumpkin spice and browsing supermarket aisles for just the right spider’s web. And all of it done within the confines of a coat.

Choosing the coat you’ll be living in for an entire season (and hopefully far beyond) is no mean feat. It’ll be your life belt; your right-hand man; your refuge. It’ll go with you through your life for the next six months, accruing lint in its pockets and – for a brief period – a poppy on its lapel. Good thing then, that designers in New York, London, Milan and Paris have given us such a wealth of inspiration to consider as we make our decisions.


FotorCreatedCarven, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga 

Though compared to its more discreet brothers and sisters the puffer coat featured considerably less on the runways, its relative absence in the world of fashion in the past decade has seen magazines greet its return with great pomp and circumstance. Characterised by its quilted exterior and stud front fastenings, the puffer is a great reminder that fashion, while fanciful, can also be practical.


FotorCreatedEmilio Pucci, Marc Jacobs, Emilio Pucci 

With a name that neatly encapsulates everything you want from a coat, the cocoon is a perfect bolthole to stow away inside. Its billowing shape makes for a wonderful partner to polo neck knitwear (another AW trend) and a great place to smuggle snacks into the cinema.


FotorCreatedAssembly, Max Mara, Tome

Conjure the image of a coat and chances are you’ll immediately imagine something neutral – perhaps camel or grey – with angular lapels, buttons and belts. It’s this coat that will be with you through thick and thin, that looks great with anything (but particularly leather and denim) and that won’t ever go out of style.


FotorCreatedCarolina Herrera, Costume National, Gareth Pugh

Forget the notion of the coat as a cursory, weather-dependent after thought: make it the life and soul of the party instead. Coats at Carolina Herrera and Gareth Pugh screamed screen siren while Costume National’s glitzy number was delightfully ornamental.

Wacky & Furry

FotorCreatedLibertine, Alexander Wang, Bibhu Mohapatra

If it isn’t fun then what’s the point? Turn heads, stop traffic and otherwise arrest attention in a bold piece of outerwear in stripes, chevrons or er, marijuana leaves.



FotorCreated2Topshop Unique, Gucci, Coach

It was the piece of the season and – say ‘thank you’ bank balance – that’s carrying over into the autumn.  Keep the silhouette boxy for that particular brand of school girl cool.



FotorCreated1Coach, Elie Saab, Coach

Love of my life, fire of my loins…the biker jacket isn’t going away. Ever, ever. This year it’s accruing embellishments, embroideries, pins and badges for a DIY look.

A version of this article first appeared on the BrandAlley blog.

The Rise of ‘Ugly’ Fashion


As a card-carrying member of the fashion pack, I feel as though it is my responsibility to make this circus of an industry seem as accessible as possible. I have tried to demystify the often avant garde nature of catwalk shows and will argue for days about the fashion’s position as a totem of modern art. However, sometimes fashion does itself no favours. Sometimes, fashion is that one friend you have who is half a bottle of vodka down and trying to elucidate Plato’s cave theory. Sometimes, you just have to ‘get’ fashion to abide it.

This is the case with the latest rise in the kitsch and typically ‘bad’ taste items, which are set to characterise 2017 as a renaissance year for some of our favourite terrible trends. Fashion dyslexics look away now: Crocs and Juicy Couture tracksuits are back in.

That’s the beauty and bafflement of fashion: it’ll breathe life into even those trends deemed ‘bad.’ It will resurrect UGG boots and light a fire under wallpaper prints. It will, in essence, allow you to indulge every single one of your sartorial fantasies, no matter how gauche they are.

For this, we have many people to thank. Demna Gsavalia of Vetements is single-handedly felling conservative pillars of the fashion industry while also re-examining the charm of bad taste. Kim Kardashian West is unearthing that picture of her lying draped across the hood of a white Range Rover in gaudy velour. Christoper Kane is making Crocs cool by peppering them with mineral crystals and pairing them with evening gowns. And don’t be fooled: all three of these modern greats are more than aware of what they’re doing.

If you don’t get it, then I get it: it would be just like you trying to force avant garde synth tunes down my throat.

For me though, it’s personal taste alone that stops me from channeling a great, land-dwelling furry dolphin with club feet in a turquoise velour suit and waterproof slip-ons. Morally and aesthetically though, I have zero reservations.

This live and let live mentality of the fashion industry (one that’s definitely absent from The Devil Wears Prada myth) is probably its most charming and redeeming feature. Those of us living in this ridiculous amusement park of an industry are each other’s cheerleaders when it comes to airing our more unusual laundry. I for one am inexplicably magnetised to un-ironed T-shirts, cheap-looking gold jewellery and gaudy animal print. It would be rather hypocritical of me therefore, to balk at someone who chooses to wear bejewelled velour or molded resin clogs.

As the inevitable tidal wave of tack heads our way, I would advise everyone to harbour the same sense of diplomacy. After all, I very much doubt that you, dear reader, have lived a life completely free of sartorial grisliness. And if you have existed in nothing but inoffensive cashmere and calm – well, isn’t that the ugliest fashion of all?