Four top women’s fashion trends for autumn-winter 2017, from trouser suits to glittery gowns

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Fashion for the upcoming autumn-winter season portrays women as strong and powerful.

Dressing up is back in a big way, as designers opt for polished looks made from rich fabrics such as velvet, accented with plenty of embellishments from chain mail to crystals.

Here are my top four trends:

Trouser suits

Hillary Clinton may have lost the American presidential election, but her influence was obvious on the autumn-winter runways as many designers paid homage to her now infamous trouser suit.

The trend was first spotted in New York, where Raf Simons’ debut collection at Calvin Klein featured a series of slim, beautifully tailored grey suits. It continued to pop up in other collections, with styles ranging from double breasted (Celine) to a tuxedo-inspired jacket with a waterfall hem (Alexander McQueen). Alexander Wang’s grey trouser suit came covered in checks and was matched with super skinny trousers.

The grey suit seems to be the official uniform for autumn. It may sound boring, but designers are getting creative with cuts and materials. Thom Browne experimented with contrasting fabrics while Ports 1961 removed one sleeve entirely for a deconstructed look.

Calvin Klein’s jackets with nipped-in waists were the most flattering, while male silhouettes inspired the oversized blazers seen on the catwalks of Alexander Wang, Dries Van Noten and Off-White.

Shoulder pads or slouchy – the choice is yours. Finish off the look with a wide belt cinched at the waist.

Folklore and craftsmanship

Call it the Gucci effect but fashion’s obsession with folklore continues this season.

Don’t mistake the look for Boho-chic, which is more about floaty dresses and hippy influences. Instead, designers are emphasising craftsmanship by using traditional embroideries, textiles and techniques from a range of countries.

The colourful Eastern European embroideries made popular by brands such as Vita Kin have moved from summer dresses to winter staples, as shown by coats and skirts spotted at Derek Lam and Naeem Khan.

The colourful fringing on Gucci’s studded leather jacket brings to mind American cowboys, while American quilting has inspired a series of colourful coats at Calvin Klein and Missoni.

Some pieces are so intricate you want to handle them like family heirlooms. One of Dolce & Gabbana’s coats features a collage of different fabrics including jacquard and brocade in various colours and textures. McQueen’s statement jackets and dresses are covered in hand-embroidered patterns and woven tweeds – inspired by a tradition from Cornwall in England where people tie rags and ribbons on trees as wishes and mementoes.

For a cool clash, look for pieces that mix and match various materials, prints and colours. A word of advice: when wearing a statement piece it is best to match it with simple items so that the workmanship takes centre stage.

Making a stand

Several designers used this season’s catwalks as a platform to voice their opinions and stand up for what they believe in, no holds barred.

The trend started on this year’s spring-summer catwalks when Maria Grazia Chiuri debuted her “We should all be feminist” T-shirts for Christian Dior. By the time this season’s shows rolled around, politics were on the mind of American designers such as Prabal Gurung, who created a series of T-shirts covered in statements including “I Am An Immigrant”, “Love Is The Resistance” and “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”

American designer Christian Siriano of Project Runway fame followed suit with a black T-shirt emblazoned with the words “People are people”. At Public School, the designers satirised Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan by printing “Make America New York” on baseball caps.

Donatella Versace’s message was more personal, reflecting her status as a woman working in a male-dominated industry. She sent out a powerful collection of little black dresses, coat dresses and power suits accessorised with beanie hats, scarves and T-shirts, all featuring words like “Unity”, “Courage”, “Loyalty” and “Love”.

Futuristic themes

A handful of designers have gone intergalactic this season with space age looks.

At Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld sent out chic space cadets wearing future-themed classics such as a tweed jacket covered with a quilted silver blanket. Paco Rabanne’s classic chain mail dresses were re-envisioned with a more form-fitting silhouette in silver and gold. Christopher Kane’s silver skirt was made from iridescent foil while one of his dresses featured a holographic effect.

Over at Saint Laurent, the look is less space age and more Studio 54. Everything from tuxedo jackets to minidresses come covered in thousands of sparkling crystals. Evening looks at Michael Kors include a billowing top and matching trousers in a fabric that resembles liquid silver. At Bottega Veneta, a similar fabric in gold has been moulded into a form-fitting gown.

While most women are partial to a bit of sparkle in their wardrobes, piling it on can veer on tacky. Experiment with more subtle details such as silver accents. For example, Proenza Schouler’s silver trousers were paired with a simple jacket, while Balenciaga’s silver skirt was matched with a grey polo neck. Choose jackets with embellished lapels or pockets.

Although Calvin Klein showcased fabrics like PVC, best to leave this look for the catwalks.

Interestingly the crystal trend is not just limited to clothing. Boots covered in crystals and other glittery bling have been seen at Oscar de la Renta and Saint Laurent (even Rihanna has rocked the trend).

But what if you don’t want to make too much of a statement? In that case, create the same effect with another hot trend: the white ankle boot.

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