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High Street: 50 Shades of Fabulous

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Haute, hautter, hauttest... From the sublime to the downright wacky, Raul Dias brings you the latest fashion and accessory trends for the season. And yes, guys, there’s something for you too




Like it or loathe it, there’s still no escaping the leather trend that is raging, to say the very least. For those who want to be a bit edgy this winter, all things leather would be the right fit. This slinky sexy fabric dominates the season, making anyone wearing it look 50 shades of fabulous. Take a look at the collections of Louis Vuitton and Gucci and you’ll get our drift. Wearing a Gucci soft leather python print pliseè skirt to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Design Challenge Cocktail on october 13, 2015 in new York was US Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, while Italian actor Carolina Crescentini wore a Gucci Fall Winter 2015-2016 dark grey mélange short-sleeved crew neck t-shirt with bird embroidery that she teamed with a black leather wrinkled skirt to the Poli Opposti premiere on october 5, 2015 in Rome. Asia, too, still seems to be in love with leather. Chinese label Missy Skins by natasha Ivachoff created a modern and sassy look with its leather trousers, wrap dress coat, skirts, cropped tops, and studded high-cut, two-piece leather set draped with a big fur coat. And Kelly Bui utilised the winter fabric well on her neo-Victorian, monochromatic collection. Closer home, the fabulousness continues with designers like In- dia’s ‘princess of Bohemian Luxe’ Monisha Jaising launching her range of versatile and easy-to-wear wide-leg leather embellished pants made from the softest of stretch nappa leather.


It may have barely enough room for your phone and lipstick, but the micro bag is the hottest trend this season, with most designer labels pulling out all the stops to peddle ‘mini me’ versions of some of their most iconic handbags faster than you can say “munchkin”. From Saint Laurent mini Sac De Jour called the Toy SDJ and Gucci Boston Bag to Fendi’s Micro peekaboo nappa leather bag and Chanel’s Micro Flap Bag, all these are less than six inches, thus answering the age-old question plaguing women size really doesn’t matter. In fact, Louis Vuitton takes the trend a step further by introducing an entire collection of micro bags called the nano, which includes miniatures of popular classics like the Speedy, noé and Alma, as well as newer styles like the W and Soft Lockit.

PS: no big surprise then that the micro bag has paved the way for the two-bag trend, which sees women toting their mini bag, and a larger one to hold every- thing the former can’t!


This is probably the one trend that even the most astute fashion forecasters couldn’t predict. But this season, if the runways from London to Tokyo are anything to go by, then ‘granny cool’ rules and the prissy twinset rocks. The silhouette in question is all about relaxed, layered comfort fits that are straight out of your grandmother’s wardrobe. Volume was clearly having a moment in outwear and knitwear, as when Chanel chose to send out its ribbed cardigans paired over velvet and accessorised by strands of pearls and whimsical brooches. Indian label Three by pallavi Dyani’s anti-fit tunic dresses in muted shades like creams and ivory with win- dowpane prints also pay homage to this trend, as do Chirag nainani’s layered looks. oversized, bulky sweaters take on the rounded shape that emerged on coats with dropped shoulders as seen in the Marc Jacobs and Miuniku collections, with the latter full of bright colour blocked zippered pieces. Voluminous or long sleeves add to the elongated silhouettes, while necklines vary from classic crews to turtlenecks in the collections of high street brands like Miu Miu and Max Mara. Granny is here to stay, ladies. So, belt up!


This season there is no one single print that dominates, but a whole slew of mo- tifs and inspirations as varied as they are visually appealing. From the predictable animal prints of Dolce & Gabanna, Emporio Armani, and Gucci to the wonders of colour blocking by Miuniku, Furla and Tumi, it’s prints galore. Taking its inspiration from the splendid architecture of Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca , Mahal en Maroc, the latest collection from Sonam and paras Modi of SVA, is an ode to the geometric Moroccan print that can be seen on saris, dresses and kurtas. In her Varanasi Weaves, the Grande Dame of Indian fashion, Ritu Kumar pays homage to the hand-woven cutwork of Banarasi jamdani on her exquisite saris and lehengas in a riot of peacock-inspired hues and patterns. In Sabyasachi Mukherji’s Heritage Bridal fall winter wedding 2015-16 collection, the designer’s floral print obsession continues, with bold patterns on crop tops paired with flowing full-length skirts. on the other end of the print spectrum, Moschino’s ‘Loony Tunes’ sweatshirts designed by Jeremy Scott give pop art some serious high fashion cred this season.


Don’t we just love our hybrids? Be it the edible kind a la the cronut or the wear- able kind, like the part skirt, part shorts ‘skort’, we can’t seem to get enough of them. And the latest to join that bandwagon is the Flatform shoe. The retro-looking mash-up of a flat shoe and a platform is enjoying a turn this season in the collections of everyone from Diane von Furstenberg and Salvatore Ferragamo to Marni and UK brand Superga for whom model and possibly future Mrs Bradley Cooper Suki Waterhouse has even designed a range. now, while it’s very easy to relegate these vintage-y, clunky pieces to the ‘ugly shoes’ corner, those who’ve tried them on swear by their comfort factor. Don’t believe us? Just ask Miley Cyrus and our very own timeless Indian fashion icon parmesh- war Godrej, who was recently spotted at the Mumbai airport sporting a black pair with espadrille-like cording.


The luxurious and stylish smoking slip- per proved to be the newest alternative to basic flats this season. From the runways to street style, these became a footwear statement, and rightly so. Spotted on the runway shows of Gucci, these slip-ons are classy as well as eye- catching at the same time. Showed off in a range of designs, from active prints to vibrant colours, metal embellished and tasselled, designers like Louis Vuitton and brands closer home like Clarks, Trèsmode and Mochi upped the ante for the smoking slipper. Whether a formal or casual occasion, this is the season’s pick that we have our money hedged on.


An elaborate use of texture creates a multi-dimensional effect, lending a lot of visual appeal. The texture trend this season can be seen on everything from accessories to apparel. Labels like Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo have come out with embellished handbags while others like Ae-Tee and Marks & Spencer jazz up the bling quotient with their statement jewellery. From finely detailed embroidery to metallic embel- lishments, from gilded fabric appliqués to the use of leather and sequins, each piece of designer Monisha Jaising’s lat- est evening out collection is intricately designed. edgy cut-outs and embroidery like zardozi and Lucknowi chikan in crystal detailing make an unforgettable statement in textures.


Showing us that it’s here to stay a bit longer after its smashing reintroduction last season, native American-inspired fringe details are also apparent in this year’s collections, from a stunning fringed skirt at nina Ricci to Chanel’s myriad takes on the tassel in its sublime A/W 15-16 collection. Taking us back to the 20s is Aftershock London with a Flapper Girl-esque nude, shimmery dress, while Gucci’s moccasins in the Cruise collection 2016 take the trend to accessories as well. Speaking of Gucci, english musician Florence Welch wore a Gucci printed silk wrap dress with black silk and viscose fringes to the 2015 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund L.A. Runway Show on october 20, 2015 in Los Angeles in a look that channelled boho-chic at its best. Maria Lafuente’s bold fringe knock-out over a white structured dress reinforced the truism that fringes and tassels are a top-notched statement that can transform any wardrobe from ordinary to chic.


As if those shaggy, shearling UGG boots of last season weren’t enough to make your legs look like those of a Shire horse, the latest in furry and yes, very hairy footwear will take your fashion quotient to a whole new level. Take the furry slippers introduced by Gucci this season, for instance. Wearing these golden blonde specimens would seem as though Donald Trump had placed his toupee on your feet. other labels like Dolce & Gabbana (hairy stilettos), BCBG Max Azria (fur-covered booties), Fendi (furry boots), Monique Lhuillier (fuzzy stilettos), Tibi (furry flats and loafers), reinforce the fact that hair today is sadly not gone tomorrow…


Slouchy, comfy sleepwear is the look that’s waking up the world this season… but without a bed in sight. Yes, the “just out of bed”, grungy, bed-head chic look of the 90s is back with a bang. The black wool single-breasted pajama-inspired wrinkled jacket and trousers set that is part of Gucci’s Fall Winter 2015-2016 highlights this trend expertly. As do the luxurious silk Shanghai pajamas by ol- ivia Von Halle, the pinstriped white set by emporio Armani and the polka dotted green pajamas by Anya Ziourova that showed at Milan Fashion Week.



The Madras Check is one trend that try as they may men cannot seem to escape this season. In fact, so pronounced is it that ermenegildo Zegna’s head of design Stefano pilati has based his A/W 15-16 collection almost entirely on the print. He re-imagined and developed the print in shirting and suiting, but mainly in the century cashmere out- wears, with micro, medium and macro iterations. You can see a particularly important section of this shadow check effect in the double construction wool, which has the Madras on one side, obscured by a solid colour in the col- lection’s oversized, baggy coats and jackets. Another label that pays homage to Madras Check is Brooks Brothers, who apply it to everything from a bright red jacket to accessories like ties and even flip flops.


Whether you’re a businessman or a jet-setter, your valise this season had better be stocked with the latest trend in men’s footwear, the travelling or ‘flex’ shoe. With its special construction, the flex shoe offers exceptional comfort and flexibility. Catching onto the trend are the guys at Ermenegildo Zegna, whose recent collection of accessories offers “Smart Travel” solutions for men on the go with the flexible leather-soled shoe making it perfect for packing. Also cottoning on is Corneliani whose A/W 2015-16 collection of accessories has a travelling shoe that’s lightweight and comfortable, yet über stylish.


Camel, tan, taupe are all variations of the same family of hues that can be grouped broadly as sandy shades. This season we see manifestations of sand in a range of menswear options from prada (trench coats), Brooks Brothers (jumpers and duffle bags), Salvatore Ferragamo (suits, blazers and pants), Zegna (suits), Michael Kors (jackets) and Bottega Veneta (messenger bags). Go on, hit the sand.


Four of the hottest men’s watches inspired by the ocean this season:

1. omega Seamaster Aqua Terra James Bond Spectre Limited edition
2. Piaget Altiplano Chronometer
3. Breguet Marine 5857
4. Chopard L.U.C. 1937 Classic Chronometer



One of the hottest trends in wrists this season is the India-inspired watch, raging not just in India but across the world. And for both sexes. Take, for instance, the ladies piaget Altiplano 43mm Double peacock plique-à-Jour enamel pavé White Gold watch, which is a part of the Mythical Journey collection, a line dedicated mainly to India.

Speaking of peacocks, the Jaipur Watch Company has handcrafted the limited edition peacock Feather Watch for both men and women, with a real peacock feather as the dial. Then, our very own Devanagiri script has found favour with Swiss watchmaker Frederique Constant, who has designed a dial using the syllabary to represent numerals, creating a timepiece where Indian heritage meets Swiss horology.

(A travel, food and luxury writer, Raul is a self-confessed sybarite)

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