fashion trends Autumn/Winter (A/W) 2009

The spectacular fashion Genesis that took place in S/S '09, seems to have evolved into two distinct camps for A/W '09.

The first camp possesses a sense of defiance, a snarling arrogant Punk character, who revels in being young, independent and non conformist; when it comes to dressing. Just like its 70's predecessor, this season's equivalent is tough, yet sexy. A black, leather wearing mass, bespattered with studs and bondage straps that exhibits a whole lot of attitude.

With skinny leather trousers being one of the key component parts of the look, designers like: Aminaka Wilmont and Todd Lynn have taken the sharpness from a razor, and embedded it into an array of tailoring, that flirts between wool and leather.

Sleeveless wool jackets exposing leather arms to wool jackets with leather lapels, produce an edgy contrasting look.

Rodarte's multi buckle biker jackets (in leather), fiercely conveys a no nonsense theme too, signalling a sisterhood calling that shouts, 'Women mean business!' Or, 'If men are finding the circumstances difficult to cope with, women are certainly not.'

This resilience and strength can be found in the plethora of leather separates i.e. corsets, dresses, trenches and coats; prevalent in most of this season's designer collections.

From Meadham Kirchoff's boyfriend leather trousers to Louis Vuitton's, Dries Van Notten's, Bottega Venetta's and Hermés' leather coats and trenches — are all created in glorious, sumptuous leather. Even the suits at Max Mara and dresses at Loewe are given a leather make-over, to yield a modern, businesslike look.

This work ethic is encapsulated most at Prada, Todd Lynn and Aminaka Wilmont; who all offer the working woman a shield from the predicted harsh winter weather, in the form of leather leg coverings or thigh high leather wading boots, that ensure rain, sleet or snow won't stop her.

The second camp is fuelled by a sense of fear that communicates the merits of playing it safe and erring on the side of caution, by opting for perennial winter favourites.

Empowered with classic masculine tailoring, (like those seen at: Donna Karan, Givenchy, Gucci, Stella McCartney and Yves Saint Laurent (YSL)); these collections provide reliable (albeit updated) winter favourites, to ride out the financial storm.

First up, Alexander McQueen's enlarged dog-tooth checks (in black and white — also seen at Preen) — teamed with nautical stripes — are all purposely intermixed to provide the wearer with the comfort and confidence to navigate herself through the mire. Both Aquascutum and Stella McCartney too, have modernised their houndstooth checks into flattering jacket shapes, in festive red and white/black combos for A/W '09. As for Dame Vivienne Westwood — the queen of tartan — she reminds us just how sexy the female body is, by offering a daring high-split wool dress, in characteristic winter colours. Luxury label Burberry also decided to stick with another winter favourite tweed, in sombre black and white, that can so easily be added to existing wardrobe pieces.

A variety of skirts suits (all beautifully executed at Chanel, Lanvin, Prada and YSL); nostalgically reference an age when women truly dressed stylishly — without the need to bare flesh. Even Camel coats (a hardy wardrobe staple), put in an appearance in the A/W '09 collections of: Crombie, Elie Tahari, Max Mara and Jil Sander — to name a few.

On the other side of the Camp Two scale, is Marc Jacobs and Co. A group of designers who have opted to reference the 80's for their inspiration. If sequins and embellishment looked too 'bling' last year, then vibrant colour has become the worthy substitute used to enliven collections. With this mantra in mind, Jacobs' has done what Jacobs' does best, funked up a variety of themes to come out with a collection that is fresh and different. The striking, sky scraper proportioned shoulders of last season (seen at Balmain) are still available, but Marc Jacobs has opted to make his more 'American Footballer' in looks. And, he's not the only one to adapt the shape. Betty Jackson and Dolce & Gabbana have chosen to use more rounded features, on the shoulders of their jackets this season.

With most of the other designer labels, like Balençiaga, preferring to use draping on their evening dresses or Erdem, Marios Schwab and Peter Pilotto opting for sculptured shapes and prints; Marc Jacobs, instead, intends to wrap us in confectionary inspired, foil-like creations. In fact, Marc Jacobs collection darts about so sporadically (from puff-ball hem dresses, to bodice dresses waiting for an action hero insignia — on the space provided at the front), that it almost takes on a super hero persona. A genius at diverse styling and creativity, his mind-blowing collection truly delivers. His playfulness with colours like: bright pink, purple, electric blue and yellow; and ability to incorporate denim peg leg trousers to 'Little Red Riding Hood' capes; yields a collection that possesses almost everything.

Evidently this season, the economic downturn has provided fashion designers with the impetus to achieve more.

Autumn Winter 2009 Trends Designer Luxury Labels Pictured include Aquascutum's Check Coat, Basso & Brooke's Pronounced Shoulder Coat, Anya Hindmarch Classic Black Handbag, Peter Pilotto Rounded Shoulder Coat, Betty Jackson tailoring, Spijkers en Spijkers Tailoring, Studded Shoes by Betty Jackson, Leather Coat by Iris Van Herpen, Aminaka Wilmonth Trench Coat and Modernist Leather Jacket



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