Autumn/winter 2018: The top 10 trends you need to know now

Winter is coming and it's time to embrace the new mood., Stephanie Smith looks at 10 key trends for AW18.

RED ALERT: Red gets textural for autumn, as seen here modelled by Bella Hadid at the Roberto Cavalli show in Milan. Layer matt and shine red and experiment with shapes and length to get the look right. If you see anything in red snake leather, snap it up. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

How we dress reflects how we live as well as what is happening in the world around us. We are living in often turbulent times of change, social, political, environmental and cultural, with an agenda dominated by gender diversity and fluidity, #me too and female empowerment, issues surrounding homeland, global participation, around personal and national identity, not forgetting the new anti-plastic revolution.

Fashion responds with a noisy but sophisticated exploration of both our heritage and our future. Traditional tweeds and checks in new tones and tailored shapes can be worn in unison for an elegant head-to-toe look, or as clashing separates, celebrating their difference. There’s a major trend for super-sizing, as more equals more, boosting our physical presence or maybe offering protection and cover against the buffering political climate.

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The trend towards non-compartmentalised life, with work and leisure spilling into each other, continues apace, and so fashion increasingly comes up with a fluid wardrobe of pieces that work on and off-duty, around the clock.

ATHLEISURE EDGE: Sports-inspired dressing moves away from the track and the gym and instead gets the luxe treatment, pairing the season's '70s spice-meets-neutrals hues and teaming faux fur and silks with fluid easy trousers, as with this look from Hobbs. Coat, £199; top, £139, trousers, £129; boots, £179.

Animal print reminds us that we are a part of the natural world, that we can be wild and roar when we need. Shiny and transparent fabrics indicate futuristic leanings, albeit confusingly at odds with ecological concerns. But then, it’s a season of contrasts and contradictions. Be ready for anything. Here are the trends:

HAUTE HARITAGE: When it comes to new season tailoring, it's all about the checks and the tweed, whether you go for a matching look, like this one from Cordings, or mis-match two different checks for a chicly eccentric appeal. Wincanton jacket, £315; trousers, £159; hat, £65. All at Cordings in Harrogate and at
KING-SIZED KNITS: Jumpers and cardigans go huge for the autumn, and if it's in a chunky and unusual cable design, so much the better. This take from the Faustine Steinmetz autumn/winter show at London Fashion Week brings in '80s power shoulders too. Big knits work best with pencil or fluid midi skirts and with slim-leg trousers and jeans. Isabel Infantes/PA Wire
THE NEW BOHEMIA: Refined craft work, beautiful patchwork, fringing, fur, feathers and embellishment, plus a gorgeous blending of texture and colour, elevate hippy chic to a new global traveller class. This is how Etro presented its haute hippy look in Milan. (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)
MISMATCHED WINTER FLORALS: Botanicals are no longer just for spring and summer, as dark and bold backdrops provide a dramatic environment for lush, heady blooms. Wear floral prints layered, like this look from Studio by Preen floral print wrap puffer coat, £89; floral print long sleeve midi dress, £59. At Debenhams.
ROAR TALENT: It's a jungle out there as animal print roams wild on the catwalks and through to the High Street. Leopard and zebra are both on the prowl. Wear together for maximum impact or keep it decadently demure, as with this lovely leopard print midi dress, £159, at Anthropologie, at Victoria Gate in Leeds and at
HUGE BAGS: Most things are supersized for the new season, but especially bags, as seen here at the Victoria Beckham collection show, on the runway in New York. There are huge bags of all shapes and sizes on the High Street (check out Kurt Geiger) Unless you're tall, keep the rest of your look streamlined and simple. (Picture courtesy of Victoria Beckham via AP)
FAWN MEETS YELLOW (AND ORANGE AND BURGUNDY): There's a decided '70s twist to colour for the new season, with fawn, beige, mustard, russet orange and bordeaux all coming into play. Fawn acts as the perfect foil for the brighter tones, as in this look from John Lewis & Partners. The oversized double-breasted coat is £199, and the trousers are £59.
SOPHISTICATED SEQUINS: Bling goes seriously upmarket, spotted on the runways at Temperley, Saint Laurent and Elie Saab. Look out for full-on sequin dresses of all lengths, or keep it contained with a sequin pencil, like this one coming to Jaeger. Keep the rest of the look, and your hair and make-up, on the minimalist side to avoid the pitfall of trying too hard.