AW23 fashion trends: From Burberry blankets to John Lewis leather trench coats, the top six autumn/winter styles coming to Yorkshire department stores and shops
There is nothing quite like fashion for setting, and summing up, the overriding mood of an era. After the First World War, for example, corsets and long petticoats were abandoned in favour of shorter, loose-fitting flapper dresses made in luxurious silks and decadently adorned with long beads and feathers.
The Second World War brought smart utility wear and nifty, nipped-in tailoring, replaced in the 1950s by ballerina skirts that used yards and yards of expensive satin. The 1970s were all about freedom, mind-enhancing substances and peaceful protest, with psychedelic prints, long hair and wide trousers for all.
Now, as we continue to emerge from the global pandemic, as war savages Ukraine, as food and fuel prices soar, it is no wonder that a mood of uncertainty and anxiety pervades and we seek stability, familiarity and sense, and look for pockets of hope and happiness. Therefore, fashion for AW23 is characterised by restraint and understatement, by classic and heritage design, by enduring, quality fabrics - and by little touches of luxury and detail.
On the high street, John Lewis has been one of the first major fashion retailers to showcase its autumn collections, taking inspiration for its own AND/OR and Anyday ranges from timeless British style. Look for houndstooth and herringbone, contemporary suiting and luxe leather for a mix-and-match, enduring wardrobe.
Denim is key, and jeans are now a smart wardrobe hero, to wear with tailoring, as oversized jackets and jumpers add an easy feel. White shirts rule and can be worn with everything, oversized, loose or gently fitted, buttoned-up with ties, waistcoats and blazers. Especially with jeans.
The Anyday brand brings 1990s-inspired wardrobe staples teamed with thoughtfully mood-enhancing and fun touches, with accessories and new prints, pops of colour, tactile textures, and many pieces made from recycled polyester and ecovero viscose including longline and teddy coats.
Albaray, meanwhile, presents what it calls a “purposeful collection” of pieces made to offer multiple outfit options, with denim as a foundation with its signature wide-leg jeans and a new 90s-inspired jean, with a lower rise, fitted thigh and straight-leg cut, designed to be worn extra-long. There is also a denim over-shirt and a waistcoat to wear together or as separates. Luxury comes in the form of recycled yarns with wool, alpaca, silk and merino blends.
Trousers include a pleat-front style in tweed, while outerwear draws inspiration from timeless classics, such as the trench coat, double-breasted overcoat and blazer.
Across the high street, there is a 1990s corporate feel with tonal and pinstripe suiting, wide shoulders, pleated trousers, and lots of black.
But the spirit of Dame Vivienne Westwood is evoked in vibrant tartans and corsetry shapes, so throw these into the mix to add energy and challenge the pervading mood of sense.
Here are six key trends to look out for:
Keep it real: The signature look of the season that pairs British heritage design and fabric with the understated classic style that French and Italian women have nonchalantly been perfecting and subtly updating for decades.
So, take a simple cashmere tee or a white or blue-striped shirt, pull on a pair of neat but slightly loose-fitting jeans and throw over a slightly oversized blazer in cream, navy, black or taupe, et voila. Or try a soft grey or hoodie with a pair of luxe leggings and throw over a camel-toned trench coat. Streetwise, modern, easy elegance.
Seen it all before? Yes, but detail is key so choose luxurious fabrics and expensive touches such as striking silk linings and buttons.
Black tailoring: Look for well-made long black coats that will last you for years. On the catwalks, these were sleek at Victoria Beckham, very oversized at Balenciaga, fitted with nipped-in waists (glam merry widow style) at Dolce & Gabbana, tuxe-inspired at Stella McCartney. Mix textures for interest. Team wool black oversized blazers with silky fluid black skirts. Add a pop of colour with your bag (but only if you really want to).
Gothic florals: The savage garden flourishes and brings an intriguing, moody, yet slightly decadent feel with oversized and opulent blooms taking over the borders and running away to populate the deep, dark forest. Think black backgrounds with the heads of huge camellias and lilies.
On the catwalk they were mixed with black lace at Paco Rabanne, and were darkly and mesmerisingly grungy at Burberry.Whistles, which has just opened a new shop at Victoria Gate in Leeds, has some lovely options.
Scarves and throws: On the catwalks, plaid and checked blankets and scarves were thrown over sharp tailoring at Saint Laurent and evening gowns at Giorgio Armani. Daniel Lee at Burberry gave us bright head-to-toe tonal plaid outfits topped off with a matching blanket. No need to buy a new one when you might well have one or two adorning beds and sofas at home.
Hourglass silhouette: Think classic Sophia Loren in her 1950s heyday, as was channelled by Gigi Hadid in a black Versace skirt suit, sleek, curvaceous and super-smart. Get the look using wide belts to cinch in the waist, and enhance proportions with wide shoulders and hemlines. For a softer look, go for a simple fit-and-flare dress, especially with balloon or wide sleeves, for a contemporary update.
Tonal head-to-toe: Always looks expensive, especially if done in luxurious fabrics such as leather. John Lewis’s brown trench coat is a new season must-have that will become a staple investment. Wear with brown pleat-front trousers (and note that trousers are very long when styles for models - this might not be entirely practical in real life but shoe-touching hemlines do complete the look).