A lot of articles on FashionBeans recently have focused on colour and how key the introduction of different colours and tones into your winter wardrobe is likely to be over the coming months. Although I agree colour is a big feature for the fashion savvy this coming season, I have also noticed a different trend to assert itself at the top of this year’s autumn/winter fashion pyramid – the use of texture.
Just looking at the catwalk shows for A/W 2011 or simply flicking through a fashion magazine and looking at the advertising campaigns for fashion houses, it is clear to see that various different materials and fabrics are coming to the forefront; introducing a varied selection of different textures and sensations into garments – both visually and to the touch.
The use of texture on the catwalks was evident in shows in Paris, Milan, New York and London. Just thumbing through the latest edition of GQ Style shows us that both high fashion houses and high street retailers are making full use of the plethora of fabrics and textures available, and integrating these into their autumn/winter collections.
Dolce and Gabbana are featuring classic pea coats with faux fur collars and tailored blazers with velvet lapels, Hackett are including herringbone tweed waistcoats teamed with quilted country-style jackets and the Boss by Hugo Boss campaign features cropped shearling quilted jackets with chunky cable knits and faux fur trapper hats.
At high street level, the texture trend is also taking off with Topman’s most recent look book entitled ‘Made in England’ [above left] – featuring tweed blazers and overcoats with suede patches. Not to be left out, River Island’s ‘Global Nomad’ look book [above right] includes fair isle knits and trapper hats, whilst their ‘New Pioneer’ look book features chunky waffle knit cardigans and corduroy collared puffa jackets. Even House of Fraser’s double page advertorial features a plethora of texture – tweed blazers, chunky flecked-knit jumpers and cardigans, waxed Barbour jackets, fair isle pattern jumpers and puffa gilets with contrast corduroy shoulder yoke.
Texture, it seems, is everywhere – and it is a great way to add a sense of individuality to your outfit choices in an understated way – making your looks much more unique and giving them depth.
Over the next couple of days I will be giving you a quick run-down (detailed features regarding the styling of each texture are due over the next few weeks) of all the textures and fabrics which are due to be big this coming season, together with some relevant product picks from high end designers to high street retailers.
‘It is tweed’s relationship with the colours and textures of the land from which it comes and its relationship with the man or woman who has woven it, that gives it a genuine personality. Very few other cloths have that.’
Patrick Grant, Norton and Sons of Savile Row
It is probably not news to any of you that tweed is a pretty big fabric choice right now. Tweed has inundated both high fashion collections and high street stores alike, with Gant by Michael Bastian showcasing the fabric in his collection in New York Fashion Week earlier this year, followed closely by Topman Design here in London at our very own Fashion Week with their inclusion of closely-cut, tweed, double-breasted suits.
Not only does tweed look uber-stylish whilst retaining a sense of nostalgic classicism, it is also a very durable, warm and hardy fabric. English fashion designer Nigel Cabourn specialises in vintage aspects of fashion, and has a special place in his heart for tweed – in fact he has included at least one Harris Tweed item in each of his collections since 2003. He says: ‘Harris Tweed represents what people used to wear: it lasts forever, you can pass it down for generations. Harris Tweed is Britain’s Levi’s 501.’ Added to the fact (in a gloating manner) that tweed is fundamentally a British fabric that is now influencing collections and designers globally and I think it is clear to see that tweed has made a big impact on the world of fashion.
Finally, this year Harris Tweed celebrates its 100 year anniversary, so what better way to commemorate this great British fabric and show your stylish support than to adorn yourself in its roughly textured weave.
After Milan Fashion Week A/W 2011, velvet had truly established itself as the most popular fabric of the week. Collections by Giorgio Armani featured velvet blazers, Ermenegildo Zegna included tailored velvet dress suits, and Dolce and Gabbana’s collection was comprised of jackets and coats with distressed velvet lapel detailing. What this shows is that not only is velvet back with a bang – it is also a great alternative for occasions which call for a smarter appearance.
Velvet offers the opportunity for a man to stand out from the crowd of standard tuxedo-wearing penguins by offering a classic, textured alternative which is no less smart, but much more stylish. However, this doesn’t mean velvet is only suitable on smart occasions. Pair a velvet blazer with a chambray shirt, slim leg chinos and a pair of brogues for a more casual look [see look bottom centre].
I understand that velvet is one of these Marmite fabrics – either loved or hated – but if you are one of these people who can bear to touch it without breaking down, then I think it offers a great alternative to standard wool mix blazers and jackets.
In the latest edition of Esquire magazine they write that ‘A jacket in navy, bottle green or burgundy works best’ – and with their current cover star, Colin Farrell, sporting a dark green velvet jacket for part of the photo shoot, it is enough to convince us of the fact that the velvet look is one to champion.
Several high fashion designers as well as high street retailers have recently branched out to include faux fur in their menswear collections. At Paris Fashion Week A/W 2011, Louis Vuitton showcased cropped faux fur coats, whilst Dolce and Gabbana, McQueen and Topman Design included faux fur collar detailing on their jackets and coats – with Topman also featuring faux fur scarves.
I’m not completely sure how I feel about this, as I think when done correctly the overall look can be fantastic and a sense of stylish confidence automatically exudes from the wearer. But personally, although I can appreciate the attractive aesthetic of the texture of faux fur detailing, I don’t think I would have the self-confidence to drape myself in fur and march comfortably down the street.
However, I am sure there are people (including some FashionBeans readers) who disagree and cannot wait to get their hands on some faux fur garments. I think the sheer volume of fur-detailed garments available out there proves that there is definitely a market for this. Also, several of the coats and jackets which have included faux fur collar detailing have been wise enough to include them as detachable. So perhaps if you’re not sure whether the faux fur collar detail is for you – you can detach it and work up to reattaching it when your confidence allows.
One area where I think there will be a popular market for faux fur is the fur trapper hat. In fact, GQ Style recently included the faux fur trapper hat in their list of ‘essential items that every gentleman should own.’ Ermenegildo Zegna took full advantage of this emerging trend by dressing their models in faux fur trapper hats at Milan Fashion Week, and the high street has followed suit with River Island and H&M (amongst others) embracing the trend and including faux fur trapper hats in their autumn/winter collections.
If you were a big fan of the Town in Country and outdoorsy type trends last year, you may already own a trapper hat and be set-up perfectly for this season!
The popularity of shearling and its use in the lining of certain styles of jackets and coats is a concept which was as popular last year as it is this year – so great news for those of you who managed to snag one of Burberry Prorsum’s beautiful aviator jackets with shearling lining last year. Although I am sure there aren’t many of you due to the steep price tag! Still – we can all dream!
Supporting the shearling trend this year, James Long showcased some shearling-lined jackets, and Acne also have a stylish shearling bomber jacket in this season’s collection for a slightly more cutting-edge take on the trend. On a more affordable level, Zara and River Island are offering snug shearling jackets, and H&M are also currently featuring shearling-lined parkas and cropped jackets – creating a sharper, cleaner silhouette.
Shearling is quite obviously a great winter fabric due to the warmth it provides. As an added bonus, the texture of shearling is soft to the touch and also very visually arresting. One tip: I think it’s best to stick to shearling in darker, more muted tones to look more Steve McQueen than DelBoy Trotter!
Check back tomorrow on FashionBeans for a commentary on 4 more key textures which deserve a place in your wardrobe this year. Let us know in the comments below if you have invested – or will be investing – in any of the textures featured today.
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