Fall into the Fall with style

Justina Blakeney
September 22, 2005

The fall fashions this year look good on Florence:  the soft, natural colour palate of the season against the cool, grey stone.  A stroll down Via Roma is sure to get you in the mood for Autumn.  The brocade coats showing off in the windows at Miucca Prada’s Miu Miu look like falling maple leaves - with striking reds and soft oranges interwoven with gold and silver threads.


In the fashion capitals of the world, fashion lovers begin fall on a melancholy note: Victorian details, balloon skirts, Mod silhouettes, optical prints, and black black black is what this autumn has in store for trend followers.  The mood of the season is sombre and reflective... and no wonder after a year full of strange and tragic disasters. The looks for this fall are sophisticated and a little tattered around the edges.  Take note of Dior’s oversized, striped cashmere sweater that is covered in runs.  The idea is a revisited 60s optical look, one that is decaying and slowly falling apart.  


You can expect to see Victorian touches like lace, small buttons, high necks, pleats, ruffles, lots of velvet and dark, feminine details.  The season’s look has been called “grim chic,” “gothic chic” and “Victorian chic.” The balloon skirt is back, and this time designers have shortened the classic to mid-thigh length, a fun alternative to the high-waisted pencil skirt -- but beware, the balloon skirt doesn’t work on all figures!  Why not wear it with one of your granny’s old sweaters?  The hand-knit, home-made ones are always the best, but when in need the Blumarine alternative is a good one! However, if you are on a budget, Stella McCartney is designing a 40-piece line for H&M that will be out in November - and Stella knows knitwear.


The sharpest of military attire has also made its way back to the runway:  brass buttons, cargo pockets, and slick details stolen from yesteryear’s army generals were used repeatedly by designers like Dior and Undercover.  


Don’t be afraid to recreate the Runway looks from Kenzo by Antonio Marras and mismatch prints. Take a preppy Brit girls’ plaid and wear it with a geometric print scarf, or a floral blazer.  Don’t be afraid to mismatch textures either... wear layers of silk, lace, cashmere, and wool... just make sure it’s all black!


In and around Florence, you can expect to see a lot of fitted black jackets and dresses that fall right below the knee, held together with a high waisted belt like the ones Balenciaga’s Nicholas Gesquière thought up for this fall... but please do feel free to spice up this season’s gloomy attire with some fun, colourful accessories – start off with the soft, stripy scarves by Burberry that are garnished with Pom Poms and finish off the look with the new Proenza Schouler fuzzy beanie.  Bags this season have a vintage feel ... tapestry and velvet are the materials to look for, and your accessories should have a nostalgic Russian flavour:  golden threads, rich floral and paisley tapestries.  Give your outfit a lift with layered necklaces... pearls and other little jewels that look great over those dainty knits and high collared, Victorian-inspired tops.  Dress your feet in round toe mid-height heels... like the ones with that sweet bow, by Marc Jacobs, or for a more casual look, go for the conservative and sexy flats by Chloe.

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