Melbourne’s premier autumn-winter fashion festival VAMFF has been and gone in a whirlwind. Now that autumn has arrived, it feels appropriate to dissect the winter runway looks making their way into stores. We enlisted Melbourne stylist Jade Leung to help us bring the looks we saw stride down the runway into our daily lives.
Suiting is a power move
Surfacing across international fall and resort 2017 collections (spearheaded by Celine, Jacquemus, Balenciaga and Gucci) the pantsuit has climbed back into favour. Truthfully, it never went away, but with Phoebe Philo’s magic touch – and a new slouchy cut – the sartorial symbol of working women feels particularly relevant again, especially at a time when women’s rights are at the forefront of public conversation.
At VAMFF, local designers put their spin on the double-breasted blazer, turning the style most commonly associated with ’80s stockbrokers on its head, while styling it with oversized straw hats.
Arnsdorf’s cropped, boxy number was done in lilac-gingham; Strateas Carlucci’s unisex versions were strong shouldered and oversized; Adelaide’s Acler presented a gentlemanly blazer, which was pinched at the waist and flared at the hip; and tailoring queen Carla Zampatti transformed a classic black double-breasted blazer into a playsuit.
“A classic suit is strong and chic,” says Leung. “I think it’s all about balance when it comes to a double-breasted suit in particular. If it’s a straight and boxy jacket, keep the pants slim unless you are blessed with long enough legs to carry a flowing wide-leg pant. And, if in doubt, wear the blazer with your jeans and a white T-shirt.”
Bags are the new belts
Consider this a continuation of the bum bag movement, spawned by Gucci and Prada’s sports-luxe takes. Appearing across multiple VAMFF runways, sophisticated leather bags were casually slung around the waist. Melbourne label Sans Beast’s faux-leather hip bags were worn over flowing dresses to cinch the waist and styled with straight-cut blazers, while Poppy Lissiman’s shoulder bags were worn for utility: short and strapped across the body like a messenger bag. Leung is already a huge fan of the fashion accessory’s hands-free practicality. “If you don’t have one already, you should get one immediately,” she says. “Wear it over chunky knits in winter or a cute dress. It’s a great option to belt and outfit and have a functional bag.”
Bold colours and prints reign supreme
Liberal amounts of colour and head-to-toe prints were splashed across the runway; pink came in every shade, and shimmering emeralds, fiery reds and sunflower yellows made multiple appearances. Kaliver showed a head-to-toe mustard-velvet ensemble, and Albus Lumen presented a matching mustard jacket and skirt combo. Yeojin Bae committed to the oft-maligned leopard print, working it into several sleek cocktail dresses. “Commit to the same colour or print head-to-toe and it’s instantly dressy,” says Leung. “I love a proper twin set, but if you want to go easy, treat colour like an accessory – that way you are less likely to over think it.”
Khakis and cargo pants are making a tentative comeback
Cargo pants are no longer the domain of daggy dads gone fishing. Spotted on the Bassike line-up during the GQ menswear runway, and later at Christian Kimber’s off-site presentation, the practical pant was hoisted over a knitted jumper, drawstring waist displayed proudly.
While embellished, flared and camouflage cargo pants are a micro-trend in women’s fashion, the menswear version is sleeker: cropped at the ankle, with pockets kept to a minimum. “If you’ve been down High Street Armadale in [Melbourne] in the last six years, you’ll realise that cargo pants never went away,” says Leung. “But if you are feeling nostalgic for the ’90s style, try wearing them slightly oversized and cuffing them to show some ankle. It’s good with a simple tee and chunk knit.”
Faux-fur is the way forward
Winter coats are bigger, bolder and fluffier than ever. At VAMFF, Gold Coast-based designer Isabelle Quinn sent out arctic-style wool jackets with lapels and sleeves embellished with puffs of Mongolian fur (the material doesn’t involve skinning animals, despite its misleading name). Atoir followed suit with a voluminous yellow faux-fur style, while Kate Sylvester showed a shaved-down faux-fur jacket in forest green.
Across recent seasons, international design houses have come out with strong fur-free agendas. Late last year Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Michael Kors pledged to go fur free, following closely on the heels of Yoox Net-a-Porter’s announcement it would stop stocking fur. Playful faux furs have since sprung up in place of the real thing, both in pastels and saturated colours. “It’s all about the colour,” says Leung. “Put your sensible, conservative mind to rest.”