Accessories - You can leave your hat on
Don't be shy when it comes to accessories this season. These statement pieces are set to inspire all others. Gemma Hayward reports
Finishing touches for autumn 2012 are dark, commanding and cartoonish; severe but playful – in a don't-mess-with-me sort of way.
At Prabal Gurung, models wore cat's eye sunglasses by Linda Farrow Project – an extreme update of the Fifties-style eyewear seen over the summer, but in this rendering deconstructed and given wavy edges to soften the graphic frames against the face. Perfect for sheltering behind in wintry sun.
Meanwhile, the sci-fi smoky-glassed visors by Alexander McQueen are the most statement showpiece to have gone into production since the label's sky-high armadillo shoes. Part-cyborg, part Olympic velodrome, it's just the ticket to top off the new season's Star Trek-meets-sports luxe look.
Jewellery-wise, go goth or go glam. Leather accessories have been in the style doldrums, thanks to the ubiquitous 50 Shades of Grey, but Lanvin's black leather panther choker is a suitably fierce and scarily sophisticated return to form, embellished as it is with jewelled eyes and mouth. Grrr. But if glitz is more to your taste, Dolce & Gabbana's opulent, stranded gold necklace evokes all the arcane and baroque elegance of the Italian duo's heritage, dripping with pearls, curlicues, roses and rosary-esque beading.
Feet come into sharper focus too, but shoes are anything but razor-like. Instead, think clump: Acne's elasticated slip-on brogues in high-shine and slightly sinister black leather are key to this autumn's "ugly" trend, while at Balenciaga Nicholas Ghesquiere mixed the Eighties with out-of-this-world references to create a retro-futurist shoe: a wedge and kitten heel combined in the form of an Edwardiana ankle boot. Phew.
Print will play an important role in your wardrobe this season, but it shouldn't stop at your ankles. Follow Mrs Prada's example (for a change) and take it to your shoes as well, mis-matching the patterns on your stompy heels to the swirling lino-graphs on your painfully hip trouser suit.
Even wardrobe staples aren't immune to an overhaul, as at Givenchy, where designer Riccardo Tisci gave the timeless riding boot an altogether more functional makeover, affixing leather gaiters to knee-high wedge-heels, upping the dominatrix factor considerably but in a characteristically unconventional way.
Finally, pay attention to what is hanging on your arm. The It-bag is dead, but long live its blinged-up cousin, the statement bag. At Miu Miu, classic doctors' bags were streakily marbled in incongruous and sludgy colours; Chanel's clutch, meanwhile, looked more like it had been rough-hewn from the wall of a quartz mine, topped off with a hunk of semi-precious masquerading as a clasp. And Marc Jacobs' elegy to old-fashioned elegance at Louis Vuitton included a glittering and sequinned structured handbag in the shape of the house's famous monogram print. At the show, Jacobs provided porters to carry these for his models, but you may have to tote your own.
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