Givenchy: Black is the new black

Here are half-a-dozen of our favourite trends for the new season, although we're not advising you to try them all at home...

Black is the new black

The catwalks were dripping in ink once again this season, as the fashion world went back to black. But rather than the cliché of archly strict or severe ideas, there was something much more sensual in play.

Perhaps that's in part thanks to the prevailing mood of gothic splendour that stalked the catwalks, but these women weren't wilting damsels in distress waiting to be saved; they were the heroines of their own stories. Nowhere was that more true than at Givenchy, where Riccardo Tisci's "Victorian chola girls" came styled with slicked-down baby hair, a face full of rhinestones and a pinch of punkish attitude. At Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton channelled the erotic allure of the boudoir into a collection that was artfully dishevelled and indiscriminately sexy, thanks to lashings of leather and lace. While black clothes can look flat in images, especially online, designers counteracted this by creating sumptuous levels of depth: sheer panels, rich embroideries and embellishment and liberal use of fringe – not least at Lanvin, where Alber Elbaz had the stuff positively flying – all helping to build a visual richness that meant that for autumn/winter, black is anything but boring. Rebecca Gonsalves


Alexis Forever

For spring, fashion fell in love with the Seventies – where else to take us this season, logically, but the Eighties? I mean, you could try tackling the job of making clothes for women in the here-and-now, but that's boring – at least, boring next to the ruched leather boots and skirts Jonathan Anderson offered for his label and for Loewe, or the lashings of lurex and boulder-shoulder coats zig-zagged with Alexis Carrington-style graphics at Christopher Kane. By the time Marques'Almeida offered its puffy brocade redux of the coquettish couture of Eighties darling Christian Lacroix, you knew a full-blown revival was on the cards. It's tricky, this stuff: mostly because designers have decided that, rather than sticking to the good-taste looks that have stood the test of time (Armani's sleek, understated tailoring; the game-changing bodycon pioneered by Azzedine Alaia), it's the dodgier, Dynasty-esque depths of the decade that are ripe to mine. It is, truth be told, a tough sell – at least to those old enough to remember these kinds of mistakes first time round, who tend to be the ladies with the dough to lay out for it. For the rest of us? It's a fun excuse to wear cheap lamé again, I guess, until we all come to our senses for spring 2016. Alexander Fury


A bit of scruff

A return to the softer side is always welcome at this time of year – as the cosiness of cocooning clothes becomes appealing once again. The over-size aesthetic of last winter returned but was made new with undone elements that revealed the body that lies beneath. There was a sense of sensuality to this scruffiness at Céline not only for the flashes of flesh afforded by artfully placed holes and tears, but the "reach out and touch me" siren call of textured textiles dense with ribbon, embroidery and feathers.


Texture was top of the agenda at Joseph too, where fuzzy woollen blankets trimmed with silk were wrapped and strapped around the body in a proposition that was at once simple and devilishly covetable. There were also loose-textured ribbed knits that looked like they'd been snagged on the knitting machine here and there and washed and wrung out to achieve an artful impression of insouciance. Vivienne Westwood's take on scruffy, tufty textures came slightly out of left field (of course) with oatmeal and yellow knits piled on top of grass skirts, evening dresses and woollen suiting to create a vision that was as convincingly anarchic as it was post-apocalyptic. RG


Wes Your Wardrobe

Alessandro Michele, the new creative director shaking up the multibillion-pound luxury label Gucci, said he "decided to go back to the street". He was talking about his 2016 resort show – but let's not get ahead of ourselves. It also applies to the rest of his work for the label. But what street is Michele talking about? Archer Avenue, maybe – where Royal Tenenbaum bought a house for his family, including a mink-coated Margot, whose dour doppelgängers trudged the catwalk of the designer's debut Gucci show. Wes Anderson was the auteur who directed that Tenenbaum flick, of course – and his latest movie was The Grand Budapest Hotel, which inspired Emilia Wickstead's winter collection. In fact, his most recent project was kitting out Bar Luce, the café that looks like a film set (of a café) in Prada's fashionable Fondazione in Milan. She was another designer who looked Wes-ward for autumn/winter, with her pin-neat debutantes in fondant fancy colours. The Wes wardrobe consists of kooky, ooky, old-lady-style stuff such as geometrically patterned lurex or odd-ball, off-coloured tweeds, and arcane accessories such as gloves, goggly specs, bobble hats and giant paste gems. Expect to see them cropping up everywhere in the coming months. AF

Junya Watanabe

Pleats please

In the hand of most designers, pleating is something quite pedestrian – a way of adding volume or a laid-back swish and swing to a skirt. But leave it to Junya Watanabe, a designer who has been on a winning streak for the last few seasons, to push those ideas to the extreme with his meditation on all things folded. Watanabe's use of origami folds, concertina pleats and honeycomb hives sculpted out of wool and leather pushed the boundaries between art and fashion once again and helped create a standout collection. There were also more obviously wearable permutations of pleats on show, with folds ranging from tight pin-tucks to wide knife pleats. This summer's Seventies swagger is sustained in suede and leather versions – the latter is butter-soft and caramel-hued at Gucci – and Isabel Marant's stock-in-trade bohemia was this season replete with flippy, kicky pleated miniskirts. While at Balmain, Olivier Rousteing evoked the glitz and glamour of the Eighties with his jewel-toned, shot-with-sparkles creations. Pleated canary-yellow palazzo pants might be an extreme version of the look, but it certainly introduces a new proposition of party wear for the upcoming festive season. RG

Miu Miu

The Sloane Ranger Rides Again

Call her Caroline – that is, the archetypal Sloane Ranger as nailed by Ann Barr and Peter York back in 1982, who is riding high for the autumn/winter 2015 season. Sloaniness is, of course, about far more than what you wear. But this season, plebs like you and I can buy into the look, into the chunky tweeds and valance frills of Miu Miu, or all that fabulously unflattering quilting and ruffling and pearl studding at Karl Lagerfeld's latest Chanel show, set in a French brasserie that resembled the restaurant Colbert, on Sloane Square. That's fresh Sloane grazing ground, where Carolines and Catherines (as in, Middleton, the new breed of Sloane) each show off their quilted Chanel handbags and Barbour jackets. You could see Alessandro Michele's Gucci as a further riff on the Sloane – reviving the much-loved Gucci snaffle-loafer (horsey, see). And Emilia Wickstead – dressmaker of choice to the Sloane set – is currently doing a roaring trade. You can see why Sloanes born and thoroughbred would leap at these looks, but what's the appeal to the rest of us of this fusty, fuddy-duddy stuff, stuff York himself dubbed "middle-aged fashion for young people"? Probably the light years of distance, aesthetically, between Sloane Chelsea and Made In Chelsea. AF