Fashion: The return of the shoulder pad

Another fashion renaissance at the shows and on the party circuit: the return of the shoulder pad. For those non-believers who remain uninspired or frankly repulsed by the ubiquitous 1980s revival – well, there's nothing to ease the pain. The second coming is upon us and the shoulder pad shall be its foremost prophet.

Spotted atop the scapulae of stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Roisin Murphy, the S-Pad (to those in the know) is a way of defining oneself in uncertain economic times, last seen when Power Women were struggling with the glass ceiling and listening to Sade. It's a way of showing you mean business. Martin Margiela – always years ahead of everyone else – has long been a proponent of the statement shoulder; his wide-set blazers are one fashion currency that will never lose their value. Murphy is a known acolyte, and directional diva Lady GaGa's pointy look owes much to the Belgian designer's aesthetic.

This is not just a summer fling: the isosceles silhouette is all over the autumn catwalks too, from padded knits at Marc Jacobs to fullback-style shift dresses at Topshop Unique's London show last week. Keep this look as strung-out as possible; extreme tailoring and slimline pieces are essential. Pay close attention also to overall outline: the new S-Pad is born of body-con and sculpturalism, not out of a baggy homage to the Countess of Wessex.

Recent snaps of the Duchess of York with Roberto Cavalli in Milan showed a conspicuous lack of her trademark look. It just goes to show, that if Fergie's working a trend, the rest of us probably shouldn't be. Maybe that's why it took shoulder pads so long to come back into fashion.