Kate Moss appears on the cover of the latest British Vogue wearing a Jil Sander trouser suit, so it must be fashionable. This minimalist label is now designed by Raf Simons, who has been a celebrated menswear designer for more than a decade. For his first outing in womenswear he has come up with quite the most modern tailoring, featuring cropped, narrow-shouldered jackets and equally skinny trousers. Also infinitely desirable are Lanvin's more curvaceous trouser suits and Burberry's wide-legged alternative. After seasons when wearing such a thing might have made a girl feel like the worst kind of city slicker, this staple of formal masculine dress, cut to suit the feminine form, is back with a bang. If you buy one designer outfit this season, this should be it. Otherwise, the high street is sure to oblige, but watch out for the quality of the fabric.

Animal print

Of course, the likes of Roberto Cavalli can always be relied upon to offer the world endless exotic and erotic animal prints, as worn by any Eurotrash good-time girl worth her fashion credentials. The key to fashion's current treatment of this time-honoured formula, however, is to go against its brash, flash roots and play it right down, as seen at both Marc Jacobs (why not wear your animal-print shirt with a big woolly hat, for example?) and, of course, Prada. Yes, even leopard print doesn't have to be loud or even remotely reminiscent of Bet Lynch and the Rover's Return. In fact, Italy's most influential fashion designer sees any animal references as a symbol of the untamed beast lurking deep within us all. Grrrrrrrr!


The days when dressing to impress meant slipping into a slither of body-revealing chiffon or lace are over. And not a minute too soon. All that working out is, inevitably, rather tedious, after all. For autumn/winter 2006, a girl might, not unreasonably, be expected to wear a sweater over her T-shirt over her vest, and a skirt over her trousers over her boots. True, the danger of resembling a particularly succulent sausage is ever present where this look is concerned, but, given that it figured prominently at Marc Jacobs, it's safe to presume we'll all be at it before too long. Does your bum look big in this? Most probably.


Designers' preoccupation with mid-20th century haute couture has never been so marked. As if it weren't enough to mimic the dramatic volumes of yesteryear, this season, ready-to-wear labels have turned to the venerable house of Lesage, the top Paris embroidery atelier, for embellishment. Garments such as this, by Balenciaga, and others at YSL, Dolce & Gabbana and Chanel, all have the Lesage imprint. The point being? Any high-street upstart would have its work cut out copying work of such intricacy. Do not, under any circumstances, try making one at home.


Shimmering gold leaf, liquid platinum, and more sparkle than the proverbial Christmas tree might wish for, is much in evidence this season. Suffice it to say, this is a good fashion moment for any magpies out there. Viktor & Rolf dipped garments into silver, echoing the Dutch and Belgian tradition of preserving baby shoes for eternity by so doing. Sophia Kokosalaki's little gold dresses are less precious and more glam rock in flavour; and Dolce & Gabbana used metallic brocades, frogging, tassels and gilt buckles to summon up the glory days of the Napoleonic era. Expect to see acres and acres of Lurex, lamé and the like here, there and everywhere, then, and don't be fooled into wearing it only for parties. The truly fashionable know that twinkling, these days, is designed for the daylight hours.

Big knits

Chunky-knit sweater dresses at Stella McCartney. Equally roomy salopettes (yes, salopettes) at Sonia Rykiel⿦ Well, it is autumn, and for those who prefer to keep things relaxed, an oversized piece of knitwear is the simplest form of one-step dressing imaginable. When choosing, colours should be muted - no sickeningly cheery, ultra-bright woollies, please. Black, navy, grey, olive and brown are all infinitely preferable, and legs should be covered with opaque tights and boots. More good news: you won't even need to buy a new coat for the winter. In fact, your knitwear will now doubtless be so bulky that you'd run into problems if you tried to fit anything over it. Marvellous.