Gold. The colour of money, the Vatican's baroque grandeur, Spandau Ballet and shopping malls in Dubai. And the shade to parade this season.
Given all-encompassing economic meltdown this might not seem the most obvious wardrobe proposition. What double-dip recession? Call it an ultra contrary flourish, then, and rest safe in the knowledge that many of the most talented fashion names thrive on just this sort of perverse mindset. If you've got it, flaunt it, the powers that be decree. Or indeed: let them eat cake.
And so, gold is everywhere. Discreetly lovely pale gold brocade lifted an otherwise monochrome palette at Giles Deacon's standout London show last February. It was almost ashen in hue. Marc Jacobs' 1940s/70s-inspired current collection offers up a burnished gold leather skirt worn with nothing more showstopping than a mustard yellow sweater. Treating this particular metallic almost like a tone-on-tone neutral is an intelligent move forward courtesy of this, the ultimate magpie designer.
It should come as no great surprise that Dolce & Gabbana have been less shy where their treatment of gold is concerned. Gold makes these particular designers think of the studied opulence of the films of Visconti, of a particularly Italianate style of glamour where gold sequins, stars and jewel-encrusted embroideries all appear in one look and are suitably gorgeous – and even more dazzling – to behold. A gold Balmain trouser suit or gold-flecked chubby is more flash trash in flavour, albeit the most exorbitantly expensive flash trash the world has yet to see. As might be expected, Dries Van Noten's take on the theme – what looks like the finest gold-leaf shimmers across the otherwise uninterrupted surface of a beautiful black tunic – is, conversely, the height of refinement
Other designers have been more fierce, taking as their starting point gold armour, for example. What better way to brighten up the winter months than by frightening the living daylights out of unsuspecting passers-by dressed in dazzling gold Gareth Pugh trapeze-line mosaic mini, with gauntlets and leggings to match? Amazing. And, let's face it, a sackcloth and ashes approach was never going to wash in a world that wholeheartedly embraces smoke and mirrors over and above, say, humility, which would just be boring, not to mention disingenuous, after all.