Wear the trousers
Trousers are the new skirts. Often, however, they are worn with a tunic and/or dress – a case of enjoying the best of both worlds which is always good. At Junya Watanabe flocked velvet dresses are worn over tailored pants borrowed from menswear; Marc Jacobs styled narrow, empire-line dresses over cropped designs for his own label and at Louis Vuitton and at Prada too the shoulders are narrow, the hemlines wide by comparison.
From left to right: Marc Jacobs, Prada
It's a wrap
Stating the obvious: it's autumn so a coat is important. This time that coat must be big. It looks lovely in its masculine incarnation at Dries Van Noten, has a military borrowed from menswear toughness at McQ, is a signature cut in soft gabardine at Yohji Yamamoto and also in wool at Maison Martin Margiela. Jean-Paul Gaultier's parkas have a luxe-utilitarian appeal and Chalayan's oversized grey wool version is trimmed with neon: to ensure any wearer will be seen in the dark? Left: Chalayan
Baroque is beautiful
The fragility of surface embellishment was once its very appeal but now the opposite is the case. Crystals the size of cough sweets feature at Miu Miu. Marni's jewelled buttons are the size of saucers. At Lanvin lace, fur, ribbons and bows are piled onto jewelled cocktail dresses.
From left to right: Lanvin, Miu Miu
The new gothic
Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci has long channeled a gothic mood and made many a well-dressed woman and indeed man about town very happy by so doing. At Gucci, Frida Giannini is of a similar frame of mind this season; Peter Copping's take at Nina Ricci is more scary fairy and sweeter for that; Karl Lagerfeld's vision for Chanel is also softer though still spooky. Finally, at Versace a predominantly dark collection is embroidered with jewelled crucifixes. Vintage.
From left to right: Nina Ricci, Gucci, Givenchy
Hell for leather
Leather is more prevalent than ever in the form of full mid-calf length skirts at Christian Dior and Hermès and total look and totally black in the totally great Loewe and Valentino collections. For Stefano Pilati's final collection for Yves Saint Laurent belted racing green and ox-blood tunics are the height of tough luxury and then there's Celine leather which we all want.
From left to right: Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent, Celine
More fairies, this time flowery ones. There's nothing more lovely than blooms printed, embroidered or appliqued in the autumn season. Valentino's are delicate in all the shade from pales pink to black. Dolce & Gabbana's are more exuberant. Christopher Kane's flowers are plain nasty in funereal flocked velvet and Giles Deacon's crushed roses on white satins and silks unashamedly romantic. At Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton's blossom-encrusted designs appear almost to be growing on models frames like otherworldly flora and fauna.
From left to right: Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, Giles Deacon
The big easy
Dare to wear clothing that is oversized in the extreme and – at Comme des Garçons and also, more discreetly, Celine – flattened. Sci-fi inspired sweatshirts with moulded sleeves at Balenciaga make for some of autumn's most covetable clothing as does voluminous wool tailoring at Haider Ackermann – most beautiful in blue. For Raf Simons' final collection for Jil Sander, the new Dior designer developed an oversized haute couture-inspired silhouette for an audience that was visibly moved by it. Acne's take is tough and utilitarian.
From left: Comme des Garçons, Haider Ackermann, Balenciaga
Punk's riotous spirit is all present, correct and as anarchic as expected in the British capital where Meadham Kirchhoff's Leigh Bowery-inspired glamour girls, Louise Gray's brilliant mix-and-match colour and pattern, Kinder's twisted prints and Sister by Sibling's leopard knits with masks and ears are loud and proud. And of course, Vivienne Westwood is still the trailblazer here.
From left to right: Meadham Kirchhoff, Louise Gray