Stating the obvious… For many years now, dresses have been fashionable. Now, though, it is the turn of trousers to dominate. Yes, it's that simple. And, to this fashion commentator's mind at least, it comes not a minute too soon. It all started with Miuccia Prada, whose signature collection shown in Milan earlier this year teamed every look with a pair.
The seismic nature of this change was only emphasised by the fact that this is a fashion talent so wedded to the skirt that she herself has worn little else for the past decade, generally with a shirt and/or cardigan should anyone out there be interested. You know you all are. At the 2012 Costume Institute Ball in New York, however, which opened the Prada and Schiaparelli: Impossible Conversations exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in that city in May, Prada put her money where her mouth is. She wore a silk brocade tunic/trouser combination of her own design that looked all the more remarkable given the floor-sweeping, gown-heavy, red-carpet context.
Moving on to Louis Vuitton – LV designer Marc Jacobs is another trailblazer par excellence – and for this autumn show too models descended a lovingly recreated early 20th-century steam train wearing vaguely directoire-line coats, tunics, jackets and dresses, finished with jewelled buttons and embroideries, and all worn over trousers cropped at the ankle.
Anyone attempting to resist the influence of these two great names must finally be forced into submission by Raf Simons' debut Christian Dior couture collection held in Paris this month. In an arena better known for dresses – from those aimed squarely at grand entrances to more that are the preserve of the lady who lunches – this was a gesture of quite radical proportions, reminiscent of YSL's first outing of Le Smoking for women almost half a century ago. Fifty years on and what could be a more modern solution to evening wear than a pair of perfectly fitted black tailored trousers teamed with a jewel-encrusted little bell top?
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