The smart guide to sales: Shop next season, this season
Why trawl the autumn/winter sales when spring has officially begun? Because there’s treasure in them there rails, argues Alexander Fury. As January 2014 hits, here’s a guide to getting next season now, for less
The end-of-season sales – those all-out free-for-alls that end up as a cross between a triathlon, a jumble sale, and an especially vigorous episode of Supermarket Sweep – aren’t conducive environments for thinking clearly about what you really, really want. And, more importantly, what you need for the coming spring/summer season.
But even while wading through the end-of-year cast-offs, there’s the potential to uncover treasure amid what, generally, is a 70-per-cent-markdown load of tat. Those treasures are the few items that, somehow, predict a few of the key trends that are to come. The pieces that give a hint of next season, this season, available now at a fraction of the price.
Of course, a few are stalwart style-staples. Shirts and shirt-dresses rarely fall entirely out of favour. For spring, they’re enjoying something of a renaissance, with everyone from Valentino, to Alexander Wang’s Balenciaga, to Raf Simons at Dior offering their take on the crisp button-down. Topshop’s high-end Unique line got in on the act early with an asymmetric silk shirt-dress that gives Dior’s asymmetric numbers a run for their money, in a springy pastel blue.
Florals are another fixture: Mary Katrantzou, Christopher Kane and Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu line all bloomed gloriously for next spring/summer. This time, the trick is that blooms are dark, broody and moody. Nothing sweet about them. Again, Unique came up trumps with blown-out, pixelated peony prints, Asos has them in acidic shades, and River Island knitted them into sullen intarsias.
Deluxe sports – more Chanel double-C than JD – is a designer favourite. We’ve seen it take many forms, and it’s reared a baseball-capped head once again next season. Prada, Gucci and Pucci all nailed it in Milan, as did Marc Jacobs in New York, mixing converse with embroidered sweaters. Emma Cook’s satin-panelled autumn/winter sweatshirt (a snip at 50 per cent off) perfectly hits the mix of couture-feel fabric with sportswear detailing.
Raf Simons’ autumn/winter Dior haute couture collection was inspired by world travellers, but the African-influenced section seems to have jutted out, chiming with later spring offers from Phoebe Philo’s Celine and Sarah Burton’s Alexander McQueen collections.
The choice terminology is “tribal” – which leaves the playing-field open to interpretation. Clashing animal prints, raw edges, chunky jewellery and beading. High end or high street, they’re all available now and will carry over to spring with ease.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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