Victorian cape, £1,290, from WilliamVintage,; hat, £1,290, by Stephen Jones, 36 Great Queen Street, London WC1, 020-7242 0770; gloves, £390, by Simone Rocha, at Dover Street Market, 17-18 Dover Street, London W1, 020-7518 0680; blouse, £29.99, by River Island, / Walter Hugo and Zoniel


There's something perverse about dressing entirely in black for summer. Then again, Marc Jacobs is a profoundly perverse designer. “I don’t know any woman who wears head-to-toe white,” he stated before his spring/summer 2014 own-label show, an ode to Victoriana at its inkiest and most heavily-embellished.

The mood played out again to close both the season and his tenure at Louis Vuitton: not only the models, but the entire show venue smothered in black, like Victorian horses adorned with funereal plumes. In between, other designers picked up on the morose mood, harkening back to the elaborate embellishment of the nineteenth century, and the very modern notion of the LBD.

There’s something eminently practical and wearable about black – it was a colour redolent of rebellion for Coco Chanel, while each season Cristobal Balenciaga created a black dress with his own hands, summarising his often revolutionary changes. In 1989, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons turned it into the colour of fashion – or at least of fashion’s favourite epithet - when she pronounced “Red is the new black.”

This season, black is the new black, tinged (and, in the case of Stephen Jones’ towering peacock-feather headpiece, quite literally singed) with the grandeur of the Victorian era. Dress in the originals (courtesy of WilliamVintage), the high street versions, or Louis Vuitton’s finest finery.


Photographs: Walter Hugo and Zoniel

Styling: Alexander Fury

Model: Hazel Townsend at Storm, and Leila Beasley

Hair: Franco Vallelonga at Era Artist Management using Oribe

Make-up: Kenny Leung at Era Artist Management using Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

Leila Grooming: Simone