Tap into tapestry

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For an opulent but original take on homespun fabrics, take samplers as your inspiration and drop some serious stitches, says Charlotte Owen

While baroque and ornamental might be two of this season's most hyped bywords, there's no denying that pulling them off requires a certain élan. Tapestry offers the best of both in a reassuringly wearable fashion.

In a sea of black, metallic and glittering decoration, patches of tapestry cropped up in the most unexpected of places. With a couturier's attention to detail and lashings of embellishment, creative director Olivier Rousteing reworked Balmain's signature Parisian silhouette, building an ornamental orgy of swirling sequins, quilted beading and perfectly formed pastoral tapestries featuring blooming roses and tweeting birds. Meanwhile, in Milan, tapestry also took a leading role. With a characteristic seasoning of sensuality and decadence, tapestried one-pieces at Dolce and Gabbana offered a welcome, if wistful, slice of Sicilian summer in an otherwise monochromatic collection of lacquered gold and lightweight lace.

These snippets of homespun craftsmanship bring a lightness of touch, a burst of zinging colour amid the dense fabrics and shadowy hues of an autumnal wardrobe. This is chintz but not as you know it: modern, updated and distinctly urbane.

This skater-skirted party dress from Warehouse offers a feminine touch in a style that's simple and contemporary enough for those averse to anything too vintage in feel. It will serve daytime duty too, layered over a denim shirt and worn with boots for a grungier interpretation of the trend. For something more slouchy and informal, try an all-over tapestry bomber jacket.

If floral doesn't work for you, go global: bring a Middle Eastern flavour with this season's take on traditional paisley or South America-inspired geometrics.

And don't forget the accessories: they're less about the deceptively expansive carpetbag immortalised by Julie Andrews' Mary Poppins, and more about dainty handbags, colourful totes and simple pumps.

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