PUBLISHED: 08:45 08 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:20 20 February 2013
But colours can help make autumn hot....
Forties' and Fifties' femininity
Seventies style updated
traditional English fabrics
art inspired prints
wet look fabrics
checks and plaids
pintucks and ruffles
chic biker looks
double face fabrics
EARLY BIRD BUYS
wide leg pants with a grown-on waist
short swing or trench coat in a bright colour
over-sized wide or extra long airy knit
printed silk blouse
puff sleeved anything!
minimalist pinafore dress or unstructured smock
neat zip-up biker jacket
tulip skirt with hourglass shaping
your favourite shade of purple
ink blue cocktail dress
ultra fine knitwear
The jury is already out. It is not only out, but has also left the building and booked into a hotel for a few weeks to deliberate the burning question for autumn fashion: IS black the new black?
And what will happen with purple, midnight blue and chocolate brown? Some might have you believe that fashion has fallen out with grey, but autumn collections belie the notion.
Before such prophecies of apparent darkness set your teeth on edge (and the ridiculousness of the Black Question makes you wonder if it's all worth it!), take a breath and relax, because the new season will also bring with it lush prints, jewel colours and gorgeous finishes on fabrics that lift even the deepest, darkest classics to a new level of wearability.
Ask a serious fashionista about black and they will assure you, poker-faced, that it really is a hot property for the coming season. While black has never declined enough to make a comeback, and it doesn't go away whatever the season, it does get reworked. This time with a glossy wet-look sheen, ultra matt in luxurious yarns and totally chi-chi in shapely tailored suits.
Black will have its place, but don't let it distract you from the fabulous gems and new looks coming your way. And pay close attention to a trio of runners-up jostling for position as wardrobe cornerstones - grey, navy and chocolate. Greys still vary enormously but look best in businesslike charcoals and gleaming pewter. Navies are as dark as midnight and, like the greys, turn up the fashion barometer in silky tops and dresses. Chocolate - note not merely brown - is a colour that requires the most careful selection and shares a friendliness that black always lacks.
Leading the field in the Seriously Hot Stakes is purple, a sophisticated choice that ranges from a regal richness to intense magenta, literally glowing in soft finish fabrics like mohair, cashmere and suede. If that's not bright enough, seek out shocking pink, pillarbox red, electric blues or leafy greens, and add a dash of mustard or quirky canary yellow.
Though, as always with colour, the effect depends on how much it of you wear and where... Autumn collections are largely dominated by plain colours, but they are anything but solid, being softened by texture or translucence and mixing tones of the same shade together. Patterns are inspired by the uniformity of checks and tartans or the sweeping brushwork of artistic prints.
If you cannot live without a new season colour but know in your heart of hearts that it doesn't do you any justice, keep it away from your face and enjoy it accessories, especially shoes or a new bag. The flipside is that if the latest collections deliver THE version of a colour that brightens your eyes, literally and with the desire to buy, then seize the moment.
And if during the summer you have slipped into dressing in neutral colours, but it still feels like cheating because it's all so simple to co-ordinate, set aside your guilt and enjoy a similar, but new experience. Neutral knitwear.
These are ultra fine and luxurious, or voluminous in scale and loftiness - designed to be light and close to the skin or wrap around loosely in a spectral hug.
As usual, it's all in the detail. There is a body conscious theme to autumn that delights in special finishes and finishing touches. Fabrics glisten, undulate with texture, fold into the finest pleats or squiggle into ruffles. Herringbones and tweeds are traditional, slinky shiny black is futuristic, beads and gemstones are for dressing way, way up, and twisted, crumpled looks for dressing down. Sleeves are puffed or batwing, collars cowl, jumpers are cabled and blouses have high necks or floppy pussy bows.
There will be drape without weight, warmth without clutter, and a new softness is coming...