When it comes to keeping out the cold, it’s easy to reach for a timeless style, such as a navy pea coat or camel-coloured mackintosh. To be in fashion this season, however, means putting aside trusty staples and adopting a more dramatic look. From New York to Milan, designers have embraced the extravagant this season, proving that outerwear can make just as much of a statement as what lies beneath.
Demna Gvasalia presented his first collection as creative director of Balenciaga this season, fusing the edgy, street-inspired aesthetic for which he has become known at Vetements with the DNA of this illustrious fashion house. When it came to outerwear, Gvasalia showcased one of the biggest trends of the season: oversized silhouettes. His voluminous, sporty jackets came in strong colours and were worn insouciantly shrugged off the shoulder. At Vetements, a similarly sporty and slouchy aesthetic prevailed, though here the silhouette was further exaggerated, with huge jackets falling far below the waist.
Padded jackets in every conceivable shape and size were an unexpected phenomenon this season. At Balenciaga, there were outsized puffer jackets on the catwalk, some worn off the shoulder, others gathered at the neck and with hoods. Acne, too, adopted the off-the-shoulder look, while Marques Almeida’s jackets featured exaggerated shoulder pads. Print and colour were also key. Carven’s padded creations looked sweet in soft pastels, while Vivienne Westwood’s came in glamorous gold. At Emilio Pucci, one standout jacket featured a mountain scene picked out in vivid colours, the perfect piece to give a fashion edge to après-ski looks. At Alexander McQueen, a quilt-like jacket was realised in beautiful softly coloured florals and edged with fur, the juxtaposition of strong shapes and delicate adornments offering a daring choice for eveningwear.
If a padded jacket doesn’t suit your eveningwear ethos, opt for another of the season’s standouts: the cape. Erdem’s dark floral versions provided romance with an edge. Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen both made cases for floor-length styles. Dramatic black swirls picked out with sequins adorned the dark grey woollen creations at Marc Jacobs, while Alexander McQueen’s delicate sheer capes matched stunning evening gowns, both decorated with jewels that brought to mind the stars in the night sky. Nor were capes reserved for after hours. Dior’s capelets added texture to simple silhouettes, while at Chanel capes were knitted and brightly coloured, bringing a modern edge to the brand’s iconic two-pieces.
Pops of colour
It wasn’t just boldly shaped outerwear that stood out on the catwalks; elsewhere designers used striking colours, embellishments and unusual materials to update classic styles. At Miu Miu, designer Miuccia Prada opted for an eclectic look, with one eye-catching coat combining strong patterns, candy pinks and hot reds, bejewelled shoulders and even sewn-on patches. The experimentation continued at Prada, with coats and jackets featuring gold jacquard, artistic prints and heavy-duty belts. A similarly playful mood was felt at Dolce & Gabbana, where cocoon coats were embroidered with lifelike kittens and finished with appliqué bows.
MSGM proved the power of brights with its attention-grabbing coral coat, complete with pillarbox-red belt and canary yellow stole. Gucci’s bright yellow fur coat was paired with the same shade head to toe, providing a look that’s only for the brave. Leather, which featured heavily across the catwalks, was also given the paintbox treatment. Both rich navy and soft sky-blue leather brought something different to macs at Céline. Courrèges’s colourful leather jackets were cropped at the waist, Max Mara made a case for sunshine yellow, and Valentino’s blood red coats had a gothic edge.
Patent leather was another huge hit, with brands including Burberry and Proenza Schouler updating enduring styles with this high-shine material. But when it came to leather, the biker jacket was the frontrunner this season, featuring in a swathe of collections. Marc Jacobs and Balenciaga both stuck to the usual black, but added newness with exaggerated proportions and silhouettes. Courrèges and Chloé used splashes of colour to refresh the style. Etro’s signature boho prints took the form of embroidery across the body of its bikers, with sleeves and lapels left in black leather. And Fausto Puglisi’s cream-coloured leather was enhanced with swirling embellishments on the sleeves, and finished with a smattering of studs in various shapes and colours across the lapels.
This season’s outerwear offerings from the world’s top designers include dramatic pieces for every taste and occasion, proving that falling temperatures are no barrier to stylishness.