Five autumn-winter fashion trends that show maximalism is new buzzword

Minimalism gets the flick as bold colour combinations, beading, fringes and skintight jumpsuits rule autumn-winter collections

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 September, 2015, 10:54am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 September, 2015, 1:04pm

After several seasons of neutral colour palettes and tailored separates, minimalism is well and truly over on most runways. Designers decided to flex their creative muscles for the autumn-winter 2015-16 collections with an emphasis this time round on innovative yet desirable pieces that you will want to keep forever - not because they are classic, but because they are fresh and unexpected. Here's our cheat sheet to autumn's top looks and how to wear them.

The new Victorian

Nineteenth-century Victoriana is given a 21st-century overhaul this season, complete with lace, frills and black. Riccardo Tisci led the way at Givenchy where he clashed classic Victoriana with modern Mexicana by way of California. His conservative red and black velvet dresses were followed by beautifully tailored peplum coats and dresses covered in jet beading.

Thom Browne also proposed his own version of 19th century glamour with long embellished coats and floor-length skirts. At Alexander McQueen high-necked tiered dresses were made from sheer organza and came covered in red rosettes and cascades of petals for a more romantic take on the trend.

The easiest way to work the look is to invest in a frilled collar blouse (try Sonia Rykiel or Altuzarra) and pair it with a maxi skirt, as seen at Marc Jacobs. And while black lace is the fabric of choice, opt for sexier shades such as red and purple, as seen at Erdem. Just remember to leave the dark lips and period drama hair at home.

The 1970s

Everyone has been flirting with the 1970s for a while, from Nicolas Ghesquiere at Louis Vuitton to Clare Waight Keller at Chloé. This season looks varied, from folksy, hippie chic to uptown glamour, as proposed by Diane von Furstenberg in New York, who sent out her infamous wrap dress (a '70s favourite) in black and white. In London, Christopher Bailey created a fun-loving collection of patchwork, patterns and prints featuring fringed capes, crochet inserts on coats and floral printed smocks.

Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks was the ideal muse for Chloé's collection of pleated velvet dresses, sheer maxis paired with waistcoats and corduroy dungarees, accessorised with trailing neck scarves.

If there's one '70s relic that you must own it's a pair of flares. Make it modern by matching it with a long tunic as seen at Giambattista Valli. Go for a solid colour and steer clear of psychedelic prints. Patchwork capes and ponchos are also fun to experiment with because they are so versatile. Round off your closets with a Mod-style dress in super soft leather.

The Club Kids

Not a '70s girl? There's always the following decade to choose from. While many designers focused on the decade's exaggerated silhouettes (Balmain's one-shoulder dresses were a case in point), others paid homage to those '80s styling details that make you cringe and smile at the same time.

J.W. Anderson for example sent out mod Club kids wearing colour block knits and geometric earrings, while Bottega Veneta's dresses came with shoulder pads and in electric shades of blue and green. Pleated lamé skirts and dresses were another popular look as popularised by Gucci, Christopher Kane and Loewe.

Punk, another '80s favourite, also made a comeback at Saint Laurent as models stalked the catwalks in ripped leggings and '80s prom-style dresses, including a pink tutu that brought to mind '80s film Pretty in Pink. Although Balenciaga's collection paid tribute to its founder's couture shapes, many came accented with punky details such as grommets and staples. Sequinned dresses at Rodarte brought to mind '80s TV show Solid Gold.

Perhaps the most modern rendition of '80s chic appeared at Miu Miu where Miuccia Prada expertly styled her ruffled yoke blouses (Princess Diana-style) with full printed skirts, crystal floral jewellery and patent shoes. That's an '80s look we wouldn't mind copying.

Let's talk about sex Sex was a hot topic this season both on and off the catwalks. At Gucci, Alessandro Michele blurred gender lines for his first collection and sent out women in masculine tailoring and men in ruffled blouses.

Things only continued to heat up in Paris. Alber Elbaz accessorised his conservative dresses at Lanvin with leather harnesses fastened around the torso while McQueen's cropped leather tops and bustier dresses bordered on S&M. A floor-length black vinyl coat took centre stage at Maison Margiela. The fabric reappeared again at Dior where Raf Simons created a collection inspired by animal instincts - cue laser-cut patent leather skirts, second-skin jumpsuits and thigh-high vinyl boots.

The breasts were brought into focus at Céline as Phoebe Philo sent out knitted tops complete with Madonna-style conical busts. Louis Vuitton and Stella McCartney showed peekaboo knits that revealed skin poking out from underneath.

In the real world it's all about creating the right balance. Choose a skirt with a dangerously high slit (à la Altuzarra) or a corset to wear with tailored trousers. A lingerie-inspired slip dress will also prove indispensable and can be layered for a multitude of looks.

Bling ring Designers piled it on this season, not just with layers but with embellishments, too.

Simple silhouettes were amped up with metallic fabrics from lamé to brocade.

The latter was a popular choice for dresses at Stella McCartney - hers looked as though they were slipping off the shoulders - while Louis Vuitton's silver rendition was almost futuristic.

Because there was so much bling on show, craftsmanship also came into the spotlight. Chanel's sequinned skirts resembled the tiled flooring of a typical Parisian brasserie while Valentino showed off the workmanship of its ateliers with black gowns decorated in silver filigree embellishments depicting a nightscape. Dries Van Noten injected his drab military garb with peacock sequins, embroidered Chinoiserie dragons and 3D scarab-shaped paillettes.

Head-to-toe sequins were another popular look as seen at Nina Ricci and Marc Jacobs. Riccardo Tisci was crowned King of bling when he sent out models covered in face jewels and crystal nose rings.

While most women tend to reserve bling for the evening, it's fun to incorporate some glitz into your daily wardrobe. It's all about contrasts so pair a sequinned skirt with a polo neck a la Sonia Rykiel or throw on a brocade jacket for the day. Complete the look with costume jewellery and you are ready to shine.

Eight fashion must-haves for your autumn-winter wardrobe

Puffed sleeved top: a nod to the 1980s courtesy of Miu Miu, Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton.

Reefer jacket: this popular military-style jacket made its debut on the catwalks this season.

Floor duster coat: add drama with a floor-length cover-up.

Knit dress: opt for long and lean shapes as seen at Céline.

A ribbed knit: update this classic with bell sleeves or fur.

Colourful velvet trousers: everyone was doing them, from Pucci to Armani.

A fluffy coat: white shearling was a popular choice as seen at Louis Vuitton. The bigger the better.

Mega jewels: think heirloom-inspired pieces such as chandelier earrings and statement necklaces for a bling-worthy look.