This season designers did their best to play with our minds, taking us time travelling into the past as they try to capture the spirit of the future.
At Miu Miu the trend diviner, Miuccia Prada channeled the fifties, Maria Grazia Chiuri had the sixties on her mind at Christian Dior, the seventies arrived at Ferragamo, the eighties at Balenciaga and Alexander Wang was fixated on the nineties.
The over-arching theme, no matter what decade you were drawn to was one of power. Rather than appearing on the runway as damsels in distress, models were in charge, striding with purpose in garments that offered protection.
To help you find your sartorial strength we journey through the years of fashion month to find the trends worth embracing in the coming season. Step back in time and prepare to move forward.
New York Fashion Week
The nineties have returned with a futuristic twist, courtesy of sleek noir looks straight from the science fiction mindbender The Matrix.
The key ingredients for a more modern Matrix are razor-sharp silhouettes, nipped coats with a high gloss finish and mid-calf hemlines. Finally there’s plenty of black because this is New York Fashion Week after all.
If you’re not ready to invest in a leather trench coat dip your toe into the trend by embracing the return of leather-look leggings.
Leave the logos at home because the sweaters at New York Fashion Week exuded simple, homespun chic, whether in professorial argyle at Michael Kors or chunky scarlet knits at Oscar de la Renta.
The sweater has been upgraded from winter warmer to evening essential, being paired with voluminous skirts for a slouchy approach to sensuality.
It’s a modern update to Sharon Stone’s 1998 white-shirt and Vera Wang evening skirt at the Oscars, with far less ironing involved. Think of it as your chance to turn up the heat while staying warm.
Animal print for autumn/winter is almost as shocking as florals for spring but the leopard looks in New York this season belong in your trophy wardrobe.
Among the blankets at Calvin Klein Collection, Raf Simons’ pussy print looked wonderfully wearable with Victoria Beckham adding the style staple to her utilitarian collection.
Adopt it as your alternate to the stuffy trenchcoat or add a dose of disco glam courtesy of Tom Ford’s patchwork approach.
The designers of London Fashion Week are giving you permission to shine. Sequins were scattered across statement evening dresses and trouser suits. Perhaps labels are hoping that the arrival of Meghan Markle at Kensington Palace will add some Hollywood glamour to the streets of Knightsbridge.
This was more of a 1930s approach to sequins, with shine appearing on layered ruffles at Erdem and power-woman gowns with strategic cut-outs at Temperley.
The trick here is no restraint. Don’t conceal your sequins but prepare to shine from top to toe.
While leopard print is a staple of New York, tartan is always expected down the runway of London Fashion Week.
This season tartan is more preppy than punk, surfacing on high-waisted pants, military jackets and even evening dresses.
Tartan offers far more punch than the muted checks currently saturating the world of tailoring, especially when word with the confidence of Simone Rocha’s collection, which thankfully stopped short of bagpipes.
As Christopher Bailey heads over the rainbow and out of the top job at Burberry, it’s only fitting that his finale was a kaleidoscope of colour with a fair dose of LGBTQI pride.
The rainbow flag was more than just colourful window dressing with the British luxury label donating money to gay rights organisations.
At Ashish gay pride was also embedded in the employment of the rainbow while Mary Katrantzou’s politics and palette were more muted.
Think of it as the letter-free evolution of the slogan T-shirt.
Stop hesitating because the fringe trend you’ve seen on the street is here to stay. Not willing to take my word for it? Listen to Versace, Prada and Roberto Cavalli.
Fringing has moved on from its suede bohemian roots to evening glamour with Miuccia Prada providing a futuristic touch in retina-searing neons on gowns and bustiers.
Donatella Versace delivered more traditional glamour with crystal beading for fringes, while at Gucci fringing was just part of Alessandro Michele’s sensory assault
While the execution is different, every fringe delivers that satisfying swish from an unexpected twirl.
All of those power shoulders from the ‘80s revival and relaxed blankets call for the ultimate accessory. Belts are back in a big way so it’s time to retire the corset and buckle up.
Wide belts cinched the deal at Versace, Marni and Etro, adding emphasis to voluminous separates by revealing the waist.
At Alberta Ferretti supermodel-in-waiting Kaia Gerber showed that a brassy buckle can draw the eye with an all-black ensemble. Think of it as another notch in your aesthetic arsenal.
Coco Chanel knew that everyone looks healthier with a tan, heading to Deauville to soak up the rays but it has taken a few decades for Milanese designers to cotton on.
Tan became the new winter white in the runways. It’s the perfect shade for the spirit of feminist independence and working girl chic that informed many collections this season.
Worn with layered workwear at a revitalized Ferragamo under the creative reins of Paul Andrew or in relaxed jetset silhouettes at Tods, a summer tan is now a cool weather essential.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the autumn/winter collections were resort with some of the leg-baring ensembles (hello Saint Laurent) if it wasn’t for the cosy arrival of the blanket.
The blanket was taken off the bed and onto the body at New York, London and Milan fashion weeks but reached peak perfection in Paris.
While Off-White and Lemaire had a streamlined approach Stella McCartney delighted in the textural possibilities of metres of fabric offering human shields that could double as a lovely floor rug.
Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen also kept models comfortable in cosy wraps while the revived house of Poiret made blankets their new winter signature. It’s time to start shopping in the homewares department.
Sure, there were plenty of designers taking baby steps away from millennial pink towards hot pink but as Prince always knew, purple is where it’s at.
Whether used as a punch of colour in the vibrant Miu Miu collection or as a hint of passion in inky eggplant on an evening gown at Givenchy, purple suggests people-pleasing power.
In the tumble dryer time machine of the runways, with designers riffing on the seventies, eighties and nineties, purple was the one colour that effortlessly spanned the decades.
Ditch the earrings and use the money you save on pearls and diamonds to pick up a headscarf to wrap around your head this winter.
It’s the balaclava approach to fashion approved by Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, Maria Grazia Chiuri at Christian Dior and even Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga.
Unless you want to look like a Yeti, don’t team this with the blanket trend on the runways. Use it to add a sense of mystery and keep bad hair days to yourself until you arrive at the office.