The best of autumn style tips
Boring is not a word in the vocabulary of Vetements’ designers. The brand, now three seasons old, specialises in unremarkable clothes – the five-pocket jean, the hoodie, the bomber – but transformed into something new and unusual. “We give existing pieces new life,” says designer Demna Gvasalia, 34.
Vetements picked up nearly 30 stockists in its first season and in March celebrities including Jared Leto and Kanye West traipsed to a gay sex club in Paris for its autumn presentation. The clothes – a mix of industrial colours, exaggerated sportswear, grungy dresses and oversized macs – were pieces we wear all the time, but twisted to be just weird enough, and newly cool.
The label functions as a collective, a team of 13 including seven designers, many of whom, like Gvasalia, have worked at Maison Martin Margiela, which has a similar aesthetic. “Comme des Garçons, Margiela and Helmut Lang added minimalism and deconstruction to the fashion vocabulary,” he says. “We put those ideas on a modern frame.” While “there’s an aesthetic we like, we want to make something real people will wear”. Inspiration comes from “what young people are wearing on the streets of Paris. It’s about now and today.”
Next up is menswear: “We want to go beyond fashion boys and make clothes for normal dudes.” Sounds like an admirable – and totally unboring – ambition to us. Available at matchesfashion.com
Topshop Unique for autumn/winter 2015. Photograph: Tim P Whitby/Getty Images
At the Topshop Unique show in London, the biggest takeaway wasn’t the nice chunky knits or the potential return of the high-waisted leather trouser. It was the hair. Or, rather, the undone hair. In the place of last season’s knotty ponytail trickery (see Dior spring/summer 2015), this season’s shows gave us loads of straggly hair. The sort of unkempt look you get if you’re caught in the rain or have spent one day too many at a festival.
At Gucci, Topshop Unique, Burberry and Ralph Lauren, there were tangled locks. The natural afro appeared on the catwalk at Prada, Louis Vuitton and Céline, without a hint of extensions, relaxants or straighteners. And at Roland Mouret and Chloé there was the sort of long, uncoloured, untouched hair that reminded us of being 10 years old.
This is hardly the stuff of high fashion dreams, but the natural look grows on you. It takes confidence to just wash and go. Those scruffy curls, especially combined with fresh pink cheeks, just make us think of great drizzly walks in the countryside. And, without the need to buy hair products, you can spend the cash on clothes instead. Fashion does do us a favour sometimes.
This autumn, Shinola adds men’s bags to its delectable range of watches, bicycles and leather goods, all built in America. The range includes cycling bags, totes, briefcases and duffels which come not only in the expected black and tan, but also in bold orange and Aegean blue. Leather at its best. shinola.com
“We don’t necessarily want the clothes to scream ‘vintage’. For us it’s a building tool.” So say Alonzo Ester and Alex Carapetian, designers at emerging menswear label Longjourney. The pair set up in Los Angeles in 2012 and their signature style is creating modern clothes out of repurposed fabric and old garments – think bomber jackets, sweatshirts and duvet coats in tough, ragged patchwork. The materials are mainly locally sourced and the clothes are then completed by local craftsmen for a really unique finish. The duo are proud that no two pieces are ever the same. This season, inspiration came from the concept of “veiling” and “the wrapping of everyday objects – having the familiar morph into something surprising”. available at matchesfashion.com
Fashion loves to play with fetishwear, but the fact that polyvinyl chloride is back for autumn is still a guaranteed eyebrow raiser. See Christian Dior, where it was delicately latticed on trenchcoats worn with thigh-high rubber boots worthy of a high-class dominatrix. British designer Ashley Williams, who used the fabric on dresses and coats with faux fur, bubblegum-pink collars, is destined to get a lot of play on street style blogs where the magpie-like thrill of shine is always going to rule. Maison Margiela, meanwhile, looked more Matrix than dominatrix, with floor-length jet-black coats. Sex, or at least sex shop chic, is definitely back on the fashion designers’ menus for winter. PVC is shiny, sexy and – bonus! – wipe clean. Wear it to work if you dare.