Wednesday,14 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1412, (4 - 10 October 2018)
Wednesday,14 November, 2018
Issue 1412, (4 - 10 October 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Back to the zoo

If you like animals, you are in luck. This season’s fashion allows you to admire them, pet them and even wear them.

There is nothing new about wearing animal skins. Man has done it for centuries.

Fashion stands on firm ground, for clothes we need and clothes we must have. Many theories have been advanced as to why humans began to wear clothing. One of the earliest is the so-called “modesty/shame” theory, also known as the “fig leaf” theory.

Ashamed of their nakedness, Adam and Eve covered their bodies with fig leaves. After centuries of tattoos, ornaments and paintings of body and face, man started wearing clothes about 100,000 years ago, for the same reason as we do today: to protect ourselves; to improve our appearance and to make a statement of who we are.

Covered in the skin of a bear or a reindeer, man was not only keeping warm, but also conveying information about himself: he is brave; a good hunter, etc. With variations, of course, this is what we do today. Clothes function as a language and say about us more than we think. They indicate age, gender, social status and often nationality, religion and occupation. It is little wonder that the discipline of clothing is of paramount importance.

Every season we have an opportunity to choose from fashion’s bountiful offerings what most pleases us and affords us a sense of completeness. Designers give us an assortment of styles through which we can express ourselves.

Back to our zoo. While animal skins, as well as animal prints have been favourite classics for decades, this winter we may just find a zoo walking in a zoo rather than a street. There may be tigers, leopards, ocelots, zebras, snakes, even mooing cows, the two-legged kind of course, and they do make a woman feel feminine. Not only coats, but every clothing item you can think of from hat to glove, scarf, sweater, dresses, shoes, boots, shorts, pants, skirts and all else you can think of.

If the animal look does not appeal to you opt for the lean, long, flattering cover-ups from coats to bellowing dresses reaching the ground. That is as maxi as you can get. It will be hard to get in or out of a car, let alone a bus, in which case, a long, oversized, big shoulders overcoat will do. In fact, if nothing else, make the coat your fashion statement.

Plaid and pleats are back; what joy. A plaid jacket can go with jeans, skirt, pants and dress and is appropriate for all occasions. As for pleated skirts, you just might find one at the back of your closet. Length matters little as you can go from maxi to mini, if you watch your footwear.

 Mini is adorable with thigh-high boots, while a short, socket-length boot will do nicely for maxi dresses or pants.

Do you like to cover-up or bare it? Both are plentiful. Some have even defined the season’s looks as “modest and monastic”. You do not need to show skin, any skin at all if you prefer. This was a popular look on the catwalk with layers and layers of fabric that seem to be just laid on haphazardly. It did not seem very tidy or very flattering, but layering is in, busy, over-sized and may dominate for years.

If showing skin is your thing, make sure your abs are in good condition. Lots of bare skin around the midriff with the cropped tops and there are the deep plunges and the deeper plunges. Chloe gives a good amount of exposure with a slit that starts at the neck all the way to the diaphragm. Make sure you have your flu shot before you plunge into that style.

Cold shoulders are another way of showing skin. Off the shoulder cut-outs is a look that is still staying strong with the addition of many more cut-outs. Prabal Gurung has a fabulous number in a plus size that will bring a smile to many a pair of lips.

Men’s tailoring remains skinny and lean and women have borrowed their Saville Row styles in intriguing suits and coats to pull over skimpy dresses.

Colours range from the seasonal burgundy or brandy, but cherry-red was a winter favourite on the catwalk. Most of all, winter-white in a uni-coloured outfit looks stunning.

Digital blue, or simply deep blue is in and fuschia simply will not go away.

For evening, silver is best, shimmery suits, ball-gowns, cocktail dresses, pants, even coats are amazing under the light of a silvery moon.

There are certain items to avoid, like very long sleeves and tiny handbags. Everything is big this season and while any bag that fits your outfit is appropriate, a “laundry basket bag” is the one to have.

If all of this is as overwhelming to you as it is to us, let us condense it to a limited number of items. A blanket scarf can perform miracles, big and versatile. Go for a leopard or animal print, choose boot, bag, top, pants, all perfect. A black, glossy short boot is classy.

A turtle-neck sweater is indispensable; a long cardigan is flattering and if you can afford it a designer belt.

Wonder what shade of lipstick? Brown is the colour to go to. It looks good on everybody.

Best item to wear? Yourself. Nothing will glitter and glow more than the true you.


“It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.”

Aesop (sixth century BC)

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