Monday,23 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1217, (16 - 22 October 2014)
Monday,23 October, 2017
Issue 1217, (16 - 22 October 2014)

Ahram Weekly

The dark side of fashion

Go on, hide! Male or female, cover yourself up from head to toe, in furs, feathers, leather, coats, blankets, ponchos, shawls, hats, gloves, boots, cloaks, capes, cashmere, knits, shearling, mohair, velvet, alpaca, to fend the winter winds. That is the designers’ cocooning trend for the season, so build yourself a cocoon to live in this winter and protect yourself, from the cold cruel weather and the colder, crueller, violent acts of mankind.

“Cocoon Fashion” is the rage and with good reason, to minimise the fears and tears, threats and terrors that overwhelm us.

With the scorching heat still lingering, you may think it too soon to think of such severe measures. In fact the Spring Fashion shows are still on display in the fashion capitals, but nippy weather is at our doorsteps and that should be our immediate objective.

Is there anything unique and exciting about this season’s creations? The answer is a blunt NO! At the very least, not much! Your closet may well replace your store with a few additions of your own, good enough to match the trend of such major designers as Gucci, Burberry, Louis Vuiton, Roberto Cavalli and Tom Ford.

If art mirrors the times, so does Fashion! Every now and then we come across a few classics that look immaculate, season after season. Like good art they reflect all time, they are everlasting. So out with your long camel coat, your comfortable boots, your forgotten gloves, add a long scarf or shawl and you have created your perfect cocoon.

Whenever designers go “retro” you know that the present events were not too inspiring. The “retro” look of the season takes us back to the happy days of opulence, elegance and confident, that is back to the 60s.  If you prefer to flaunt it rather than hide it, there are delicate and intimate feminine styles, such as the relaxed pajama-style, with wide roomy pants so easy to curl up in, as seen at Kenzo, Armani and Celine.  Pencil pants are still popular, but flared pants are making a strong comeback.

Knits are big this season, whether you use your own needles and yarn, or pull them out of your closet. The trend is cosy and comfortable and styles extend from long sweaters to dresses and coats, and they are chill-proof to boot.

One trend that refuses to die is the wild, wild look of animal prints…from leopard to python from serpent to crocodile these animals on the skin are awe-inspiring. If you do not wish to dress as a wild cat, they are available in bags, shoes, boots and other accessories that allow you to walk on the wild side without much peril. Prada, Ferragamo and Fendi provide perfect protection on a perfect safari.

If you lead a busy life, with children, office, shopping and other chores and have little time to mess with wacky trends, you need sensible, stylish outfits, well-made and sturdy. Oscar de la Renta is known for his well-tailored, lady-like classics in a variety of colours to fit your errands and your moods. Suits, pantsuits, car-coats, straight pants can also be seen at Stella McCartney and Calvin Klein.

If you have a flair for the ‘Ethnic’ go straight to Dolce & Gabbana, who have been dabbling with it for the last few seasons. They offer a variety of styles that pick up the somber mood of world events, in simple, clever lines, shades and patterns.

Why should the ‘Military’ trend disappear? Not only is it a constant threat, but its brass buttons, shoulder straps, capulets and gilded ropes are flattering and also feed the seasonal androgynous trend.

The colour palette lends no cheer at Valentino, Givenchy and Dolce-Gabbana. From black to navy, purple, aubergine, bronze and copper, thank heavens for Ralph Lauren and winter white.

If you are tired of the variety of boots the past seasons have launched, from over the knee to above the ankle, go for the strappy sandals that come in all lengths and can let a little air inside the cocoon. That style has been very popular on the runways and is more feminine than your monotonous boots.

If you are on a budget, an accessory or two can lift up your old wardrobe, with little effort. Add a belt to your coat, find some wild-patterned pair of shoes, add a black bow to a simple white shirt, change the buttons on a sweater or add a collar to a dress or coat and you will feel like a true fashionista. 

One item you must consider is metallics. They are the only light spot in an otherwise dark and gloomy outlook. They can be added to cuffs, collars or necklines, on leather, cashmere or print. If you prefer, wear the vibrant metal on your feet in classic pumps or carry it in an evening clutch.

Stackable bracelets are still in, mix and match to your heart’s content, the more the merrier.

Curly locks add some romance to the rigid straight hair and red nails and lips are coming back just in time. A fedora hat will elevate you to the ranks of the tres chic.

If none of the above appeals to you just wear your brightest smile and no one will bother with what you are wearing.

A radiant smile will light up the onslaught of the dark unknown.


Fashion condemns us to many follies; the greatest is to make oneself its slave.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

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