It’s been an eventful year in fashion to say the least. From the escalating conversation around sustainability and the climate emergency, to the potential impact on the industry of the current coronavirus outbreak and a broader feeling that we need to change not only how we approach our wardrobes but how we engage with the wider world. But, despite all the turmoil and change we still need to get dressed in the morning. So how to approach this mindfully and practically while still not losing our love for fashion and need to express our individuality.
A recent news story that Phoebe Philo is planning to launch her own brand eco-collection, as well as generating a collective, quivering excitement (Is she? Will she? And…when?) seemed to somehow encompass many of these questions. Philo after all owned ‘wardrobing’ for women during her decade long tenure at Celine. Indeed, I’d be hard pressed to name a woman I know who doesn’t own something from Phoebe era Celine. From fully fledged ‘Phoebephiles’ who religiously bought new pieces every season to those who simply opted for a bag or wallet or single piece of jewellery, she spoke to an army of devoted followers who loved fashion but also wanted clothes that worked hard and more than earned their keep. And her signature ‘soft power’ aesthetic seems to chime even more strongly now when a new approach to dressing seems ever more necessary.
So how to dress for this new world order while we wait (or should that be pray?) for Phoebe’s return to the world of fashion. There are plenty of options in fact and pieces that offer both pragmatism and longevity, also informed by a sense of softness, whether that be through colour or silhouette that reflect the growing mood for a new approach in both our wardrobes and lives.
Italian brand Bottega Veneta is the obvious one, given their recently installed Creative Director Daniel Lee trained under Philo at Celine. His ‘pouch bag’ has become a huge seller already for the brand. Its combination of soft ‘cuddle’ factor and chic ergonomic design seems perfect for an age when we could all do with a hug. For spring/summer he introduced a jumbo version that you can sling over your shoulder. Enough room for all your essentials and more and with a ‘throw on and go’ quality that seem perfect for these times when important issues abound and changing your handbag seems superfluous to requirements. And the leather intrecciato mules in a variety of tones…(the deep green ones are my favourite) add a colour pop to the leather pieces that feels both new and playful. Count me in.
Max Mara has always been the go-to brand for women the world over who want beautifully designed, heritage pieces that will both stand the test of time but still feel highly covetable and impeccably stylish. Their now iconic camel coat launched in 1981 has shown no signs of abating in popularity. I have one and can attest is one the most widely worn items in mine. The latest collection was full of such pieces, with my personal favourite being the double-breasted mannish overcoat in powder blue is both a thing of beauty and a forever item that exudes soft power and grown up sensuality in equal measures.
And Salvatore Ferragamo courtesy of a refresh by Creative Director Paul Andrew, is currently offering up all kinds of options for women on the go who want to get stuff done but still look and feel utterly fabulous whilst doing so. The high waisted pants in forest green teamed with a pale blue shirt is a perfect example of this. You could put this on in the morning and own your day and night with perfect ease and fashion equilibrium.
And it’s not just Italians who do it better. One of my favourites, and many others judging by how quickly his pieces sell out on line is French brand Lemaire. A master class in really understanding what women want to wear with a ‘cool chic ‘factor that hits the sweet spot every time. The spring/summer collection is no exception and the idea of a matching pistachio green shirt, trousers and trench combo suddenly seems like the best idea ever. And circling back to that Phoebe eco collection rumour, for deeply rooted sustainability credentials coupled with a clear-eyed vision of what women really want to look like, designer Gabriela Hearst has both in spades. The white silk jersey goddess dress with fringes show for spring/summer was nothing short of spectacular. It would take you from the dance floor to Davos to no end of situations in between whether you want to feel beautiful, powerful, seductive or indeed more likely, all of them at the same time.
So, a time to both power up and be a little softer. A time to move through the world with grace and purpose. And some ‘wardrobing’ solutions that will help you do just that.
Published in Vogue Greece’s April 2020 Issue.
Available in Greek.