The trouser suit has long been a stalwart piece in women's wardrobes. Since Yves Saint Laurent created his 'Le Smoking' women's tuxedo back in 1966, the piece has no doubt morphed into one of the single most transformative pieces of women's wear and for A/W12, it made a serious comeback. Just like Saint Laurent, this season designers seem to be more attune to the fact that women need clothes that make sense as much as they appeal aesthetically and as a result, we're spoilt for choice.
You can generally guage what the big trends will be by watching the Prada show and this season Miuccia Prada made a big statement. At both Prada and Miu Miu the trouser suit dominated sending a clear message that if there's anything you need to buy this coming season, it's that.
Throughout the shows in February there was a lot of talk about the clothes being like an armour, preparing women for the tough world out there right now and it's true. At the rate things are going, we can all do with as much help as we can get and there's no denying it's transformative powers. Even Caroline Issa spoke about it recently in the latest issue of ELLE UK. Talking about her recent Tom Ford suit purchase she said: 'When I wear it I feel like the chicest person alive - it is wearable art.' Whistles CEO Jane Shepherdson shared the sentiment. 'It's about authority,' she said in an interview with Karen Dacre about the suit's power in the workplace. 'If I feel I need 'armour' any day, then I will pull on a trouser suit. It let's people know you're serious and not to e messed with.' My-Wardrobe's founder Sarah Curran said the same thing. 'There's definitely an attitude that goes with wearing one,' she told Dacre. 'There is something about a trouser suit that gives an air of confidence that a dress could never do.'
From top left: Acne, Dries van Noten, Miu Miu, Todd Lynn, Todd Lynn, Alexander Wang, Celine, Elizabeth & James, Miu Miu and Prada
The British Fashion Council are really doing well by British design talent. Over the past few seasons they've drawn in all of the key international press and their London Show Rooms that take place in both Los Angeles and Paris have helped expose these designers to an international audience. In L.A. for example, more and more celebrities are wearing British designers like Peter Pilotto and Christopher Kane thanks to these initiatives.
But it doesn't end there. Now they have partnered with thecorner.com to make the S/S12 collections of Felicity Brown, Todd Lynn, Simone Rocha and Louise Gray available to purchase online here.
Todd Lynn's show today was interesting as it marked a new direction for the British designer. A key theme that has emerged this season is designer's feeling the need to update their aesthetic and enter untested waters to keep things interesting and that's exactly what Lynn did with his fall collection. Silhouettes were predominantly soft and fluid compared to his usual penchant for structure and rigidity, which may not go down particularly well with his dedicate followers. Trousers mainly came in wide leg styles and dresses were loose fitted and hung free from the body.
Lynn also departed from his usual colour palette of black and grey and instead incorporated bright blue on jackets and trousers and bright green skirt suits styled under oversized fur stoles and dresses in a rich orange with gold detail along the shoulder line. But it wasn't all new. Fans of the designers aesthetic will be pleased to know that he closed the show with pieces in his usual blackish brown colour and one had a structured gold collar which tapped into Lynn's sci-fi sensibilities.
It's no secret that fashion is becoming increasingly fast. Although yellow, florals and prints are all the range this season, by February they'll be old news and so the cycle continues. But with Todd Lynn it's totally different. Regardless of what the rest are doing, each season he stays true to the aesthetic that has gained him critical acclaim and this season was no different.
The colour palette featured the same creams and silvers and black pieces but for Spring, he incorporated a handful of looks in what he describes as storm blue. Also new this season was draping that appeared on the sides of skirts, along the bottom of sheer and metallic tops and on asymmetric hemmed skirts and mini styles layered over trousers. Jackets and tops came with raw edges this season and metal pins added a strong edge on a feminine playsuit and the style also appeared on a cropped black jacket.
The collection was lot sexier than we've seen from Lynn in the past. The usual feminine cuts of the jackets were combined with sexy cut outs on the back of dresses and on the pinned jumpsuit and low slung details under the arm add an understated sensuality to the collection.
Yesterday saw the second opening of the British Designers Collective pop up shop in Bicester Village. The event marked the second time the British Fashion Council and the discount retail outlet have collaborated to bring the best of Britain's new designers under one roof. A/W2010 pieces were made available at the event for a select group of press and industry before the carefully selected pieces will be made available for the wider public today.
The collaboration is all in aid of pushing awareness of British brands to an international market. In the welcome speech, a representative from the shopping village explained that their loyal customers are usually from the Middle East and Russia, making the partnership the perfect idea to propel the designers brands globally. 21 designers have participated this year including Jonathan Saunders, Todd Lynn, Felder Felder, Marios Schwab and Fash Pack favourite, Holly Fulton. Accessories were also available from Georgina Goodman, Jane Carr, Fiona Paxton and Lara Bohnic.
If there's one designer that I look forward to see each season, it's Todd Lynn. Each time around, he manages to stick with his signature sci-fi aesthetic and sharp tailoring whilst continuing to make it pieces that are interesting and new. For S/S11, he took us to the year 3000, showing a collection fit for an android army - but this season he opted for something softer.
The collection began with neutral pieces, like a zip-up grey jacket with brown fur thrown on top, teamed with a mushroom-coloured maxi. Fur also came in white on a big jacket teamed with his much-celebrated leather trousers. Jackets were clinical in white and came with a high structured fold on the neckline with a zip detail running down the front: Think of a stylish version of a straitjacket, minus the mental health connotations. Leather jackets in green came with the same structured neckline, as well as on the sleeves of grey jackets.
If I was alive in the year 3000 I wouldn't mind wearing Todd Lynn's spring/summer 11 collection. Lynn isn't one to be stirred by what the masses are doing and today was no exception as he sent androgynous android looking models down the runway with peroxide white eyebrowns and similar hair. Ironically, we've seen Lynn's muted paired down angular style everywhere this fashion week but of course, the designer stuck with his signatures and put his stamp on it.
Where designers like Osman had subtle sci-fi undertones, Lynn went all out sending models down the runway in his signature grey minimalist structured pieces. Leather dresses and jackets came with python panels along the shoulders, vertically down the waist and on turn up collars. Jackets were teamed with shorts that had subtle sci-fi features like silver zips that also appeared on dresses starting underneath from the neckline working vertically round to the back. Pinstriped coats came with subtly pronounced pockets as the collection continued, introducing more of the tailored pieces Lynn has quickly become known for.
If the sci-fi element wasn't clear enough the camel coloured pieces working into greys, gold metallics and eventually black helped. The muted palette worked by not distracting us from the beautiful strong cuts of the jackets teamed with ultra slim leg trousers with python panels.
Louise Goldin is definitely having a golden moment. Following the success of her debut footwear collection for Topshop, her eponymous RTW line, and having only graduated in 2005, Ms Goldin has beaten Christopher Kane, Erdem and Marios Schwab in the battle for the British Fashion Council's annual Fashion Forward scheme. Not only did she manage to break the trio's three-season winning streak, but she also managed to win over the judging panel - made up of Emma Elwick, the BFC and Vogue's market editor; Simon Ward, the BFC's joint CEO, and Style.com'sSarah Mower - and pipped the likes of Basso & Brooke, Jean-Pierre Braganza, Emilio de la Morena, Osman and Todd Lynn to the winning post.