All Grown Up

ANYA BURGON – “Cover up and grow up” this Autumn – in woollens, cashmeres and furs

anya burgon audrey tatou autumn Camel coco chanel fur max mara winter

After what was an impressively sunny summer even for those stuck in England this vacation, perhaps there is little reason to begin putting away our frocks and sandals with regret. Inevitably, the morning looms on which those all too familiar Siberian winds demand proud tans be concealed in favour of warmth, and the cotton cardie will no longer cut it. While this is a sad day for many of us, it is hard to deny the cosy images brought forth by woolens, cashmeres, furs, and the roaring fires that obviously await one, bouncing in with a new essay title from the cold. Sorry for the reality check, but this is exactly what designers are persuading us of this season. Cover up and grow up seems to be the message, and I for one am perfectly willing to pull myself together, and the camel and navy on.

Perhaps most familiar in the guise of Audrey Taotou, it is to Coco Chanel that we owe much of the sensible dressing aesthetic. Rejecting the suffocating corsets, feathers and frills at the turn of the twentieth century, she instead looked for the basic architecture that these left behind. Like Coco, but with admittedly smaller ambition, we might indulge in a little rebuilding ourselves: some simple up and downsizing in the right places of the wardrobe, we are told, will achieve the desired proportions of autumn ‘10. Reducing accessories to their most neat and functional, while giving emphasis to the new and fluid shape of coats, skirts and “leggy” trousers, will give the sort of paired down chic associated by many with post- recession realities.

For the younger shopper, this might all sound rather bleak. But with an overdraft as opposed to bank balance, spending on staples that promise longevity as opposed to sequins and shoulder pads might be an appealingly, yes, sensible, prospect. Camel coats have swamped the Autumn/Winter catwalks and can be expected to replace tight bikers when they filter into our high street retailers. In order to avoid adding to a small museum of winter coats that can’t seem to retain your affection for more than a year, though, the equally popular cape this winter could be your ultimate cover-up. Allowing its occupant to disappear inside while delineating a rather impressive slice of personal space to keep envious passers by at a distance, these are at their best when sweeping in handsome profile behind the Cambridge cyclist. Alternatively, emulate the sort of capes sported in the collections of Alexander Wang and Celine by simply failing to put your arms through your sleeves. In the excitement of replicating this look for less, do remember to button up on cycle rides.

The lengthening of the skirt this autumn is particularly thrilling for those tired of the mini, and Topshop’s every effort to keep these interesting with vulgar folds and frills in all the most disabling places. The voluptuous Lara Stone sells the “all-woman” celebration of the fuller skirt better than any other. Wearing one of Louis Vuitton’s creations at Paris Fashion Week, the model embodies perfectly the discreet and grown up sexiness of this Fellini inspired look. Guaranteed to take the trend to its most glam however, swap Louis for Dries Van Noten when it comes to inspiration for the everyday, and allow your wasp-waister to billow under a boyish blazer. No more is the skirt doomed to be forever hidden under an inevitably longer coat.

Of course, mastering these sweeping staples on their own is a tall order, but cue the neat accessories, and the restraint of the catwalk becomes easier to achieve. The quiet of the classic is in strong contrast to those Lady Gaga-esque super-size necklaces and shoes seen this Spring, but claim to let the grown up beneath speak for herself. Delicate waist clinchers as opposed to statement belts, kittens replacing the impossible 5-inchers, and ladylike handbags instead of slouchy shoppers, illustrate the sort of mature devices set to grace the shoulder, foot and waist.  Pulled together and tightened up, the wardrobe is complete.  It may be hard to contain oneself in this thrilling sartorial climate, but this term, ladies, we must try.