There was a notable resurgence in glamour in several of the autumn/winter 2011 collections, with a particular reference to the 1940s. Miu Miu epitomised the trend, with a collection dominated by ladylike floral and bird printed tea-dresses. Bold shoulders made an appearance on nearly every piece in this Parisian inspired collection, with contrast collars also adding interest to many jackets and tops. The show also introduced what has surely become the shoe of the season – sequinned booties in various colours with a distinctive curved stack heels.
Where Miu Miu had a slightly more laid-back approach, Donna Karan’s a/w show featured full-on forties glamour. Models took to the runway in luxurious, draped dresses in grey and mink hues. Hair was swept up in a neat bun on the top of model’s heads and outfits were accessorised with nostalgic elbow-length gloves. Some looks even included scarves wrapped elegantly over models’ heads and shoulders. There was contrast in textures too, exemplified by a sheer blouse worn with a woolen skirt that begged to be touched, modeled by Caroline Brasch Nielsen.
In London, Jonathan Saunders took a more minimalist and modern approach to his forties-inspired collection. There were lots of pops of colour matched with more muted hues – a bright emerald green polo-shirt matched with a demure brown pencil skirt for example. As with Miu Miu, strong shoulders made several appearances and hemlines stayed firmly at or below the knee.
The high street has embraced the forties trend with aplomb this season and almost every store is well stocked with tea dresses, pencil skirts and accessories inspired by the decade. Topshop has a great selection of pencil skirts, including pieces very similar to Jonathan Saunders’ styles. There are skirts available in a number of colours but if you want to stand out from the crowd choose a patterned one, like their rabbit-print design. If it’s dainty printed dresses you’re after, A/Wear is a good place to try – see the butterfly-print, Peter Pan-collared style below from their latest drop. Accessory-wise, the key piece is undoubtedly a pair of leather gloves. These can be expensive, but fortunately Miss Selfridge have a student-friendly pair at the moment that won’t break the bank.
By Jenny Quigley