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Smart purchases: buyers’ picks of autumn 19 womenswear

Sies marjan autumn 19

As the new catwalk season draws to a close, five of the industry’s most influential womenswear buyers share their stand-out collections, top trends and key buys for autumn 19.

Lydia King, director of womenswear, Selfridges

How would you sum up the autumn 19 season?

Autumn 19 has been a really strong season. London in particular was really wonderful, from Riccardo Tisci’s second collection at Burberry, which felt like a real statement of intent for his vision of the house, to Gareth Wrighton’s debut as part of the Fashion East support scheme.

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Burberry autumn 19

Which were your favourite collections?

In New York, The Row presented a collection of exquisite pieces that brought a real couture sensibility to ready-to-wear.

We were thrilled to host Roksanda’s autumn 19 show in the Old Selfridges Hotel in London. The collection was really strong with beautiful shapes and a rich colour palette.

Milan was abuzz this season with anticipation for Daniel Lee’s debut runway show for Bottega Veneta and he didn’t disappoint. We are really excited to see how customers react to the collection.

Finally, in Paris I don’t think you can talk about anything besides the Chanel show, such a touching farewell to Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of the house who died the week before.

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Gareth Wrighton at Fashion East

Which trends stood out?

This season felt very opulent. From Paco Rabanne to Moschino, it felt like more is more. Tailoring is also something that is really coming to forefront for autumn 19. And a red coat will also be a must.

Which were your key pieces of the season?

Wide-leg trousers from The Row, a Victoria Beckham printed shirt, a leather skirt from Bottega Veneta, and a Balenciaga suit jacket.

 

Ida Peteon, director of men’s and women’s wear buying, Browns

How would you sum up the autumn 19 season?

The energy definitely changed city by city but overall, I was very excited about autumn 19. It was very busy, but I love it like that.

I felt that most designers stepped up their game and really went for it, which is perfect for our customers.

Sies marjan autumn 19

Sies Marjan

Which were your favourite collections?

In New York I loved the hot colour injections of Sies Marjan, and the vegan leather at Nanushka – [founder] Sandra Sandor’s take on day to evening is on point. Also, Marc Jacobs was at his best.

Molly Goddard delivered a beautiful collection in a grand setting [the Foreign and Commonwealth Office] in London. Her dresses are of another world. Also in London, Wales Bonner’s nod to the 1970s mixed with American college looks was simply irresistible, while it was so exciting to see Asai’s first standalone show. It didn’t disappoint.

In Milan, the clumsiness of the shoes at Prada combined with the chic effortless tailoring and dresses really worked. Daniel Lee’s first show at Bottega Veneta was one of the highlights of the season for me, while I also loved the outerwear at Angel Chen.

In Paris, Marine Serre showed fantastic tailoring and the leggings of the season. At Paco Rabanne, every piece was beautiful in its own right but the layering was next level. Creative director Natacha Ramsay-Levi showed my favourite Chloé collection to date: the clothes, the accessories, the styling and casting were perfection.

After the Pendleton collaboration of last season I wasn’t sure how Sacai would live up to that but this was creative director Chitose Abe at her best.

Prada autumn 19

Prada autumn 19

Which trends stood out?

Sharp tailoring was definitely the thread throughout all of the cities. Our customer is already embracing this trend so it will definitely translate into easy sales.

The return to the 1970s was a personal favourite and it generally, as a reference, translates well into sales.

I was also into the season’s over the top feeling, with feathers, sequins and tulle. It will be more expensive so is less of a volume driver but will be great for party season.

Also loving all the clumpy shoes and ladylike bags that we have been seeing, they will be an easy sell.

Which were your key pieces of the season?

The tailored suits from either Paco Rabanne, Saint Laurent or Haider Ackermann. The Sacai beige trench with army green puffer harness. The varsity jacket from Wales Bonner. The pink dress from Molly Goddard. The reflective leggings at Marine Serre. The Anylock bag from Chloé. The quilted pump from Bottega Veneta. The crystal drop earrings from either Alessandra Rich, Loewe or Paco Rabanne.

 

Natalie Kingham, fashion buying director, Matchesfashion

How would you sum up the autumn 19 season?

One of our favourite takeaways of the season is the rise in seeing women of all ages on the runway, in lookbooks and throughout collection inspiration. Etro’s stunning casting and Giuliva Heritage Collection’s lookbook both showed a spectrum of personalities, as well as a mother/daughter duo, giving customers inspiration both with embodiment and in offering an icon to look up to, which is really moving.

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Gabriela Hearst autumn 19

Which were your favourite collections?

In New York, Gabriela Hearst has hit her stride, and we are thrilled to be a part of the journey. Her use of materials is unparalleled, and this season was the expected chic offering with a few fashionable twists, such as the coin details, padded coats and colourful tweed. That said, her bread-and-butter cashmere shawls and knits still get us every time.

The autumn 19 Christopher Kane, shown in London, was so authentically Christopher. We felt the sense of freedom he now has to explore a theme in such detail and in his own way.

Symonds Pearmain, with its dynamic and art-based aesthetic, was another highlight from London.

Miuccia Prada redefines pretty much every single season and her interpretation of Wednesday Addams at Prada in Milan felt independent from anything else happening in the industry, yet incredibly relevant. Subversive definitions of beauty and the perfect balance of masculine and feminine is not only inherently Prada but prevailed in this season for her.

Few shows will rival Julien Dossena’s autumn 19 Paris show at Paco Rabanne, as he is offering us new ways of styling – pieces we never knew we needed yet can’t live without – and, above all, a collection that will make women feel powerful.

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Christopher Kane autumn 19

Which trends stood out?

Overwhelmingly the biggest trend of the season both on the runways and in the streets is dressing head to toe in one tone. Max Mara, Gabriela Hearst, Burberry, Isabel Marant – the list goes on. Our favourite iteration of this is the sophisticated hues of olive green in mixed media, such as leather with cashmere.

Which were your key pieces of the season?

Tough boots from The Row, swing coats from Marc Jacobs, cashmere shawls from Gabriela Hearst and clutch bags from Bottega Veneta.

 

Tiffany Hsu, fashion buying director, Mytheresa

How would you sum up the autumn 19 season?

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Victoria Beckham autumn 19

There were several inspiring shows this season with some very refreshing collections. In particular, New York stood out from a contemporary aspect with some of the most exciting brands available, including Sies Marjan, Brock Collection and Nanushka.

London and Milan had a fresh energy from Riccardo Tisci’s second collection for Burberry, Victoria Beckham’s second home-town show and Daniel Lee’s new take on Bottega Veneta.

Finally, Paris remained busy and notable as ever. Key highlights were Loewe, Givenchy and Saint Laurent.

Which were your favourite collections?

In New York, I loved The Row for its oversized roll-neck in different iterations, such as silk and shearling, and Gabriela Hearst for her elegant and feminine statement coats and floor-length looks.

I was also excited by Khaite’s debut runway show, where Cate Holstein presented an array of wearable looks which felt feminine and modern in a new and fresh way, from the incorporation of hand-painted zebra prints, to silk dresses and whip stitch-detailed outerwear.

For emerging talent, Deveaux New York was also very much on our radar for its chic tailoring.

From London, Victoria Beckham’s show was made for the modern woman. The skin-tight thigh-high boots in electric blue and leopard print were so refreshing against the formal tailored looks. I loved the open-toe styles and pumps in bright colours, too. With a comfortable heel height, they make a statement worn with even the most casual workwear look.

Simone Rocha also had some beautiful eveningwear styles, proving the corset trend is back and more statement than ever.

From Milan, Bottega Veneta had to be the most hotly anticipated collection from new creative director Daniel Lee, and it didn’t disappoint. The collection provided the perfect balance of androgynous styles and powerful silhouettes, particularly with the use of leather across full looks and accessories – the cube-effect shoulder bag is going to be another coveted item after the success of the pouch so far this season.

Attico also had a refreshing presentation that offered some of the best partywear in the brand’s cult sequin dresses.

From Paris, I loved Paco Rabanne’s collection for its mash-up of floral on floral in different exotic prints, combined with over-the-top statement bling.

Jonathan Anderson provided yet another stand-out show at Loewe with his chic checked outerwear and Glamorous, understated evening bags.

At Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello took the collection to new levels: the outerwear was better than ever with oversized shoulders and straight cuts, finished in classic shades of black and cream.

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Simone Rocha autumn 19

Which trends stood out?

Black is the new black; the shade dominated the runways in a fresh, revived way. Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta did this especially well in a subtle yet chic way.

Dramatic oversized shoulders were key from Isabel Marant, which offered classic shearling and tweed styles with extra padding to elevate the looks.

Chainmail was prominent across accessories such as earrings, mini-bags and belts, which were more glamorous and statement than in previous seasons, embodying a “more is more” aesthetic.

Proportions of XXL versus XXS were present from ready-to-wear to accessories. Jacquemus owned this trend with his oversized fuchsia pink outerwear paired with the tiniest of bags – a predicted Instagram favourite

Which were your key pieces of the season?

For ready-to-wear, the shearling jacket from Isabel Marant, the oversized exaggerated shoulder-pad coat from Saint Laurent, Nanushka’s shell vinyl skirt worn under heavy outerwear and the all-leather suit from Sies Marjan.

For accessories, Staud’s Mood bag, which is set to be the brand’s next big hit, the diamante earring-and-choker sets from Alessandra Rich, the multi-flap belt bags from Jacquemus and a pair of Victoria Beckham’s sock boots in leopard print.

 

Laura Larbalestier, group buying director, Harvey Nichols

How would you sum up the autumn 19 season?

I think that fashion week generally felt calmer than usual, and it seemed that there was a new mood with designers really thinking about what women want to wear next.

Jw anderson autumn 19

JW Anderson autumn 19

Which were your favourite collections?

The Row in New York, JW Anderson in London, Jil Sander in Milan and Paco Rabannne in Paris.

Which trends stood out?

Key colours were more unexpected this season: lilac and chartreuse were “pop” shades.

Checkerboard was key as a print from Balenciaga to Off-White and felt new after seasons of heritage checks and florals.

Feathers were heavily featured on lots of pieces, from full dresses to shoes and trims, which certainly brought the glamour back.

I enjoyed seeing a return to a more chic and elegant way of dressing. Tailoring is really key for next season and I can see this translating well into retail.

We also saw an interesting use of quilting and patchwork, which makes for a fresh and modern textural alternative to prints.

Which were your key pieces of the season?

The suit, leather looks, statement sleeves and accessories, and hats are the key seasonal accessory.

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