This year celebrates the 25th anniversary of London’s Fashion Week, a milestone that marks the progress the British fashion capitol has made over the past few decades and all the innovations its seen. Despite the lukewarm response the event has received the past several seasons, (resulting in labels taking their runway shows elsewhere), many British-bred designers are returning to their home turf this year to honor the venues of their native culture. Legendary names like Burberry Prorsum, Matthew Williamson, Jonathon Saunders, and Pringle of Scotland have all signed up to attend; as a result, Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour has also decided to make an appearance, which can only mean that London’s fashion scene is fully and officially back.
And it seemed that many designers, British or otherwise, had an inkling of this imminent comeback. Various trends made famous through London’s influential fashion history appeared in venues all over the world in recent seasons â€” especially in the form of the time-honored classic, the fall coat. So for the chillier upcoming season, there is truly no better way to pay homage to 25 years of London fashion (and its signature blustery weather), than by donning one of these unique yet elegant cover-ups. Cheerio!
Channel your inner Twiggy from London’s swinging sixties era in a lightweight peacoat that mixes â€˜mod’ with modern. The swirling kaleidoscope of colors deemed the pinnacle of style back then may not hold up as well to today’s standards. Luckily, designers like Phillip Lim are featuring more classic versions in black, while still boasting the signature sixties look with short lengths, metal hardware, and mod, chunky bobs to match! As one of the first fashion havens to bring the look out of the strictly nautical realm, London did its part to elevate the style status of the pea coat, which continues to be a universally flattering staple for battling brisk days across the globe. The Marc by Marc Jacobs version channels the same stylish sophistication, adding a peter pan collar for an extra dash of playfulness.
Whether you were alive or not when Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band first dropped, chances are it has helped shape your identity at some point. And though the fabulously bizarre music showed off a new side of the Beatles stylistically, they also (whether realizing it or not) pioneered a new fashion statement with the famously wacky military jackets they donned on the cover art of the album. Fast forward forty years and these babies are traipsing down the runways at couture houses like Balmain, and styled impeccably at Alice + Olivia (so as not to appear too overdone). Although the comically chic military jacket made headlines from other music legends like Michael Jackson, it was truly the Fab Four from Liverpool that first gave us the slightly zany, vaudevillian look that has evolved into a coveted trend today.
Only the country that hosted the great works of Shakespeare could have provided us with the majesty of capes. One simply cannot picture the emotion of Shakespeare’s works without imagining a sweeping, elaborate cape during a battle or aching love scene. Yet as modern society has taken over, the cape has become more of a paired-down piece, shying away from the grandiose nature of its ancestors. Peter Jenkins amped up the glam factor in his shiny houndstooth version; but at the risk of appearing like you’re constantly in costume, it may be safer to choose a simple, yet classy version for everyday needs like this Strenesse Blue.
One never knows when the Queen may call for tea, so its best to always be prepared. As one of the original advocates of prim and proper fashion, London is never without a reason to don a floral lady coat and become a walking English rose. Even in the dead of a gray and dismal winter, one can always step out in pretty pastels, boasting blooms of various sizes. Her majesty would prefer it. But if you’re worried about being confused for an elderly matriarch with some dated versions, choose the route of London’s famed label, Liberty, and opt for a youthful palette bursting with a vibrant pattern. Max Mara fed into the zest of a wildly floral coat, and the similarly structured Prada is definitely worth the splurge. After all, looks inspired by some of the most delicate, ladylike women in history will never go out of style. They’ll just be toughened up a bit.
The final clue, uh, coat, up for discussion takes a page straight out of arguably the most timeless British-inspired trend of all time: the belted trench. Sherlock Holmes started it, Burberry perfected it, and the rest is fashion history. Many a designer from across the pond has added a version or two to their repertoire, channeling the original 19th century-pipe-and-bowler-hat aesthetic. Michael Kors is a standout example, nailing the androgynous silhouette and the subtle, classic plaid print. Latte by Coffee Shop made the shape more feminine with some subtle changes. An A-line design, fitted belt, and perky bow in the back spell out a slightly sweeter take on the look, and doubles as a fab find, along with the other options, for the ultimate style sleuth!
Runway: Phillip Lim Fall 2009 RTW
Real Way: Marc by Marc Jacobs Solid Wool Coat $568
2. Military Jacket
Runway: Runway-Balmain Spring 2009 RTW
Real Way: Alice + Olivia Shrunken Military Jacket with Embellishments $550
Runway: Peter Jensen Fall 2009 RTW
Real Way: Strenesse Blue YOOX Collection: Fall – Winter $242
4. Floral Lady Coat
Runway: Max Mara Spring 2009 RTW
Real Way: Prada YOOX Collection: Fall – Winter $1490
5. Trench Coat
Runway: Michael Kors Fall 2009 RTW
Real Way: Latte by Coffee Shop Glen Plaid Trench $128
Image Layout: La Tonya Williams
Runway Photos: NYMag.com