It's official. Life will never be one long, glamourous beach party. Not even if you're Collette Dinnigan and live in Sydney. Yes, our favourite Australian designer has gone back to work in smart silk and tailored shapes with her AW/12 collection. That's not to say we've lost the intricacy we love her for. The silk dress, skirt and blouse carry a series of bold and colourful prints, while the beautiful crochet pieces return, heavier yet perfect for prettying up the winter months.
There's a lovely story behind how Colenimo came to be this season's star newcomer to womenswear. It all began with a recommendaton by our favourite style guru, Miss Moss which led Victoria and Lucy to designer Aya Nakagawa's brilliant Hackney flat/studio/workshop. There they placed an order in hushed voices while Aya's new baby slept through the appointment. Luckily, there wasn't need for excess noise for the clothes were simply exquisite.
Aya is passionate about detail and garment construction (everything is UK made) and it clearly shows. Meanwhile the aesthetic is firmly rooted in the early 20th century, as she puts it "a fictionalised take on the wardrobe a traditional country lady" mixing traditional fabrics and vintage quirks. So off we go riding in a beautiful velvet collared shirt, taking tea in a luxurious knit and full tartan skirt, and dressing for dinner in a beautiful silk crepe dress and cape.
There was a small space to fill on the womenswear rails, reserved for something a bit unique, slightly rock but everyday kind of wearable. Turns out that space was made for Leon & Harper. Slotting right in, the Parisian label is our favourite new go to for great jerseys and lovely, cosy oversized jumpers.
Hats, people, hats! Beautifully made, beautifully priced hats courtesy of Christys'. Cute cloches, tomboyish trilbys and the ever sohisticated 'Safari', all wool felt and plenty of ribbon. And just a taste of the wonderful things to come later in the season.
Samantha Sung and The Jacksons are like old friends to us, but this season we suddenly realised they were meant to be together, so.....
Audrey, meet Lexi, a classic knee-high with a crepe sole. Your perfect match for smart, daytime wear.
Lexi, meet Audrey. You'll soon be devoted to her perfect tailoring and wearability, day and night.
Sabrina and Laudine meet Tatty. In no way tatty and in fact, one ever so elgegant stiletto, and most definitely your equal when it comes to party going.
Tatty, meet Sabrina and Laudine, both supremely smart like yourself, but eminently more comfortable in their beautiful print stretch cotton.
You're all going to get along famously.
Peter Jensen has us totally captivated. Each collection, while quite different from the last, always carries a distinct quirkiness inspired by his chosen muse for the season, typically some wonderfully wayward famous or infamous female who captures his imagination. In the past it's been Sissy Spacek, identity-teasing New York artist Cindy Sherman and disgraced Olympic ice-skater Tonya Harding.
This time it was Thelma Speirs, the idiosyncratic DJ and milliner who has done work for Jean Paul Gaultier, Madonna and Karl Lagerfeld, among others. The result is a steer towards sixties 'lady' dressing - structured knee-length dresses with lurex, cropped plaid jackets and print blouses. And for a more dressed down look, an oversized knit branding a fox's head. It has us thinking we can totally channel some Thelma.
If ever a collection was to prompt the drawing of breath and the dropping of jaws in womenswear, it would surely be this one. Queene & Belle for AW12 is quite simply exquisite. The signature stars are out in force again, falling over gorgeous cashmere cardigans and woven into beautiful cotton shirting. The impossibly pretty lace dress returns with subtle refinements and we're especially loving the new command of colour; a palette perfectly placed somewhere between subtle and bold and best exemplified in one utterly stunning wrap.
Just as we're finding our way back into our winter uniform (jeans, boots and jumpers), James go and deliver a mighty handy second instalment. Twiggy looking sleek in black and a smoke velvetine. And Hunter as flattering as can be in a black needle cord. Everyday A/W dressing made easy.
YMC has come of age with their AW offerings. The aesthetic is altogether smarter, yet we're pleased to see we've not lost the label's bold takes on shape, colour and texture. It's the geography teacher and the librarian, not out of place taking a walk down Shoreditch High Street, warding off winter in colour and in style.
The girls are wearing silk pussy bow blouses, beautifully fitted wool dresses, cropped knits and a peter pan collar coat, all in a lovely, unwintry primary palette. Following on are the guys wearing heavy textures and rich hues; weighty cashmere blend knits, beautiful tactile shirting, thick cord chinos and smart wool trousers.
Woolrich is a company made of steadfast stuff. In the 19th Century they saw the confederates through the Civil War with blankets and uniforms. And they're still going strong today with straightforward designs and uncompromising quality. They make clothes you'll come to depend upon.
With the label's first outing in womenswear, Victoria and Lucy were won over by their original blanket-style pieces. A series of heavy duty knits and boiled wool jackets centre around one supremely gorgeous cape. The lovely toggles, buttons and collars smarten up appearences on a crispy autumn walk.
Meanwhile Rob's second season is the most perfetly complete collection you'll find in the basement. The starting point is the parka, the piece for which Woolrich have become most well known. Tokihito Yoshida's re-engineered arctic parka and grey wool field jacket set a high standard, which continues with classic wool blazers, cashmere blend roll necks and subtly checked brushed cotton shirts.