There are coats, and then there are coats. Fortunately for us, not just any plain coat waltzed down the runways during the Fall/Winter fashion weeks back in February and early March. In fact, they made quite the statements. And because we live in an age when people to-ing and fro-ing from such shows quite literally make a show out of themselves, we see the aforementioned statement coats in action. Now that I think about it, this is probably why designers continue to elevate their creations – any press is good press, no?
Pump Up The Volume:
High fashion has spoken and their message is loud and clear: Bring on the drama. Exaggerated collars here, puffy/kimono/domed sleeves there, and some oversized pockets thrown in for good measure. Nothing says, “I’m not sacrificing style for comfort”, quite like an oversized Proenza Schouler or Chloé masterpiece. Whether dubbed cocoon or the boyfriend coat, this silhouette has trickled down into TopShop and ASOS for us to wrap ourselves in. The trick to styling something so voluminous is to play the balancing act. Oversized plus more oversized can easily look sloppy rather than effortless. Going the cool “it” girl route à la Céline with slouchy leather trousers issues just an impactful a statement as cinching the waist for an hourglass figure reminiscent of the ones presented by Lanvin. The key is letting the coat speak for itself.
Of course, oversized and exaggerated isn’t for everyone. Phillip Lim’s namesake 3.1 Fall/Winter collection exemplified the notion that classic doesn’t have to mean old and boring. Case in point: he took the bare bones of a simple notched lapel jacket and turned it into a jacket-slash-coat-slash-cape hybrid. Lim made it easier for his loyal clientele to wear his tailored coats the way they intended – nonchalantly draped over their shoulders (because editors and the like apparently have no need for sleeves). The reigning king of minimalism, Calvin Klein Collection’s Francisco Costa, did not disappoint in this “sleek chic” arena. Clean lines were complemented by metal-banded belts and created feminine nipped-in silhouettes. Sophisticated, tailored, and fuss-free, which come wintertime, is what women desire — think Raf Simons for Jil Sander, with models clutching their coats ever so chicly. Zara and J.Crew offer a plethora of options at more affordable price points. Completing the look with a monochromatic color palette will make for an even bolder statement, especially in a sea of mix-and-match/print-on-pattern ensembles.
A Closer Look:
Proportion and fit, fabrication, texture, color play, and hardware are a few of the design variables that make a statement coat the investment piece that it is. Balenciaga’s Nicholas Ghesquière stamped his cropped and midi-length coats with leopard or zebra print. He also created an interesting mix of textures by splicing together leather and wool. Alexander Wang chose to manipulate his fabrics by lacquering his tweeds in order to achieve a special sheen effect. Sumptuous cashmere, brocades, jacquards, velvets, and even lace will certainly be gracing the racks of H&M as well as Barneys New York. From one-button to two-button, single-breasted to double-breasted, toggles and buttons sometimes don’t receive enough credit; however, Joseph Altuzarra made them a focus in his military-inspired outerwear. Perhaps it’s the way the collar stands, an asymmetrical zipper, a fur trim, look-at-me-now embellishments, or contrast piping – these small details are all part of the unique (dare I say, “it”) factor. Makes for a fun bundling up!
Still, a coat can only do so much. Personal touch solidifies the punctuation at the end of such a statement.
Main image of Miroslava Duma via Tumblr Runway images via Style.com