(Left to right) Haider Ackermann, Celine, Miu Miu, Sacai
Knits are back for autumn! Ok, so this isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, but luckily this season’s offerings are miles away from the frumpy and chunky styles of seasons past. Instead autumn brings chic, casual, cosy and dare we say it, flattering looks that are all about high tech finishes, lush fabrics and unexpected combinations.
As sweater weather approaches, here are the top five knitwear looks and how to pull them off in style.
Sorry Riccardo Tisci, but a single statement sweater doesn’t cut it anymore. Instead designers are experimenting with head-to-toe knitwear, complete with accessories like scarves and bags as seen at Stella McCartney.
Celine’s look is an editor’s favourite and consists of a ribbed long sleeve tunic with extra-long wide-legged pants made from the same fabric. Marc Jacobs also followed suit, although his loungewear inspired V-neck knit tunic, long pants and skinny scarf had a whiff of 1970s retro.
The key to pulling off this style is to choose a more flattering, lightweight knit, preferably with vertical ribbing to create the illusion of a longer silhouette. If you are piling on more than one item, stick to matching shades, preferably in a palette of neutrals such as grey, beige and chic winter whites.
With global warming showing no signs of slowing down, a knitted coverup be it blanket wraps or capes, are a much better alternative to the statement coat this season.
Almost every editor and celebrity has been spotted wearing Burberry’s cashmere blankets which can be customised with your initials for that luxe touch. Feather light cardigan coats cut an elegant figure at Valentino. Capes are another option and add plenty of drama. Choose voluminous styles such as The Row’s cashmere piece which is luxe yet understated.
If you are looking to make more of a fashion statemen, then head to Japanese brand Sacai, which is known for transforming expected silhouettes and fabrics into something unexpected. Designer Chitose Abe created a hybrid leather jacket featuring contrasting panels of cable knit that shows you have serious fashion cred.
Knitwear is the foundation of any sporty look, be it cropped sweaters (Alexander Wang) or rounded shoulder tops. This season there was also a plenty of sporty details like exposed zips or sailor ropes, which double as embroidery on Stella McCartney’s sweaters.
Technical fabrics also play a starring role. At Balenciaga, a simple cable knit jumper comes with a lacquered finish for a modern utilitarian look.
Because sporty silhouettes tend to veer on the masculine side, balance the overall look with feminine pieces such as pencil skirts or cropped leather trousers which add a high fashion edge. Match them with another season must-have – a pair of stylish trainers.
(left to right); Louis Vuitton, Maison Martin Margiela, Acne, Stella McCartney
Alpine chic made its way from the snow capped mountains to the Parisian catwalks as designers made Fair Isle prints modern through silhouettes and pairings. Maison Margiela’s sweaters were cut close to the body and came with peaked shoulders and belted waists. Rag & Bone’s were transformed into cropped, zip up cardigans while Pucci’s fringed cape was uber chic.
Forget jeans and go ladylike with tailored trousers and pumps. Or take cues from Nicholas Ghesquiere at Louis Vuitton who matched his cropped fair isle sweaters with short leather skirts in bold colours such as red and orange that were super contemporary.
The sweater dress makes its biggest comeback since the 1980s although this time round the look is loose and relaxed, as opposed to tight and clingy. There are as many chunky dresses as there are fine knits, but most come in three quarter lengths so you can show off autumn’s knee high boots.
Some of our favourite styles appeared at Michael Kors including the oversized button up cardigan dresses and ombre cable knit dress with long fringes at the hem.
While bulky shapes hang well on supermodels, real bodies will suit Stella McCartney’s version which is wraps around the body for a more fitted silhouette. Also add a belt to break up the silhouette.
An edited version of this story first appeared in South China Morning Post