One of the least edifying things about working in fashion is having to tell people you work in fashion. Often there’s a palpable sense, as their eyes run you up and down, that you’ve let them down. I don’t really do makeup or blow-dries or 5am pilates, I’ve worn the same pair of rubber Birkenstocks all summer long, but I like to think after having written about fashion for almost a couple of decades that I’ve learned something. We are now, heatwave be damned, headlong into a new style season.
You’re going to hear a lot about classic pieces, investment items and so forth. It’s somewhat of a pause moment, the last couple of years have seen a huge amount of frankly hideous millennium-inspired clothes being churned out (even in the Noughties we knew everything we wore was awful). Designers have now gone back to basics, so to speak. Prepare to embrace the sweet boredom of a nicely cut pair of black trousers which hit just so on the ankle bone, navy jumpers with good sleeves and crisp mid-blue jeans. Heaven.
Of course, trends can only be as meaningful to you as they are helpful. They can also be entirely ignored. I’ve managed successfully not to wear Crocs, kitten heels or knee-length shorts, all of which have been steadily sold in as things that might thrill. They did not. Silver is being touted as this year’s metallic, but after witnessing Beyoncé’s audience fulfilling her birthday request that they turn her arenas into chrome drenched disco balls with their outfits (see Kris Jenner’s silver leather suit), I’m unconvinced. Best perhaps to stick to accessories here, rather than head-to-toe looks.
An interesting fact gleaned from Net-A-Porter is that their EIPs (“extremely important” customers who spend over £10,000 a year) account for three per cent of the customer base, yet deliver over 40 per cent of sales. It is this fashion three per cent then which their buy caters to — or, as they spin it, “basic elements delivered in the most luxurious fashion”. You might be tired of hearing about stealth wealth, but rich people can’t get enough of Valentino jeans at over £700, or £1,000 Alaïa ballet flats, or Prada trench coats just shy of £3,000. Which means that the high street will be trickling dupes of these to your browser window, too.
Equally, eBay, Vinted and your local charity shop are drowning in second-hand versions. None of us actually need any new clothes, but being a fashion editor involves balancing a tricky line of hypocrisy at all points. I rarely buy anything, preferring to hunt down what I deem to be perfect versions of the very one thing I desire. Last weekend I thought I wanted a new white T-shirt, having tried on about 25 in various places, none of which had the right sleeve length or neckline, I decided against the whole venture.
Things I am excited about include Clare Waight Keller’s Uniqlo:C collection which launches this Friday. Having ended its very good partnership with Jil Sander, the Japanese high street megalith shrewdly snapped up Waight Keller — previously creative director of Givenchy, Chloé and Pringle, and creator of a certain American royal’s wedding dress. I have a puffer coat from the Jil Sander collection which has seen me through at least three years, and Waight Keller’s collection of cleverly designed classics look as helpfully durable.
If I can offer one piece of advice, it’s that a glamorous coat in winter goes a very long way and hides a multitude of moth-eaten knitwear. When the rain really hits, proper shoes are essential in this town. I unwittingly bought a pair of chunky black Mary Janes which are practically identical to the ones my six-year-old wears to school, which to be honest I have mixed feelings about. But a flimsy ballet shoe just isn’t the one.
Commit to the nerd-y mood with a visit to Anya Hindmarch’s latest Pont Street pop-up, which is a collaboration with cult Japanese stationers Itoya featuring Kawaii-inspired pencil cases and endless satisfying things to fill them with. Finishing touches can make all the difference. I’ve never met a pair of pearl earrings which didn’t brighten a face. Pond London’s cheering jellyfish studs are made from salvaged and new freshwater pearls with recycled silver ear posts. Everything else will work itself out.
Victoria Moss’s Wish List
Wrap Coat, £109.90, Uniqlo:C, from Friday, uniqlo.com
Homework classic T-Bar shoe, £275, russellandbromley.co.uk
Kawaii Happy pencil case, £320, anyahindmarch.com
Jellyfish studs, £225, pondlondon.com
Knit Dress, £49.90, Uniqlo:C, from Friday, uniqlo.com