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Harriet Baker has published 3 articles

A gem of a trend

Harriet Baker reviews the jewel in the crown of AW 2011
Harriet Baker on Monday 29th August 2011
Photograph: albeelucky.blogspot.com

Leaving behind the sweltering, eye-popping, sweetie-jar brights of the summer we come to the richer, darker tones of autumn and winter.

Garments imbued with the saturation and alluring depth of gems have been shimmering across the season’s catwalks, and are now available on the high street, allowing everyone to indulge in some jewel tones at prices which will merely gnaw away at, rather than engulf, the student budget.

In total contrast to last autumn’s collection (mainly sky/cloud/stone/black in hue), Gucci’s current offering explores the heady glamour of the seventies in a full-bodied palette of deep blue and petrol green, burgundy and amethyst. Sumptuous, if ethically dubious, fur stoles in these rich shades drape over loud snakeskin jackets. Wool, leather and silk swish and slink in layers of contrasting block colour and texture. The overall effect is quite arresting and perhaps takes a little more getting used to than last year’s look. 

Such rich tones can be worn block and in potentially perilous combination for maximum impact, or as single flashes of colour against a dark or neutral background; Chanel’s Ready-to-Wear collection features cropped jackets in emerald and ruby over black and grey layers. 

Ralph Lauren employs injections of jade, deep amethyst and ruby into a predominantly glossy black range which fuses exotic Oriental elegance with thirties chic.

Sonia Rykiel’s collection excels since it avoids the autumnal sobriety of a darker palette by lifting outfits with flashes of bright contrasting colours; apricot, turquoise, chartreuse and bubblegum pink popped up amidst seventies-influenced styles.

Sumptuous textures come out to play this autumn; velvet and fur are ready for sundown, while a silky blouse or patent accessories can be readily incorporated into a day or night look. Embellishment is certainly welcome; sequins of all sizes are getting much love this season, especially those of the fish-scale variety. Bright buttons and metallic thread also contribute to the lavish mood.

On the catwalks, jewel tones are accompanied by hair which is expensive and healthy in appearance, and fully under control. As for make-up; Gucci, Sonia Rykiel and Ralph Lauren favour vamped-up lips in ruby, dark coral and burgundy, while Chanel displays silvery eyes with natural lips.

Certainly, such bold colours and textures become less daunting if they are worn as punchy accents, but if you feel that summer’s palette has trained you well in the art of saturated hues, then it is time to embrace whole-heartedly the luxurious possibilities of jewel tones.

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