Fashion countdown for winter 2011

By Zoe Walker

This winter there are big trends and then there are mini trends - here are Viva's top 20 winter hits.

1. Fur

A stolen girlfriends club fur 'Team Jacob' dress, $650. Photo / Richard Edghil
A stolen girlfriends club fur 'Team Jacob' dress, $650. Photo / Richard Edghil

All the fake fur parading down the runway at New Zealand Fashion Week last year had one onlooker asking whether there had been a sale on fun fur at local fabric suppliers. Remember Harry's faux fur coat in TV show Third Rock From the Sun that looked like it was made from dead Muppets? Similar shaggy flokati incarnations appear for winter at Zambesi (coats and scarves) and Sera Lilly (vests and skirts); while finer fake fur vests and jackets pop up at Trelise Cooper, Kate Sylvester, Blak Luxe and emerging label Riddle Me This. Stolen Girlfriends Club's collection embraces faux fur too, in various forms: a patch fur coat, thick fur vests and heavy fur sleeved bodysuits, sweaters and a fur dress, pieces that have brilliantly been dubbed "Team Jacob", in reference to Twilight. ("Team Jacob" dress, $650).

2. Sports luxe

This is sportswear for those who aren't necessarily interested in the exercise part: sporty tees made of silk georgette and adorned with sequins at Kate Sylvester, puffer jackets with pretty ruffles at Cooper by Trelise, strappy sports bras worn under sheer dresses at Jimmy D, and painted gold lace racerback singlets at Zambesi.

Their winter collection was influenced in part by "the geometry of the beautiful game", referenced by way of mesh fabrics, jersey knit sweaters and sweaters and dresses made of hexagon shaped fabric panels, reminiscent of a soccer ball. The combination of sportiness and glamour is key for winter: Kate Sylvester has nailed it with her "Lost and Found" collection, with numbered, PE-uniform inspired dresses and tops, knit rugby stripes, silk or sequinned running shorts and knit sports team scarves. (Kate Sylvester silk "Jerry" T-shirt, $295.)

3. School daze

Continuing with the season's uniform theme, another aspect is less sporty and more preppy - or dressing like you attend a posh private school. From kilts (Salasai) to angora polos (Stolen Girlfriends Club) to cropped blazers (Cooper by Trelise) to buttoned-up shirts (everywhere), it's a trend that, if worn all at once, will make you look like a 14-year-old in uniform. Twenty-seven Names are the best at prep this season, with pinafores, bow ties, crests and a cropped cricket blazer ($450).

4. Bold colour

Internationally the trend has been for eye-popping hyper colour, but local designers have been more timid. There are flashes of boldness however: at Cybele it's in the form of a bold hot pink sleeveless dress, while at Sherie Muijs it's stand-out pink, yellow and purple raincoats. Karen Walker has sky blue raincoats, sunshine yellow ruffled hats, patent yellow clutches and neon orange shirts, skirts and dresses. Tangerine shades have been popular overseas, with peeks of it here too: we love Ruby's orange "Thompson" pant ($299).

5. 1970s glamour

Where last season's focus was on 1950s femininity, now designers are mining the 1970s. Think one-shouldered gowns, mustard hues, crochet, velvet and high-waisted flares.

6. Ladylike

The lady love continues, however, with prim elegance in the form of full-skirted silhouettes, midi-length hemlines and pretty pastels. The best for smart ladies this winter? Karen Walker's full-skirted dresses, everything from Ingrid Starnes, and anything in the polka dot fabric from Juliette Hogan's "good girl gone bad for the evening" collection - like the polka dot "Maddy" dress ($559).

7. Length

The hemline of the season is long, and whether it's floor-length or midi, it's always worn casually. We like Starfish's various takes on the trend, with a floral, floor-length wrap dress and the "Sibling" skirt, worn under a knit top; and Lonely Hearts' pleated skirt and floral smock dress, both cut off just above the ankle at midi-length.

8. Shearling

A no-brainer for winter, and an extension of the fur and texture trend: shearling detail on jackets and coats. Lonely Hearts has a cropped shearling jacket, in tan and black, while Cooper by Trelise has a duffel coat with shearling detail (Cooper by Trelise green Beret "Khaki Angels" coat, $695), Neverblack has jackets and vests with fleece collars, and Cybele lines hoods with faux-rabbit fur.

9. Leopard print

A trend that has crossed the high-low fashion divide. While leopard print traditionally suggests something naughty, for winter it has more of a cutesy vibe: see Huffer's knit leopard T-shirt, Cooper by Trelise's leopard print pussybow blouse and Sylvester's 1960s-esque fuzzy fur coat ($425) and bag ($275). There's also a matching hat. But the easiest way to reference this trend is also the most ubiquitous: accessories, like David Lawrence's leather pony hair leopard belt ($49).

10. Velvet

Not as bold a statement as fur, but almost as prevalent throughout the collections, the luxe, "touch-me" fabric appears everywhere from Cybele to Kate Sylvester to Lonely Hearts to Twenty-seven Names to Hailwood - we like his velvet polka dot pieces.

11. Graphics

Designers get graphic for winter, from the bold to the abstract. As seen at Cybele, with beautiful rippling water and volcano prints; Trelise Cooper, who uses sequins on dresses and tops to mimic the look of stained glass church windows; Jimmy D in the form of digitally printed silk, a collaboration with artist Andrew McLeod; and Salasai, with a graphic landscape image of the sky and land.

12. Bomber jackets

While these sound like they should be part of the prep school or sporty trends, we've seen lots of bomber/Letterman jackets around for winter so think they deserve to be a hit on their own. Zambesi Menswear have been doing them for a while, while they appear for women at Kate Sylvester, Twenty-seven Names and World, who up the glamour stakes with sequinned sleeves.

13. Mixed texture

Zambesi's winter collection is a riot of texture and fabric, with brocade, sheer nylon, lace, shaggy fur and more, layered to create something interesting. The key is keeping the textures in similar colours, so as to not look like you simply threw everything you own on. Other designers who reference the clash include Kate Sylvester (fine knits with whimsical chiffon and leather, sequins with mesh, and some lace), and Karen Walker, with dresses that combine parka nylon skirt bottoms with sweatshirting tops.

14. Big coats

How to make coats look fresh for another winter? Wear them oversized, or borrowed from a man friend; exaggerated lapel and collar detail works too - try Helen Cherry's camel "Emilia" coat with wide lapels, Zambesi's oversized cocoon-shaped coats, Hailwood's bottle green coat with wide lapels, Karen Walker's oversized chunky wool Grandpa dinner coats, Madame Hawke's "Heirloom" coat with its oversized shawl collar, or Lonely Hearts' loose fitting shearling lined or hole-punched trenchcoat. Cybele's coats feel particularly strong for winter, with several that sum up the look: the "Premonition" and "Procession" coats are big and oversized with a cocoon-like in shape to envelope yourself in against the elements.

15. Printed pants

Otherwise known as "funny" or wacky pants, usually cropped just above the ankle and worn loose - as seen at Madame Hawke (florals), Stolen Girlfriends Club (hydrangeas and cigarettes), Cooper by Trelise (sequins), Sylvester (polka dots) and Karen Walker (peg print boat pants, $330).

16. Sheer

Jimmy D sums up this look best for winter, with a collection the designer described as "drippy" - fabrics are sheer, oversized and billowy, moving as you move; but it's a controlled chaos. Huffer do sheer in a more commercial way, with sheer inserts on cute dresses; while Twenty-seven Names' sheer shirting shows a hint of what's underneath.

17. Aww, cute

Some designers have gone crazy for leopard print, and others have embraced animals in a more literal way with animal motifs. Federation offer their own take on the classic "Hang in there, Baby" cat poster with their "Hang in there Baby" cat hoodie ($149.95), while at Cooper by Trelise there are cartoon foxes, velvet flamingos and geometric mooses. Karen Walker's winter collection is heavy on prints, including pants, blouses, dresses and T-shirts covered in little birds; while Ruby includes raccoon prints on tees and sweaters. At Lonely Hearts, their mascot for winter is a cheeky raccoon, or the "little bandit" the collection is named after, who appears on raglan and baseball tees (both $170).

18. Pleating

However you like your pleats - knife, box, narrow, wide, long, short - you will find something this winter. Many designers are enamoured with the movement that pleats offer this season, from Salasai's kilts and pleated "Grace" dress ($500) to Karen Walker's knee-length skirts with sharp pleats to State of Grace's wide pleated skirts.

19. Knits

Knitwear for winter isn't exactly pushing the boundaries of fashion, but this season we think there are a few stand-out knits that deserve a special mention: Juliette Hogan's sweet hand-knit sweaters, so you can channel your inner Sweater Girl, Salasai's two-tone "Cardinal" cardigan, Lonely Hearts' camel chunky knit sweater, Stolen Girlfriends Club's preppy angora pieces and Workshop Denim's slouchy v-neck sweaters.

20. Lace

Lace continues to dominate for another season; with the focus on sophisticated black and virginal white lace. We don't see this trend going anywhere.

- NZ Herald

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