Isabel Marant has an uncanny knack of summing up the look of any season. She may not always offer up the key items everyone is raving over but when those so-called key items are on the clearance rack come the end of the season you realise that the pieces she gave us sold-through as well as being sold-in.
So what’s the big news for AW16? Well, Marant doesn’t really do big news. She does looks and items that tap into (and frequently run just ahead of) the current mood. One point to not is that she’s focusing on the waist but has dropped her flirtation with ultra-high waistlines. Oh, and her pants many not always be skintight but they remain skinny – which is probably bad news for all those attempts to push a wider-cut bottom half silhouette for AW16.
Here’s my top 10 for the new season…
1. Aw, cute…
Marant is known for her cute dresses. This season she keeps them short and frilled but not too fussy. Note the waist emphasis that feels more grown-up, and the shoes that mean they’ll never be too grown-up.
2. Statement blouse
Blouses should be big business for AW16. Marant is tapping into that trend but avoiding some of the elaborate excesses we’ve seen on the runways. Here, hints of sheer and restrained frills work with a close-cut silhouette that feels right.
3. Nuts about knits
Knitwear takes a starring role in most collections for AW16. Marant gives us the statement cardigan that can substitute for a coat or jacket, as well as vintage-influenced sweaters in the season’s popular argyle patterns or as an intricate fine gauge option.
4. Volume control
Marant’s not immune to the volume-focus that’s moving in from stage left. But she keeps it under control. Belts draw in the volume to make it gently sexy. And even without the belt those shoulderlines look dropped, not droopy.
5. Perfect Pantsuit
Pantsuits have been creeping back into the spotlight but designers have struggled to ‘feminise’ them, often choosing to dress them up in female-focused fabrics. Marant’s simple solution is to cut hers slim and to belt it. Job done.
6. Belt up
And talking of belts, as you can see above, Marant put them with (almost) everything. It gave the collection a subtly vintage feel and emphasised the female form without being in-your-face sexy.
7. Tween tweed
OK, this in’t exactly tween territory but you’ll have to forgive the odd pun! Designers have played with tweed this season but while it can look young on the catwalk, when translated to real life, it often feels, well, old. Marant solves this problem by focusing on simplicity, cutting it loose rather than tailored and choosing its combo pieces carefully. The tweed suit just won’t do.
8. Animal appeal
The animal print coat is a must-have for AW16 and Marant keeps hers short and casual. Meanwhile the leopard or cheetah biker jacket helps to update that particular staple. And don’t forget the accessories potential – combining cheetah print with high shine trims and buckles helps to make these boots totally AW16.
9. Shiny happy people
Glossy materials are key for AW16 and in Paris in particular the PVC pant and trench coat has had a starring role. If that level of shine is too much, satin is an easier alternative.
The buckled flat is the key shoe for Marant and a piece that keeps the collection feeling edgy. In fact, she uses accessories to tone down too many hints of formality throughout the collection, whether it’s an animal print belt, a leather bracelet or an oversized safety pin holding a draped and ruffled dress in place.