Paris autumn/winter 2014 womenswear trends

The FT’s fashion editor highlights the main trends at Paris Fashion Week

All-in-one (and one for all)

The all-in-one jumpsuit, or playsuit (take your pick), is one of those fashion items that just won’t go away. It has been ubiquitous for so long that it is perhaps time we stopped calling it a trend and started thinking of it as what it now appears to be: a staple. In the light of this, we think it deserves a proper, grown-up name – and we would like to propose “all-in-one” (it has a certain logical resonance, you have to admit). Strapless and silken for evening, knit and comfy for day, floral and high-necked for, well, pretty much anytime, the all-in-one is an all-the-time, all-the-places item. You might as well invest.

Duvet couture

And you thought you would have to leave your comforter behind when you got out of bed in the morning. Pshaw: now you can take your bed with you. And not only when you just step out to buy some milk, but when you go to a cocktail party, too. Down quilting – or leather quilting, or nylon quilting – was everywhere in Paris but there was nothing slopes-puffa about it; this was like a sartorial sleeping bag for the chic. Why is obvious: don’t we all need a security blanket now and then, the puffier and more enveloping the better? Especially when times are tough, international relations frayed and life all just seems a little, well, down.


Forget cleavage – that’s so last season. Legs? Very yesterday. Backs? Old hat (to mix a metaphor). The latest body part to be designated a sartorial It zone is the waist. And here’s the good news: no exposure is involved. Belted, beribboned, chained or otherwise emphasised, from coat to cocktail dress to suit, the midsection has been subdued, albeit in an easy-to-imitate way that creates curves on pretty much any shape, and for pretty much any age. It’s an all-purpose, extremely feminine silhouette with its own sort of pulling power. And that means there’s no way for us to resist the conclusion: waist not, want a lot.

Zip me up, zip me down

The toothsome track of a zipper is not the most obvious decoration for clothes (that would be sequins and bugle beads and paillettes, oh my!). Yet this week in Paris it proved, surprisingly, Most Popular. The combination of metallic shine and gritty utility equalled irresistible adornment for everyone from Dries Van Noten to Stella McCartney. Zippers snaked around collars, split up sleeves, criss-crossed coats and otherwise lit up the catwalks with a touch of urban, sportswear attitude – the next step following last season’s obeisance to all things athletic. What happens when you take the function out of the fastening? Fashion.

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