I always find November as a very complicated period for dressing. At this point, let’s forget about the pleasure of September clothes, which feel so fresh, when you take them out of your wardrobe after summer season of shorts and t-shirts. Still, November isn’t December: Christmas and festive mood isn’t present yet. November is November. Occasional sun deceives you, just like the yellow leaves – in fact, it’s so, so COLD.
Some designers, who live in a real world, understand those down-to-earth human needs, which touch all of us in the late autumn. I’m honest: I’m really not into resort collections, which start to hit the stores. Also, the idea that I will need to survive entire autumn in a biker jacket, as most of pre-fall and winter collections say, doesn’t appeal to me even a bit. That’s why I treasure brands like Holland & Holland. Re-invented by two, fantastic women, Stella Tennant and Isabella Cawdor, the historic British brand puts emphasis on classical tweed, knitted goods, shirts, outerwear, tailoring and accessories. Tennant and Cawdor certainly know what does it mean to feel the November chill – both of them live in Scottish highlands, and are surrounded by moors since childhood. Looking at the look-book of their autumn-winter 2016 collection, you will believe them – a pair of woollen pants and a fur-trimmed parka won’t let you catch a cold. Just like at The Row, where Olsen sisters wait for you with ankle-lenght astrakhan coats and double-face cashmere sweaters.
Phoebe Philo, the woman for women at Céline, knows that layering is the key, and there is no autumn without over-sized pants, soft turtlenecks and well-tailored coats. That’s obvious, looking at her newer, and older collections (which seem to be endlessly relevant, by the way). No one does wool jackets like Hillier Bartley – modelled on classic British riding styles, a Hound’s-tooth ensemble instantly stole my heart. British and American designers are the ones who you can rely on in case of autumn essentials. Count on Italians, too – Miuccia Prada’s genius AW16 at her main line has a say in terms of coats and knits.
Parisian designers have a different attitude towards November-dressing, and to understand that, take a glance at Lemaire‘s autumn outing of pure French chic. Subtle silhouettes, like fine, black coats or cable-knits with Elizabethan sleeves define the word ‘cozy’ like no other. You can grab those clothes, and go out, without a second thought.
One of my favourite collections ever, which I tend to look back at quite frequently during November evenings, is Haider Ackermann‘s 2014 collection. Kept in various shades of grey and brown, Ackermann took a new spin on his eveningwear, delivering floor-sweeping coats and ultra-feminine wide trousers in wool. Pencil skirts and thick blazers – maybe November isn’t that bad, after all? From layers and layers of cashmere to dapper power-dressing, November is the season when you can truly embrace a kind of toned, stately elegance.