Return of the Dandy | Jessica McBride

Fashion, in many ways, is about dreams and predictions. Part of its allure is that it offers up a kind of escapism dissimilar to other amusements; with clothes, living a dream is almost attainable, while the likes of cinema only expound illusion. Predictions, meanwhile, are one of the great features of fashion – whether it’s foreseeing coming trends, or just a future in that dress.

Daylight is now in short supply, and the cold and downcast Glasgow weather looms. Fitting, then, that we can find escapism whilst nestling into extra layers. There is an abundance of dazzling colours and dramatic prints and weaves to stave off any offending winter chill. It’s time to go into a hibernation filled with eclectic glamour and eccentric modes.

Drape yourself in warm tones and deluxe fabrics, whether it’s worn soft cashmere from charity shops, or heavy knits from the high street. If there is any overriding trend this season, it’s the almighty discord between the match-clash of pattern and colour versus the sculptural form.

Clash-matching is all about a diverse melting pot of ideas about shapes, colour and ornament. Running low on funds? Never fear, this is the best opportunity to rummage through the back of the closet and rediscover something old and create anew. If you’re looking for fresh items, then think adornment mix — feathers, metal, sequins, jingling charms and fringing. For form, look at layering with non-conformist fabrics and colours, and you may find a pleasant surprise.

The sculptural form is angular to the extreme: it’s all about the folds and contours of origami, as Roland Mouret showed this season. Since the V&A celebrated the Golden Age of Couture, and Azzedine Alaia and the the Spice Girls getting back on the scene, girl power is certainly going to be around a while longer yet, but with a twist. It oozes elegance but has a laid-back edge. The attention is on the tailoring, with little ornamental detailing, while interest lies in an added quirky twist, which can be found in a ruffled blouse or a statement piece. Finally, a bold colour makes an impact.

One star item reflects the mood of the moment more than any other — hats, whatever shape, fabric or colour. They’ll liven up anything and create something completely unique. As for shoes, gone are ballet flats now that avant-garde heels have arrived. Gucci did it first with the ‘banana’ heel (a distinct curve from the bottom reaching to the heel) which has broken the mould. Brogues have been resurrected and appear to be the most versatile. With gems, patents, and crocodile leathers, these shoes have never looked so indulgent.

And lets not forget the gents: dandyism is on the rise. Smart trousers coupled with tux shirts are the vanguard. It is, by far, the more sophisticated style compared with the metro, or the libertine (yes, I mean the scraggly wreck that is Mr Doherty). The likes of Oscar Wilde never appeared more fascinating.

If there is anything more to be said, then it is this: don’t think of winter as the season to hide, but revel in the opportunity to escape into aesthetic over-indulgence. Soon you’ll be looking so fabulous that you’ll forget the bleak and downtrodden weather.


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