Last season the world’s largest apparel retailer Zara paid homage to the notorious flower digital prints of Mary Katrantzou and the ethnic inspired paisley prints of Isabel Marant. Infused into various apparel from sports luxe bomber jackets to silk pyjama attire a la Hugh Hefner, Zara imposes a cheaper alternative to Designer collections for all us women who unfortunately can’t afford the lavish luxuries available at Selfridges.
Largely renowned for its copy and paste tactics; contemporary trends from Stella McCartney’s pinstripe-print tailored suits to Louis Vuitton’s provocative boudoir-esque inspired collection has been injected into the high street stores designs.
As Zara released their November Look Book last week an androgynous sartorial statement was beckoned as the masculine structured designs sat upon the shoulders of models Chiharu Okunugi and Kasia Struss. Opting for neutral tones from beige to navy to a somewhat faded tartan, this falls designs suggests a simple sophisticated motif: over sized ‘cocoon’ coats, cable knit jumpers and loose fitting waistcoats. Despite its masculine attempts, Zara’s November collection does grasp a feminine undertone. Inspect closely and yes, that is a nipple seeping through the titled ‘Extra-Fine Sweater’ worn by Struss, and yes, the thick knit turtleneck has been paired with a faux leather A-line mini skirt.
The merging of masculinity and femininity has always been a contradiction within the fashion world, after all tomboys are sexy, no? Kate Moss, Cara Delevigne, Kristen Stewart all flaunt the IDC (I don’t care) attitude yet always manage to stimulate our fashion senses. Androgyny is not to shy away from, it is to be adopted and nurtured and fed all things provocative. Zara’s Look Book plays with various fashion concepts balancing peplum hem tops with straight leg tailored trousers and school girl pleats with cover-me-up-before-I-catch-a-cold turtlenecks. This sensual suggestion is necessary for any high street winter collection, if we are scratching our eczema caused by the cable-knit material purely for the excuse ‘it’s in fashion’ surely we should at least bear some bottom half purely for fashion audacity.
Don’t forget the ‘faded tartan’ either. Material of the season; infamous for its granny heritage or its dress up endeavours has been seen on various fashion catwalks including Yves Saint Laurent, Moschino and Givenchy. A check clique has evolved, the plaid print has been a fashion frenzy amongst the Zara racks, incorporated into attire from tartan-meets-floral button up shirts to elasticised trousers. Only scarcely advertised on this month’s Look Book however, it appears already the tartan trend is fading away. WRONG. Zara’s ‘hidden sexy’ tactic has been employed, evolved and exhibited by the models: a deep navy check pleated skirt peeping underneath a wool jumper and a colourless check straight leg trouser donned with the ‘extra-fine sweater’.
November’s collection offers a quiet yet queer approach to the season’s designs. The simplistic seeking sexy idea creates a new proposal for women’s wardrobe around the fashion globe. If you do happen to walk/run/strut into Zara this season, pick up a basket and throw in three indispensable items of clothing: something sexy, something sophisticated and something Scottish.