Fashion: Winter's coming and it's time to join the velvet revolution
From the catwalks to the high street, everyone's got a crush on velvet this season. Katie Wright runs down your soft but chic autumn buys
AFTER a couple of seasons skirting on the style peripheries, the velvet revolution has arrived in full force for AW16.
Roberto Cavalli and Alberta Ferretti took the tailored route with languid suiting in Milan, while Preen's standout rouched dresses sent the front row wild in London, and Valentino's mustard yellow swing dress set hearts racing in Paris.
Now the high street has embraced the touchable textile for autumn and, thankfully, it's not all gothic and gloomy.
Rich hues and modern cuts mean there's something for everyone to love about this season's softly-softly approach...
DRESSES TO IMPRESS
Traditionally an eveningwear fabric, velvet now rules around the clock.
Summer's pinafore and slip dresses have been reincarnated for the colder months – instead of layering over a white tee, a fine-guage knit is what you need - but there are still plenty of show-stopping frocks to choose from when soiree season comes around.
Up the ante on an LVD (little velvet dress, obviously) with sparkling accessories, or anchor your look around a jewel-toned midi dress and add a contrasting clutch and shoes.
:: Dorothy Perkins Purple Velvet Midi Dress, £48; Gold Glitter Heels, £32 (shoes in stores in November; www.dorothyperkins.com)
:: Kim Claret Dress, £85 (available soon; LittleBlackDress.co.uk)
:: Monsoon Levana Velvet Midi Dress, £109 (www.monsoon.co.uk)
It's no surprise the belted rose pink pyjama-esque two-piece Alberta Ferretti sent down her AW16 catwalk spawned a multitude of high street copies, and truth be told, they're all just as covetable - you'll get major style points for making one your party season LBD-alternative.
By day, a dark, loose-cut velvet blazer solves a ton of wardrobe conundrums, while wide-leg trousers are the perfect conduit to carry your lace-edged silk camis into winter.
:: Damsel in a Dress Bowie Jacket, £199; Lia Frill Blouse, £89; Carrington Trouser, £89 (trousers and boots stylist's own; www.damselinadress.co.uk)
:: Peacocks Jacket, £25; Trousers, £20 (available end of October; www.peacocks.co.uk)
:: Anthropologie Eve Velvet Blazer, £118; White Top, £88 (available soon); Pilcro Parallel Jeans, currently reduced to £40.95 from £98 (www.anthropologie.com)
:: Monsoon Vivienne Velvet Wideleg Trousers, £69 (www.monsoon.co.uk)
If soft tailoring isn't your sweet spot, the quick-fix way to channel velvety vibes is with a bomber jacket.
Equal parts sporty and sleek, plain black looks chic paired with side-stripe joggers or loose 'mom' jeans and trainers, while an embellished bomber makes a statement after dark.
:: Miss Selfridge Velvet Bomber Jacket, £150 (in store October 24; www.missselfridge.com)
:: Sistaglam Velvet Bomber Jacket, £58 (www.sistaglam.co.uk)
Velvet shoes fall into two camps this season, your dance floor essentials being Seventies-homage platform sandals - the higher the heel, the better.
Boot-wise, the 60s-inspired block heel is where it's at.
Think burgundy, inky blue and bottle green hues – anything from ankle length to over-the-knee – and you're on the right lines.
:: Dorothy Perkins Burgundy Ariana Velvet Boots, £45 (www.dorothyperkins.com)
:: Evans Red Velvet Platform Heel Sandals, currently reduced to £34.20 from £45 (www.evans.co.uk)
GET THE LOOK
She looked super-glam at the red carpet premiere of the latest Dan Brown adaptation Inferno, but it's Felicity Jones' practical on-screen style we're hankering after right now. The beauty's cool but classic parka, seen at the film's frantic climax, was specially designed for her by Italian sportswear brand Peuterey and is available now at Luisaviaroma.com, in khaki or black. This is one well-made winter coat that will last a lifetime.
:: Peuterey Felicity Taffeta Down Coat, £648 (Luisaviaroma.com)
BUY IT NOW
Following the success of its plus-size range in spring, River Island has unveiled RI Petite, aimed at women who are 5ft 3in and under. The 70-piece collection, available exclusively online from October 21, features many of the season's key trends – puffa coats, Victoriana details and a dash of sequins - with cuts and hems tailored to suit the petite figure.
:: RI Petite Leopard Coat, £80; Pink Jumper, £30; Jeans, £42; Earrings, £10 (www.riverisland.com)
:: SIZING UP CUSTOMERS
With their spindly limbs and plain weird poses, shop mannequins don't exactly reflect real life. But that's not the case at Long Tally Sally, where a mannequin based on a real customer has just been unveiled. In a British fashion industry first, the brand used 3D scanning and printing technology to create a model fashioned on Harriet Winters, who's an IT contractor, 6ft tall and size 14. With more brands now using a range of models in campaigns and online, isn't it time shop floors followed suit?
Tights don't tend to be expensive, but when you think about the countless pairs that end up abandoned after just a few wears due to ladders, the costs can add up. New Couture Ultimates, on the other hand, are completely ladder-proof, thanks to their special vertical knit structure, and every pair in the range – comprised of nine patterns (including black opaques) and four different sizes – is under £15.
:: Couture Ultimates Diana Tights, £12.50 (UKTights.com)