by Camilla Ridley
From the catwalks to the collections, the mood has changed. Autumn 21 is all about stepping up our style and expressing optimism through our wardrobe
The catwalks for Autumn 21 have been packed with colour, print and a more defined styles that celebrates our re-emergence (from left to right) Pucci, Duro Olowu and Ermano Scervino
Finally it appears life might be approaching some sort of normality again. And fashion is transitioning into celebration with this season’s key trends highlighting both our primal needs of social interaction and self-gratification. With vaccines seemingly working, serious case numbers far lower than before and children back at school, autumn fashion trends are responding with ‘dopamine dressing.’ It’s that neurological hit of euphoria one gets from sporting an ensemble that makes the simple statement: I’m thrilled to be back. As Eugenie Trochu highlights in French Vogue this month, ‘First and foremost, this season set out to make us dream. The pieces were infused with a festive optimism, to bring us some shine until the celebrations can start up again.’
To help you pep up your autumn wardrobe, we’ve compiled our concise take on this season’s most wearable key trends. The ones that are really going to flatter and go the extra mile for you in terms of comfort and versatility, while most importantly offering some much needed longevity. These trends are most definitely here to stay. After all, if there’s one thing that’s emerged into our collective zeitgeist over the last two years it’s a brand of fashion with greater consciousness. And let’s face it, nothing says this better than investing in a few carefully curated ‘go to’ pieces that you know you’re going to wear time and time again. And even better are made sustainably, locally and to last. After all, why should dopamine dressing have a time stamp. Especially as this autumn and the future is suddenly looking very bright.
1. Saturation Overload
Runways have been popping with bold colour as designers look to capture a sense of collective joy. We've massively embraced colour intensity at Ridley London this autumn with bold printed silks in a spectrum of vivid hues as demonstrated here by our new statement Octavia silk Midaxi dress
Elevated colour intensity is the most obvious expression of joy. The catwalks saw not just a parade of fluorescents but additionally, colours of deep intensity termed by Pantone as ‘meaningful’ and ‘stripped back’ to ‘endure.’ It is the brilliance of intensified recognisable hues that inspires our internal circuitry to reward us with the sensation of pleasure. Just as it is with monochromes, Ridley has curated a collection of prints in high intensity chromatic designs that escalate with the heightened effect of saturated colour dye on natural fibres. Our fuchsia studio silk satin, a fusion of vibrant fuchsia, periwinkle, chartreus and gold, incorporates both floral and bold geometric shapes creating a fantasy of vibrant colour and design. Brilliant and bold designs draped to accentuate the body at the waist and exaggerate in the sleeves and skirt, as in our Octavia midaxi dress, flatter every woman’s shape. Moreover, bold prints in classic designs live on in perpetuity, satisfying our concerns of sustainability and investment dressing.
2. Fabric Fusions
This season's trend for printed patchwork is aptly shown here by (top left to right) Duro Olowu and Armani. Meanwhile a number of Ridley London dresses and skirts are available in a choice of printed floral fabric combinations like our Sadie Swing dress (bottom)
There is no better cure for the blues than a cocktail of different fabric designs expertly crafted in one garment. We were delighted to welcome the return of patchwork at the Autumn 2021 shows. WWD describes the aesthetic as ‘offering both a nostalgic, personal feel and optimism through vibrant, lively designs.’ The trend has been embraced by Etro, Dolce Gabana and Chloe. French Vogue describes the trend as ‘A feat in geometric style.’ We’ve previously fashioned off cuts in our maxi skirts, mixing complementary, though completely different floral prints. This season, we’ve turned up the volume mixing both bold and finer floral prints in our Sadie swing dress in silk crepe de chine. Minimising waste to create a sustainable product, the effect is spectacularly modern, yet classic.
3. Geometry Class
Elevated versions of geometric prints have been spotted across all the key collections and shows for this autumn including (from top left to right) Marc Jacobs, Burberry and Stella McCartney. We've also embraced geometry here at Ridley London this winter with a spectrum of beautiful printed Liberty silks as shown here on our new blouse and versatile Milly shirt dress
Geometric prints in the form of elevated versions of recognisable patterns graced the catwalks of the Autumn 21 shows. Gone is the classic argyle in favour of modernised exaggerated versions from Burberry, Altuzarra and Staud. As Harper’s Bazaar cheekily put it, ‘Geometry class is now in session.’ Victoria Beckham showed an abstract geometric scarf print in the form of a dress with pleated skirt, a daring ensemble of colour and drape. It’s a bonus if the print features a mix of geometric patterns to fulfil the full effect of the trend. Our Autumn collection features geometric prints in vibrant fuchsia, teal and gold, as in our versatile Milly shirt dress. This season you can extend your collection of go to silk blouses with our geometric print in Mandarin, blue, black and gold. It harks back to early Wallace Sewell moquette designs amped with deliciously vibrant colours.
4. Floral Fantasy Dresses
Escapism doesn't come much more feminine than beautiful floral dresses and has introduced a much needed feel good factor across multiple designer collections including (from left to right) Rodarte and Altzura. Our sleek new Ridley London Livia Midaxi dress can be made to measure from a whole spectrum of beautiful winter florals
Winter florals are the antidote to PCSD (post covid stress disorder). It’s more than bringing the outdoors in, it is a case of extending that which we enjoyed in summer, celebrating the colours of the current season. As Charlotte Diamond for Vogue put it, ‘Though we know and love bright, punchy, flowery prints as the hero pattern of spring and summer, fall-hued florals are sure to become equally as popular this season.’ And what’s more, cheerful chintz versatile. The darker hues are flexible, transitioning seamlessly into colder weather. As Jane McFarlane of The Times described the autumn floral dress, ‘It’ll look great with tights and under a black coat. You can wear it with boots or loafers, and come December it’ll double up as an ideal day-to-night-to-late-night festive number.’ The catwalk was replete with floral designs at the Autumn 2021 shows. Zimmerman focused their collection on monochrome chintz in soft blues, golds and rose, while Balenciaga showed stamped chintz on quilted coats and suiting and Dior haute couture showed ditzy florals on silk chiffon. This season Ridley has curated a collection of two toned floral prints in smaller patterns as well as large patterned florals from Emma Mawston for a varied look. We’ve chosen vibrant autumnal florals for suiting and coats, elevating traditional styles into sumptuous mood lifters.
5. Tailoring Re-Definition
What better way to bring your autumn wardrobe up to date than with some on trend tailoring shown here from (top left to right) by Ermano Scervino, Stella McCartney and Tom Ford. Our new Ridley London collection of velvet blazers can be customised to fit and with your choice of printed silk lining
The post lockdown catwalks have seen a move away from the frothy and floaty towards a sharper more defined line and style. Witness the return of the 90's body con trend, representing a reinvigorated interest in more body conscious dressing and a perfect visual metaphor for the shedding of those lock down calories. Whilst not every woman feels comfortable in skin tight dresses and all in ones, a sleeker line and fitted form is more elegantly achieved with well tailored pieces. Suiting was a prominent trend for Autumn 2021 with Blazers ubiquitous on the catwalk in the Autumn. Gucci, Celine, YSL and Ermano Scervino served velvet tailored blazers and pant suits in rich autumnal hues reminiscent of the jackets we saw from Tom Ford for Gucci in the early noughts. Interestingly, Gucci has positioned its velvet pieces as gender neutral, signalling an enduring trend. We’ve introduced a tailored velvet blazer in a spectrum of luxe colours to the collection that lifts the vibrant colours in our prints and delineates the body accentuating the waist and contrasting it with the skirt for effect. With a pair of boots, this look easily transitions to colder weather taking you both fashionably and comfortably into the winter months.
6. Sassy Shirt Dresses
The shirt dress trend carries on from summer with versions spotted across multiple collections...and why wouldn't it...they're just so easy and versatile. (from top left to right) by Kenneth Ize and Chloe (Bottom) our versatile Ridley London Milly printed silk shirt dress shown here in one of our bold new geometrics
You can relax in the knowledge that our favourite through on dress is here to stay. In sharper cuts, more sophisticated prints and bolder patterned designs, the reliable shirtdress will transition into the colder months with style. Talia Abas mused in Glamour about our love affair with the shirtdress, ‘A celeb favorite, the shirtdress is an effortlessly cool wardrobe staple with tons of versatility and layering potential for transitioning between seasons.’ And Charlie Gowans Eglinton for The Times writes, 'The shirtdress has just a touch of back to school nostalgia for those who crave it, and plenty of new-season freshness.' For our Autumn collection, we’ve included classic silhouettes in rich Autumn hues. Tiered skirts and fitted waists flatter the form whilst supporting bold patterns in rich colours for a sophisticated shirtdress2.0
This season's trend knits balance comfort with style by (from top left to right) Chloe, Philip Lim. Our new collection of handknits in collaboration with Virgina Wool can be customised to order in a multitude of striking soft yarns
We all need a bit of comfort as the temperature drops and yet, but don't want to sacrifice sophistication. This season’s trend for knits gets the balance just right. ‘It’s a way of dressing that’s both easy on the eyes and the wearer’s body,’ Madeline Fass writes for Vogue. This season’s knitwear is more figure conscious with exaggerated cables in resplendent colours. Bottega Veneta, Proenza Schouller and Altuzarra showed body hugging knitwear in luxe colours. Here at Ridley, we’ve embraced the trend with a collection of made to order hand knits to order chuncky cable knit jumpers, tanks and cardigans from Virginial Wool in rich autumnal hues . These sweaters are a more gregarious cousin of the traditional cable and fit quite nicely with the apres ski trend present at Chanel, Fendi and Prada Autumn shows. According to Vassi Chamberlain of The Times, ‘that high glamour look in now enjoying a revival.’
The luxurious new Ridley London collection for autumn-winter is available to purchase on-line and in Ridley's London store. Celebrate your individuality with a unique piece that's made to measure from your choice of any of our stunning new printed floral and geometric silks or cottons. Call us to arrange a virtual fitting:
Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 01730 823097