2012 is a year to celebrate our heritage and the eccentric customs which make ‘Blighty’ so unique.
It has been an exceptional year for Great Britain with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the hosting of the Olympic Games. We have all felt proud of our history over recent months and the autumn/winter catwalks have been reflective of this.
The British Heritage trend is huge this season and has inspired our home-grown designers aswell as being a big statement on the international catwalks. This fresh approach to this classic trend has elements of countryside chic with the Downtown Abbey influence still strong. This is 'cool Britannia'.
The glorious idyllic countryside has long been the location for equestrian sports, rambling and grand stately homes. Indulge your 'huntin', shootin', fishin' aesthetic this season as tweed, plaid and dogtooth are dragged out of the countryside and given a city make-over. It is luxe heritage – sophisticated, yet traditional and practical. Designers revisited all the country classics; corduroy jackets, jodphurs, traditional tailoring, tweed, plaid and fair-isle knits.
This vision of 'shooting-weekend' chic was brilliantly executed at Burberry Prorsum, Christopher Bailey put his own girly twist on this look. His trenchcoats that combined the original mac material and tweed were nipped in at the waist with cute candy coloured bow belts, peplum soft frill pencil skirts were worn with cropped jackets or cosy knits .
Victorian-style jackets cut close to the waist and belted were worn with striped circle skirts. An earthy colour scheme of ochre, grey, muted green and teal adorned striped skirts and floral dresses. Novelty knits came complete with kitsch owl motifs with the clear country influence.
Accessories were key in pulling this look together with tweed flat caps, duffle bags and leather gloves. Finally, as the models took their last turn on the catwalks, the heavens opened and out came the see-through umbrellas for a breath-taking finish.
Although the most obvious trend setter for this style was Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger named this Autumn /Winter collection 'Town and Country’ for a girl “as much at ease at the hunt club as she is on Park Avenue” with his youthful take on rural English classics such as Military coats, re-worked quilted skirts and cable knit jumpers with a preppy girl vibe.
The silhouettes were tight, slim and prim. His country girl looked groomed and expensive in navy suede, sheepskin and fur. Glen plaid and hounds-tooth, meanwhile, offered a classic take on menswear patterns. Highlights included the equestrian-print silk shirtdresses, sleeveless silk dresses in olive green and burgundy with gathered shoulders and leather buckle neck-straps and plum-coloured macs.
Ralph Lauren, Chloe and Michael Kors had Autumn/ Winter all wrapped up with a solid collection of luxurious fur, tweeds and plaids shown in elegant well cut jackets and overcoats. They all paid homage to British Heritage in their catwalk collections.
Wear it well: my must-haves
Wear your version of 'countryside cool' with my following must haves from the High street.
Mango’s Herringbone combi dress £59.99 looks great accessorised with a black waist belt, duffle bag and black riding boots
This heritage hound’s tooth blazer with elbow patches from Zara £69.99 can be dressed down with a khaki shirt and burgundy skinny jeans for a laidback version of the look.
Cable knits in burgundy from Mango is a steal at £34.99
Ted Baker’s luxurious hand knit cable is £129.99.
Topshop’s dramatic take on the textured boyfriend overcoat with black fur collar is £110.
Elsewhere: Mairi explores the military trend