While the fashion circus continues in New York before it makes its way to London on Friday, a smaller, but no less important, fashion event took place in our fair city. Pure London is a twice-yearly trade show filled with high street-type brands, and its purpose is to give boutique buyers a chance to see the next season's collections first-hand and place their orders.
I go to Pure whenever I have the opportunity because it gives me a good sense of what us 'real' people (i.e., those of us that can't really afford to buy a new designer wardrobe every season) are actually going to be wearing in six months' time. With the likes of Almost Famous, Petit Bateau, Glamorous and Jovonna represented on the shop floor, it's probably just as well visitors can't shop straight off the rails, or I'd probably have cleared them out (and my bank account in the process).
One of the real highlights for me, however, was the WGSN Trend Forecast seminar. WGSN is the global authority when it comes to trend analysis and forecasting for the fashion industry, and retailers rely heavily on its reports to help them design collections and plan their buying strategy. This kind of insider knowledge doesn't come cheap, of course, so when you have an opportunity to hear Lorna Hall, WGSN's Head of Retail and Strategy, telling you what's going to be big next season, you'd better listen up.
(L-R) Alexander McQueen pre-fall 2014; Chloé pre-fall 2014
First up, colour: you won't be surprised to learn that black will be ubiquitous for winter, but it will take the form of slightly tinted blacks with subtle undertones of other colours, and layered in lots of different textures. The macaron pastels that have been really popular this winter will also return next season, particularly in the form of coats.
(L-R) 3.1 Phillip Lim pre-fall 2014, Christopher Kane pre-fall 2014
The more interesting colour revelations are cinnamon brown and forest green – though not necessarily together. These are more likely to be used as accent colours than base colours (which will be dominated by the aforementioned blacks and a palette of industrial greys). Lorna made particular reference to faux fur in the forest green, and I'm really looking forward to seeing that in the shops.
(L-R) House of Holland pre-fall 2014, Lanvin pre-fall 2014
If you're wondering what your winter coat is going to look like, Lorna has a few ideas. A new longer-line take on the bomber jacket looks promising, along with oversized borrowed-from-the-boys coat shapes, and you can expect to see sleeveless coats making a comeback, as they're proving popular despite their apparent impracticality.
(L-R) DKNY pre-fall 2014, Jonathan Saunders pre-fall 2014
The sportswear influence that we've seen a lot of in recent seasons isn't going anywhere but it will be felt in a more subtle way in the A/W14 collections, with just hints of sporty details like zips and technical fabrics. The omnipresent sweatshirt will morph into the sweatshirt dress, with crew-neck boyfriend jumpers set to take its place. And if you've been umming and ahhing over those 'fashion' track pants, buy them – they will still be on-trend in the winter. You'll be able to wear them with your 'fashion' trainers, which are also here to stay (thanks Karl).
(L-R) Matthew Williamson pre-fall 2014, Kenzo pre-fall 2014
Although Lorna says there isn't a great deal of print and pattern around, those that will be popular include dark Gothic-tinged winter florals and really bright plaids, with fluffy, brushed fabric textures offset by the more graphic, masculine silhouettes.
(L-R) Valentino pre-fall 2014, Christian Dior pre-fall 2014
And if you're going to invest in a handbag between now and next season, look for something simplistic and luxurious to carry you through – large totes and drawstring hobo bags are two key shapes. As for shoes, ankle strap courts and pastel-coloured menswear-inspired flats are the ones to put your best foot forward in. And a note on jewellery: Lorna says her team has seen a recent resurgence of birthstone jewels – a sentimental trend I find rather endearing.
What do you think of WGSN's predictions? Will you be buying into these trends next season?