The AW16 trend report: your ultimate guide to the new fashion season

Caroline Leaper

aw16 fashion

When SS16 has barely kicked off, we do feel slightly weird about decoding AW16’s fashion trends right now...

But, really, next season’s styles will be around in a fashion flash, and before we know it, we’ll long for that sweetheart-neck dress, be completely up for dousing ourselves in lilac, and will be just dreaming of the day that we can swoosh around in our finest new ruffles.

These are the AW16 trends to start swotting up on now…

Hello, Sweetheart
The neckline to know for AW16? Dior, Kenzo, Miu Miu… all of PFW’s star players were enamoured with fashion's most romantic shape, the sweetheart. Layer it, accessorise it, or just let it show off that décolletage. Balenciaga even gave theirs a sportswear spin, un-zipping bomber jackets so that they fell off the shoulder, just so.

Below image: Balenciaga, Kenzo, Dior and Prada autumn 2016 fashion shows

Elevated Sportswear
One man leads the luxe sportswear revolution; Demna Gvasalia, the designer behind the hottest new name in Paris Vetements, as well as one of the city's institutions, Balenciaga. Hoodies and anoraks, he says, are best worn with glossy leather skinnies, full skirts and ornate earrings.

Below: Vetements, Chloe and Balenciaga fashion shows

Like Velvet
The season’s key fabric to note? Velvet. Wear it crushed, coloured or top-to-toe, anything goes as long as you don’t ruin those Ellery boots in the rain.

Below: Valentino, Rochas, Preen and Ellery autumn 2016 fashion shows

The New Nautical
That Mrs Prada is a genius, isn’t she? She’s teaming Popeye hats with cotton corset belts and charm packed chokers for the freshest new take on nautical we’ve seen in years. Elsewhere, designers from Tommy Hilfiger to Dolce and Gabbana are focusing on the officer’s jacket – it’s embellished frogging a-go-go.

Below: Prada’s autumn 2016 fashion show

Purple Reign

Designers doused entire looks in a sort of sickly shade of violet, giving us this season's stand-out colour trend. In Milan, the Roberto Cavalli collection was injected with the hue in richer brocades and velvets, while in Paris it was a pure sugar fix as Loewe and Miu Miu wrapped models like sweets. Wear top to toe, if you're feeling brave, or embrace in a popping bright accessory.

Below: Michael Kors, Kenzo, Miu Miu and Roberto Cavalli autumn 2016 fashion shows

Midnight Hour
Dressing like the actual night sky is now a thing. In fact we’d say it’s AW16’s prettiest party trend. A galaxy of stars, moons and planet symbols embellished eveningwear across the board – our favourite incarnation being Alexander McQueen’s otherworldly dresses, smattered with glittering constellations. Magical.

Below: Alexander McQueen autumn 2016 fashion show

Return Of The (Special) Mac
A new autumn season would be nothing without a good coat trend, and for AW16 it is, quite literally, the return of the mac. Burberry's iconic trenches came clad in glossy snake prints, Prada's featured patchworks of rich brocades and Celine's supple leather versions were shot with colour.

Below: Burberry, Celine, Gucci and Prada autumn 2016 fashion shows

Check On It
The Prince Of Wales check is the season’s most surprising comeback kid seen all over the tailoring scene in Paris. Elsewhere, houndstooth, plaid, tartan and gingham were all featured - bonus points to Victoria Beckham who managed to work as many grids as possible into a single look.
Below: Victoria Beckham autumn 2016 fashion show 

Animal Magic
Spot the spots. Are they leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or some other wild cat altogether? But it doesn’t matter which print you pick, when designers from Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, Francisco Costa at Calvin Klein are splicing all of their favourite animal motifs into single looks.

Below: Bottega Veneta, Dolce and Gabbana, Calvin Klein and Givenchy autumn 2016 fashion shows


We love a ruffle for AW16 just as much as we do right now. For winter, the options are heavier and cosier - think JW Anderson’s leather layers, or Gucci’s scrunchy knitted capes.

Below: Gucci autumn 2016 fashion show

The Eighties Are Back (Again!)
Want evidence? See Isabel Marant and Saint Laurent’s one-shoulder party dresses, or, brace yourself, the stirrup leggings that made a comeback at Marni. Jane Fonda will be pleased.

Below: Isabel Marant and Saint Laurent autumn 2016 fashion shows

Posh Puffa
Our worried mothers will rejoice at the number of sensible coat options to pick from on the AW16 catwalks. The couture puffa is (literally) the season’s biggest option, as spotted at DKNY, Stella McCartney, Balenciaga and beyond.

Below: Stella McCartney, Marques Almeida and Balenciaga autumn 2016 fashion shows

Brocade Parade

Burberry, Michael Kors and Mary Katrantzou are giving us the most decadent textile offerings of all - brocades so shimmering and so structured that they look like actual hammered metals. Folks, AW16 is the season to shine.

Below: Michael Kors autumn 2016 fashion show


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Saturday 27 August

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