I recently re-watched the 2009 documentary The September Issue, a behind-the-scenes look at how US Vogue builds the most important issue of the year.
My favourite scene is the one where then fashion director Grace Coddington, who vacated her post as creative director in 2016 for the more fluid role of creative director at large, is grappling with a “texture” theme shoot, her choices of clothing seemingly attracting the chagrin of editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who appears to approve or veto every item for every shoot (a nightmare situation for fashion editors that I don’t think happens widely in Australia, at least not at the magazines I have worked).
Rachael Finch wearing mesh Demkiw to the Myer Spring Racing Lunch at Flemington on September 13. Photo: Adam Nalapraya
While I think Wintour actually comes off as likeable in the film, the texture scene is proof that one person’s trend is another’s travesty.
But this summer, don’t be surprised if someone walks up to you and asks, completely innocently, to touch your skirt, such is the pervasiveness of texture in this summer’s styles.
Lace has been around for a few years but feathers and mesh are making their mark as the mercury heats up.
White hot … Penelope Cruz in Atelier Swarovski at the Venice Film Festival on September 6. Photo: AP
One of the statement staples is a black feathered miniskirt, which can be dressed up with a sequinned top, or down with a T-shirt and boots. Great examples come from Australian labels Asilio and Aje, or Milly if you are looking further afield. Just have a broom at the ready as you invariably drop feathers in your wake.
Aje’s Edwina Robinson says feathers are a way for designers to create soft texture and subtle movement in pieces.
“It strikes the perfect balance juxtaposed against our tough fabrications such as leather and denim,” she says.
Nicole Kidman in Dior at the NGV Gala in Melbourne in August. Photo: AP
If you were watching closely at Aje’s resort show in Sydney in May, you may have spotted a feathered heel, which the brand is releasing to the public in November, just in time for the summer party season.
And textures like feathers and mesh are great for the party season, when you’re looking for something a little extra, according to Renee Enright, who is working with Westfield this summer as resident stylist.
“Peekaboo cutouts with mesh detailing are a huge part of the naked dress trend … The key to pulling off a mesh look is to layer, partnering with clean fabrics and structured styles. When it comes to feathers, less is more – keep feathers as the main attraction to your look and don’t over accessorise,” she says.
Model Winnie Harlow combines mesh and feathers to perfection at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards. Photo: PA
Rather than adding bling, embolden the look with colour, advises Enright.
“This season it’s all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new, so a mix and match of colours and textures is a great way to do that,” she says.
But if you are more comfortable in neutrals, labels such as newcomer Demkiw, which made its debut at Melbourne Fashion Week is using black mesh to great effect, as seen on Rachael Finch at the Myer Spring Fashion Lunch in Melbourne this month.
When the weather is cool at the track, as it so often is, adding a mesh layer can give just that extra bit of warmth, without adding unnecessary bulk. Find a funnel neck piece with a hint of sparkle and everyone will think you’re ready to party, and not just feeling the chill.
Get the look
We Are Kindred, $299.
Alessandra Rich from Stylebop.com, $5030.
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