If autumn/winter 2019's biggest fashion story is the contrast between minimal suiting and classic wardrobe staples on the one hand, and ostentatious ball gowns and embellished evening wear on the other, it follows that the accessories trends for the season are split between elegant and extravagant moods.
There was, however, one overriding theme: polish. Wave goodbye to the turbo trainer and welcome the new long, lean knee-high boot, the heeled Mary-Jane and the nifty little kitten heel. It's similarly time to stash that maxi bag and instead invest in a ladylike top-handle bag, or a Seventies bourgeois-style shoulder-bag, to be worn across-the-body or strap scrunched decisively in one elegantly manicured hand.
Also notable: a new energy surrounding jewelery. After seasons of all-out sparkle, organic pearl earrings are enjoying a moment (blame Olivia Colman and The Favourite) as are chunky, choker-length chains. Meanwhile, snakeskin (in myriad faux versions) has replaced last year's sleeper hit, mock-croc, as the textured print to champion now. Oh, and hats have never been more enticing, from the net-adorned buckets at Dior to the beanies worn with ball gowns at Marc Jacobs.
Here's our edit of the biggest accessory trends of autumn/winter 2019.
Stomping into the autumn/winter 2019 trends foreground once more is grunge, and with it, heavyweight boots. Not for the faint of heart, take Prada’s chunky lug-sole combat boot, with its multiple strap-on pockets, as your exemplar, and prepare to channel the fearless attitude that defined its show. Elsewhere, Dior’s glossy hiking boot styles looked primed to take on any terrain (or club basement), while Dries Van Noten and Stella McCartney were keen to usher in the pavement-thumping platform boot in rubber. How best to wear them now? With dresses - take your styling cues from Loewe and Alexander McQueen.
Image: Prada AW19
In stark contrast to the lug-sole boot offering? The air of refinement that's instantly semaphored by the return of those traditionally ladylike accessories, the kitten heel and the Mary-Jane. Both had a significant presence on the catwalk this season (we especially loved Bottega Veneta’s vintage-style, pastel-hued take) but the bigger pull was the Mary-Jane, back to its best after years on hiatus. Hurrah for Dolce & Gabbana's pistachio satin iteration, though we were also taken with Paco Rabanne’s chic styling decision to pair its Mary-Janes with tights. As for Dior? Full marks for combining both trends.
Image: Dior AW19
Blame the movies for the pearl earring's dominance on the autumn catwalks - it seems designers just couldn't get The Favourite and Mary Queen of Scots out of their heads. Antiquated details such as bows, ruffles and leg-of-mutton sleeves have been gaining ground for a while now, so it was only a matter of time before the baroque pearl earring caught up. At Burberry, pearls sat in oyster shells hanging from models' ears; meanwhile Prabal Gurang created tassled ear cages; and Chanel’s heart-shaped drops would look pretty in any jewellery box. We're calling them "cool girl pearls".
Image: Givenchy AW19
Just as mock-croc was the texture that triumphed last season, scaly skins are having a moment for autumn/winter 2019. Furthermore, fashion’s swift uptake on the no-fur policy is extending to exotics, so anticipate a slither of mock-snake fabrics coming your way in everything from natural to jewel-toned hues. Take inspiration from Givenchy, Michael Kors and Longchamp for the key buy: the snakeskin boot. We also loved Chloé’s ribbed sock version. Get on the waiting list now.
Image: Chloé AW19
How many styles of hat can you name? Go on – it’s actually quite a fun game, and you’ll be surprised by how many you can think of. If you’re running out of ideas? Check out the autumn catwalks, which doubled as a millinery department. From buckets to deerstalkers, fedoras to fascinators, skull-caps to swimming caps (yes, really), to snoods and beanies – there was a style for every occasion. Our stand-outs were the grungy mohair beanies styled with eveningwear (particularly those feather-strewn ballgowns) seen at Marc Jacobs, the exaggerated buffalo styles at Nina Ricci, the elegant cloches at Valentino, the netted bucket hats Stephen Jones created at Dior and the Biba-esque fascinators at Michael Kors.
Image: Valentino AW19
If the heavyweight boot is a little, well, heavy for you, then fear not: the classic, knee-high boot is back in a big way. A slick wardrobe building block that adds elegance to any outfit, Celine's long, lean boots were one of the key buys of the season, as well as those seen at Akris, Lemaire and Fendi. We expect a host of contemporary-priced versions to come.
Image: Celine AW19