AW10 trend report: Matches press day

“Heels are coming down,” said my tour guide, Matches buying director Bridget Cosgrave as she held aloft a pair of Tabitha Simmons kitten heels. And these really were kitten heels, not the 7cm ‘higher kitten heels’ I’d been reading about in Harper’s Bazaar earlier that morning. Cosgrave told me they have been feeling it for a while and now designers like Marc Jacobs and Rupert Sanderson are fully backing it. Which isn’t to say long, thin heels have had their day by any stretch. There were plenty of plat-heels still on show, in particular a Burberry hiker-stiletto and Charlotte Olympia’s in-demand cocktail heels. But alongside were all manner of more managable heels – wedges, brogues and a super-wearable shearling-lined Burberry biker.

Tabitha Simmons


A good in-between is the Celine boot with tall, stack heels – classic but sexy. Stealth sexy if you will…

Away from shoes, Bridget enthused about Richard Nicoll. His T dress is a top seller at Matches (“it has a stealth following”) and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a loose, easy shape that suits all silhouettes, but its fluidity offers a dressiness that makes it versatile for work or evenings.

Knitwear news: Lutz & Patmos are celebrating their 10th anniversary with a greatest hits collection. Matches will be selling all the Lutz & Patmos collaborations – Sofia Coppola’s dress, Christy Turlington’s poncho and Carine Roitfeld’s laddered cashmere sweater.

Matches’ vintage Chanel bags sold so well for SS10 that they are buying more for AW10. And they have added a selection of vintage jewels to the offer too.

Bridget also drew my attention to a new luxe label to Matches. Raoul is from Singapore and it has to be said, they make a pretty good handbag. The balance of clean lines with luxury hardwear is right on the money. Style.com have just written about them here.

Finally, coats. I couldn’t tear myself away from Stella McCartney’s strict masculine coat (below) but the real winner fair and square in the outerwear stakes is the shearling-lined aviator jacket (but you knew that already). Second to that, like it or not, is fur. As Bridget puts it succinctly, “fur demand is huge”.

Art of the Trench

Yesterday saw the launch of Burberry’s Artofthetrench.com. It’s a free-standing website dedicated to the Burberry trench and showcases dozens of stylish Burberry-wearers photographed by The Sartorialist. It’s not just a vanity project though. Burberry has made it a social networking site where you can upload pictures of yourself in a Burberry trench or add comments as well as sharing on Facebook and Twitter. It’s kind of fun, lovely to look at and simple to navigate.

In the press release blurb is this quote from Christopher Bailey:
“Artofthetrench.com celebrates our iconic trench coat, capturing the emotional connection behind our distinctive outerwear heritage. Everybody has a different story related to their coat or the first time they came into contact with one – I love the idea that people from all over the world can share those stories and images with each other and all the different attitudes and expressions of the Burberry trench coat and the people who wear it.”

As it happens, I do have a story that relates to buying my first Burberry trench. It was a few years ago and the first properly snowy day of the winter. The inclement weather was a coincidence, I had been toying with the purchase for days and finally bitten the bullet. That February evening was to be the first big awards night for the magazine publishing company I worked for at an impressive London venue. It was also payday and bonus day and I’d left the excited hubbub of the office that lunchtime to trot over to Bond Street and treat myself (well, it’s not every day you buy a Burberry trench and this was before the days of casually dropping £500 on a pair of Loubs). As I did the ten minute walk from my office to the Burberry flagship I could feel the adrenaline rising, just as the first flakes of snow landed on my Alpha MA1-clad shoulders. It was that nice kind of excitement when you know you’re buying something totally worth it, as opposed to that underlying anxiety when deep down you know you’re being crazily frivolous. It was my ‘this coat will change my life’ moment. Finding the trench – classic black, narrow-shouldered and knee-length – trying it on (I knew it would fit, I’d already tried it on umpteen times) and handing over my card took mere moments and once that huge navy blue carrier bag was in my clutches, I couldn’t wait to get it back to the office. I walked out into a veritable blizzard.

The coat stayed in the bag, locked in the fashion cupboard overnight as I wasn’t prepared to cart it to a black tie dinner in the snow. As the blizzard continued to rage, we changed into our finery, me in a black silk 30s-style Stella McCartney for Chloe gown and Miu Miu barely-there heels. Topped off with my army-style padded jacket which I kept on in the freezing heritage building, a cashmere scarf tied round my feet as the awards were handed out.

And then to my utter shock I heard the nominations for one of the main awards and my name being called out. And then my Oscar moment as my name flashed up on a screen and I sat open-mouthed and unable to move. And then when I finally did get up to go on stage and collect my award, I had to swiftly lose the anorak and the woolly scarf. The prize was a luxury holiday which I used for a trip to New York (staying at The Plaza no less…a story in itself). And finally, when the night was all over, the whole of London covered in its own thick coat of snow, not a taxi to be found for love nor money, we staggered home delirious with cold and champagne-fuelled cheer.

The very next day, the Alpha jacket was given its marching orders and the Burberry unwrapped. Since then, the trench has come out for every smart occasion – meetings, interviews, lunches, parties and every type of weather. And each time I’ve worn it, it’s taken me back to that snowy, somewhat magical and most definitely memorable day.