Secret Handshakes

This season’s love affair with all things classic and clean-cut shows no sign of waning, so it’s no wonder the world of fashion has created what I like to call, in very important capitals, ‘The Secret Handshake of Style’ (SHS for short).

It goes a little something like this: amongst a sea of seasonless camel coats, simple cashmere knits and discreet leather handbags, where’s the elbow room to stand out and be counted? How do you so much as whisper “I’m not actually just untrendy and vanilla, this is FASHION yeah?” without stepping outside of the minimalist mindset altogether?

The answer lies in the SHS. Fashionista turned Freemason, a series of subtle, mutually recognisable signs of sartorial flair have emerged over the past few seasons to flag up a classic yet still fashion-conscious wardrobe. A top knot here, a Chanel-polished fingernail there, the glinting gold ‘Y’ of a YSL black leather belt - they all signal insider trading. This sounds terribly cliquey and Heathers-esque, but really it’s one of the most democratic trends to date. Gone are the practical difficulties of harem pants, jumpsuits and ugh, clogs - autumn’s simplified styles make looking stylish equally as simple: just roll up a cuff, or a sleeve (just roll up anything to be honest), add a skinny belt and hey presto, you’re basically Alexa Chung.

And my new favourite of these twiddly-thumb secret handshakes? A flash of bright orange. If this season’s colour combination of choice is camel and red, then for spring/summer 2011 it has to be white and orange.

Outside of fashion, what is orange other than fluorescent cycling jackets and Tango? Behind closet doors however, that ripe shade of tangerine heralds Hermès. Seen at Jil Sander, Antonio Berardi, J.Mendel and even offered at the altar of Céline, a slice of citrus orange is the freshest way to make an outfit look ‘fashion’. And, more importantly, and particularly when worn against white, it looks beautiful to boot. So invest in a calypso-coloured belt, shoe or scarf, pair with a matching peaches and cream complexion (a tan should be avoided to shake off all WAG-like connotations), and therein lies spring/summer 2011, a Solero ice lolly of loveliness, just waiting to be unwrapped. 



Antonio Berardi

Jil Sander

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