The 1990s revival is a funny thing. I really don’t recall feeling we were living through a golden age of fashion at the time, and yet that decade has dominated streetwear for the past five years: crop tops, overalls, beanies, mirrored sunglasses, skorts. Even scrunchies. And now, that memorable signifier of 90s nightclub glamour, the choker. The choker has always and will always stand for sex and infamy – from Manet’s 1863 nude painting of Olympia with her delicate black ribbon choker, to Paris and Nicky Hilton in their VIP room pomp at the turn of the 21st century – so the look was always going to work for Rihanna, Rita Ora and Miley Cyrus, all early adopters of the look this time around.
For summer 2014, Karl Lagerfeld crossed the Chanel pearl necklace with the headphones-around-neck look favoured by modern footballers everywhere to create a much-photographed choker starring two giant pearls; on the autumn catwalks, Balenciaga featured a crystal choker and Balmain a gold-plated multi-strand number that has already sold out on Net-A-Porter. (FYI: it was £1,815 anyway, in case you’re gutted you missed it.) On the high street, Asos has sold 30,000 this summer while Claire’s reports sales up 900% on last year. Alternatively, wait another couple of weeks, and you can achieve the same throat-accenting silhouette with a polo neck instead.
Choupette’s position as queen of fashion’s animal kingdom is under threat. This summer saw Digby the dog make it on to the cover of British Vogue in the arms of Victoria Beckham. (Digby’s owner is the Vogue fashion director, Lucinda Chambers, who styled the shoot. Friends in high places and all that.) The latest issue of US Harper’s features Lady Gaga in a pink tweed Chanel suit, holding her dog, Asia. And model-turned-stylist Kate Moss – who never strays far from the zeitgeist – hired a pack of wolf-a-like British Lupines to star alongside supermodel Lara Stone in the latest shoot she has directed for Vogue. What’s more, we have hard evidence to back up the theory that dogs are the new cats: the winning entry in Topshop’s Make Your Pet a Star competition, in which pet photos battle to be digitally printed on socks – I’m not making this up – is Luci the dog. Top tip: Bella Freud’s label (the logo of which features a sketch of the whippet Pluto drawn by the designer’s late artist father, Lucian) is where the hot dogs are to be found.
For the power of the single earring, look no further than Emma Watson, who has made masterful use of the trend as part of her post-Hermione, still-pretty-but-now-a-bit-cool rebrand. The single earring is decorative but challenging. Symmetry is restful on the eye, and wearing just one large earring is a very different style of bling from two matching chandeliers. Along with the choker, the single is part of a move away from jewellery as a sentimental, personally meaningful statement (the charm bracelet, the locket, the name necklace). Jewellery in fashion increasingly has a punchy visual impact instead of a subtle message. The Metropolitan Museum’s Punk show in 2013 was a strong initial influence on this trend – Watson wore an asymmetric LBD with one long, dagger-sharp earring to the opening gala, while Cara Delevingne wore spiked gold cuffs over one ear. At the latest round of Paris shows, the single earring featured in several of the most influential shows of the season: having travelled the catwalks at Céline and Louis Vuitton in the space of a week, this trend is set fair for the season. Good news for anyone who ever lost just one of a favourite pair of earrings.
Look, no hands: that’s how to show off your bag this season. Cross-body bags have gone from couriers-only to packing out every tube carriage in the past few years, and the Cambridge Satchel Company has championed a utilitarian but colourful handbag aesthetic. With both the cross-body and the satchel now firmly in the mainstream, fashion’s cutting edge has moved on – but the cool kids aren’t going back to the commuter-train connotations of the traditional handbag anytime soon. The humble rucksack has staged a stellar comeback, from being what spotty 15-year-olds lug their maths homework around in to what pop stars take on the tour bus. (Lily Allen and Lana Del Rey are both fans.) Herschel has cornered the market as the go-to, no-fuss, blue-chip canvas rucksack brand, but with Mulberry, Stella McCartney and Marc by Marc Jacobs all offering backpacks for the new season, the aesthetic bar is on the rise.
If you are still in mourning for your pashmina a decade on – so cosy, so practical! – you’re in luck this autumn. The tailored coat and the cosy sweater have been overtaken in the cold-weather dressing stakes by the rise of the uber-blanket. The Burberry finale featured a lineup of models each wearing a monogrammed check blanket; both Topshop Unique and Roksanda Ilincic starred coats so loose and unstructured they were clearly intended to evoke a blanket wrapped around the shoulders. Kate Moss was recently photographed wearing a saffron-coloured Hermès horse blanket as a poncho over cropped jeans, and making it look doable as a transitional, don’t-need-a-proper-coat-yet option. The appeal of the blanket is in its lo-fi, campfire chic appeal, but don’t be taken in: this is a look you need to dress up if you want to avoid looking like you’ve been evacuated from your home by a 2am fire alarm. Kate Moss styles hers with high heels and a blow-dry. Take note.