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15 March 2017

Velvet Clothing : Why this should be your go-to Fabric

Velvet clothing has been through renaissance after renaissance since it dominated in the 90s under the influence of iconic designers like Tom Ford at Gucci and John Galliano at Christian Dior. In AW16, however, it made a particularly notable comeback – with standout garments such as an oversized velvet jacket and trouser combination appearing at Vetements and a nautical navy velvet dress with gold trimmings dazzling at Prada.

velvet fashion

Velvet clothing has been through renaissance after renaissance since it dominated in the 90s under the influence of iconic designers like Tom Ford at Gucci and John Galliano at Christian Dior. In AW16, however, it made a particularly notable comeback – with standout garments such as an oversized velvet jacket and trouser combination appearing at Vetements and a nautical navy velvet dress with gold trimmings dazzling at Prada.

 

It even became summer-appropriate for SS17, appearing in gelato-bright pastels at Victoria Beckham and Sies Marjan. From floor-sweeping gowns and micro miniskirts to tailored suits and demure dresses, the catwalks proved that velvet elevates any outfit.

 

A regal history

 

Velvet clothing, crafted from a material so decadently soft and plush, has long been associated with royalty. The fabric was particularly abundant in the courts of Versailles, where ladies would wear bustled and brocaded velvet dresses. 

 

The silken quality of this woven thread and the vibrant colours it often carries means it also discovered a historical home in ornate wall hangings. And its difficultly to procure only served to lend the material an even more luxurious reputation.

 

A playful alternative to sequins

 

It’s possible to become glitter-jaded, to develop sequins-ennui and to yearn for something that isn’t unremittingly shiny. But how to stand out in a party full of reflective metallics and sparkling palettes? Velvet clothing is the answer. If sequins are the discoball attention seeker, this fabric is their smooth, sensual counterpart.

 

Much of the most memorable evening ensembles at AW16 were those that gave the opulent material a contemporary spin. At Valentino, delicately cascading velvet dresses were paired with gossamer-thin polo necks for true ingénue appeal. An 80s homage at Saint Laurent, meanwhile, mingled the fabric with taffeta and leather to dramatic effect.

 

Versatile outerwear

 

Velvet is as practical as it is opulent – the soft material is supremely warm and cosy. At the Stella McCartney AW16 show, models were bundled up in copper-coloured quilted velvet jackets and full-length navy coats akin to sleeping bags. The quilting, zips and toggles leant the designs a utilitarian appeal.

 

As luxe as velvet is, it’s versatile enough to wear every day. You could dress down a brightly hued cover-up in this fabric with sneakers and a leather backpack, or take notes from the Vetements way of styling. At the Parisian label’s AW16 show, jewel-toned velvet coats were paired with hoodies, flannel shirts and untucked layers.

 

A belted and fringed design from Blazé Milano can play the part of a dress at a cocktail party, or be just as stylishly worn over a casual ensemble on a Sunday stroll.

 

Superb in suit form

 

Suits have been gaining momentum for a few seasons now, with designers seeing the merit of coordinated pieces over print-clash separates. And a velvet two-piece is the perfect embodiment of a thoroughly modern approach to dressing without compromise: it’s empowered but soft; mannish but feminine; unfussy yet exquisitely lavish. Moody tones like navy, black and burgundy work best for evening functions, while lighter shades are ready for the office during the daytime.

 

To make a strong statement, a velvet shirt worn under a suit has an appealingly 70s aesthetic. Alternatively, the fabric can be juxtaposed with tougher elements. At 3.1 Phillip Lim AW16, for example, the soft fluidity of a velvet blazer and trousers contrasted with the rigidity of a stiff-necked sweater and leather corset.

 

Divine on shoes

 

The Ellery AW16 catwalk simmered with witching-hour dresses – all fluted sleeves and calf-grazing hems – but it was the footwear that packed a serious punch. The eye was immediately drawn to the fashion house’s velvet boots – there were thigh-high numbers in royal blue and ankle boots in burnt orange. These flashes of velvet injected warmth and tactility into the outfits.

 

There were also velvet platform heels at Jil Sander – another knowing nod to 70s disco days – and soft hi-top sneakers at Charlotte Olympia.

 

But it wasn’t just shoes where velvet reigned supreme on the catwalks. The material played a role in all manner of accessories. From velvet headbands à la Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf to velvet berets and velvet-tipped gloves, the possibilities were endless.

 

Velvet street-style

 

Velvet clothing caused a street-style sensation in 2016. Fashion designer and creative consultant Giorgia Tordini stepped out in a long wrap velvet dress in a plum tone. Gal Gadot, of Wonder Woman fame, impressed on the red carpet in a series of floor-length velvet gowns. And actress and activist Amandla Sternberg paired a red velvet suit with a chartreuse shirt and clodhopper boots.

 

Because crushed velvet is such a strokeable fabric, it gives a tactile quality to an outfit, so it’s easy to play with by mixing up textures and messing up layering. A velvet top with a leather skirt? Instant sensory satisfaction.

 

 

From royal halls throughout history to modern society balls, this textile has proven itself to be an enduring wardrobe staple for sophisticated dressing, adding a degree of tactile romance to everyday outfits. Velvet crush forever.

 

velvet womens clothing