You will never find Queen Elizabeth following a trend but, as our forensic analysis of the looks from the latest catwalks shows, she is certainly responsible for setting a few. As Her Majesty approaches her 90th birthday, it seems that her carefully considered, traditionally British and always jolly approach to dressing has proved highly influential on the AW16 collections which will shape what we wear next autumn.
Given that the Queen has been in the global spotlight for the majority of her adult life, it’s hardly surprising that her unwavering sense of style has become iconic. As an article in Time magazine put it last year: “The Queen doesn’t have to change to keep up with the times. If she just stays as she is, the times will circle back to her.”
In her official duties, Her Majesty is known for choosing bright colours which she wears head-to-toe so that she can be seen from far away or picked out easily in a crowd. This way of dressing is often seen as tricky or overpowering for those of us without plaque-unveiling responsibilities.
However at Chanel, where Karl Lagerfeld showed numerous all-pink looks, and Gucci, where a bold turquoise outfit stood out, the suggestion was that now might be the moment to adopt the one-colour approach the Queen’s been pioneering for years.
When she’s not cutting ribbons or hosting state banquets, her Majesty is renowned for being very much your classic British gentlewoman. She apparently loves nothing more than a good horse show or bracing walk with the corgis. This outdoorsy life requires a sturdy rainproof trench coat, just the sort of thing, in fact, which Phoebe Philo showed in various guises from sleeveless to loosely relaxed at Celine.
Meanwhile, Christopher Bailey, who is renowned for his devotion to all things British at Burberry, created cosy tartan coats reminiscent of those favoured by the Queen for church.
There was a lot of talk this fashion month about “everyday” clothes thanks to the rise and rise of Vetements (the label named after the word for “clothes” in French) and its lead designer, Demna Gvasalia who also made his Balenciaga debut. The first series of looks he presented looked like awkwardised versions of what one imagines Her Majesty wears on a normal day of summering at Balmoral – think demure houndstooth blazers with matching midi skirts and dresses. Who knew the sensibilities of a Georgian sportswear and denim-obsessed provocateur (that’s designer Demna) could have so much in common with those of the British monarch?
Elsewhere designers riffed off the Queen’s reputation for topping off her off-duty outfits with a silk scarf, carefully knotted under the chin. This exact styling trick also appeared at Mary Katrantzou whileChristopher Kane showed plastic versions which he said were inspired by his mum.
Even Her Majesty’s more unusual and grand style inclinations – the things which come with the job – popped up at numerous shows. Various spins on regimental coats, complete with frogging details, were seen at Sacai, Christopher Raeburn and Dolce & Gabbana; all might have originated from pictures of the Queen back when she used to participate in the Trooping of the Colour, decked out in the ceremonial uniform of whichever regiment was being trooped.
Meanwhile, gloves – a favourite of the queen throughout her reign – were a key accessory at Oscar de la Renta, Simone Rocha, House of Holland and many more.
There were also looks which seemed to hark back to moments early in the Queen’s life such as Molly Goddard’s frothy tulle creation which was like an exaggerated interpretation of the gowns she wore during in the 1950s while Miu Miu’s tweeds and frills – a pair of plus-fours in particular – reminded the audience of images of a young Princess Elizabeth.