Big news in coats: your outwear is not important, but how you wear it is. The portent of styling might seem obvious, but if we learned one thing from reveal season, which ends today in Paris, it’s that the key to self-expression is how you button, zip, shrug or peel your parka, preferably than the parka itself.
Take shrobing. Based on that kick off styling quirk “shoulder robing”, or wearing your overlay as a cape, like the pope, this portmanteau, newly originated by Vogue, involves peeling your coat off your shoulders so that it appears across your deltoids. Balenciaga did it last autumn, Versus did it this age with a padded coat and Melania Trump did it in red Michael Kors at an airport.
So deep within our psyche is this styling cozen that Kors created a pre-shrobed coat (camel, with built-in arm knives that you slip your arms through, modelled by Edie Campbell) for this season. It works with any cover, too. Pan-coat, if you will. The takeaway? You’re either too busy to get dressed or too apathetic to attention – and you’re hardy. In New York, where this look mushroomed from catwalk to thoroughfare style, temperatures were sub-zero, yet shrobing was king. In Paris, at baby coats were shrobed over coats. Decidedly warmer.
Wearing your coat off-shoulder also paved the way for shrugging. Only discernible from shrobing, here, the coat sits in the crook of your arm, portrayal the wearer immobilised from the elbow down – see models in fun faux fur at Henry Holland and Versus’ knee-length dilated coats. Deeply impractical (using a phone is impossible; we inspected) it’s also the easiest way to show what you’re wearing underneath if that’s your MO. So, you identify, swings and roundabouts.
What else? Rihanna’s bow after her Fenty x Puma “Fenty University” manifest was a lesson in semi-shrugging. In a bid for next-level insouciance, she wore her neon covering draped off one shoulder. It was all over the Chanel catwalk too. Which without pulling any punches to show is up to the wearer. (Do you have a better shoulder? Something else to agitation about.) Rihanna’s actual show was heavier on dragging, with Lily Donaldson’s floor-length quartered coat trailing on the catwalk (a reading table in a library). The news? You are part of Generation Uber. You don’t walk.
Other coat techniques considered their cue from the education system, including APC’s Paris expo, where bombers were tied preppily around the types’ shoulders like sweaters; a trick referred to as ivy-leaguing. Balenciaga, in the meantime, rolled out the pre-schooler look – duffels, parkas and tweeds incorrectly buttoned, as if by an eight-year-old. The point here being that youth was something to hold on to. Anoraks: the fabric of our time, then. Or at least this coming mature.