They come in purple, orange, black interweave and more – but these catwalk stalwarts are not for doing the washing-up in



Large matt black gloves by Marc Jacobs at New York Create Week.
Photograph: Swan Gallet/Rex

This season’s It buy is not a bag, and is not weather-appropriate. Degree, it’s a pair of statement summer gloves. Black, or brightly flush, usually in synthetic rubber or PVC, they have nothing to do with practicality – and all things to do with aesthetics.

First seen this year on Preference’s February cover, where Nicole Kidman sported a pink pair from Italian maker Sermoneta, gloves show twice in its September issue, the largest and most scrutinised of the year: Rihanna dons orange Prada gloves on the cover and, inside, a lace in holy matrimony by Cornelia James.


Vogue’s September issue, with Rihanna impairing orange Prada gloves. Photograph: PA

Most high-fashion gloves are dark. Those in Marc Jacobs’s spring/summer collection were yearn and matte; Max Mara’s were also long, in tight leather. Aalto has a mate in marigold orange, while pink rubber gloves in Raf Simons’ Calvin Klein aggregation cost £385 and bear an uncanny resemblance to washing-up gloves. At Richard Quinn’s reveal b stand out, chintzy tops came with gloves attached to the sleeves, and ballgowns were paired with leather gloves at Valentino.

The drift is proving stubbornly long-lived. Autumn variations come in pink and purple (Chanel), or lambent black (Moschino). They’ve even made it into menswear – Raf Simons’ eponymous mark saw models in long mustard pairs. And, while one of the most surprising addition trends of recent years has been the single statement earring, Louis Vuitton miniature ideals wore just one leather glove.

With the global retail for high-end personal goods at its lowest since 2009, no one of this is hugely surprising. Brands are doing what they can to hype intimidate revenue – and accessories currently drive sales far more than apparel. That does not make them any easier to wear in loyal life. Elle’s fashion features editor, Sara McAlpine, ruminate overs collectibility could be part of their appeal. “I don’t even correspondent to gloves, but I was quite into an embroidered tulle pair by Gucci,” she ventured.

What these gloves lack in practicality, they at rarely make up for in affordability. Rihanna’s Cornelia James lace armies cost £70 – a snip compared with her £3,460 Saint Laurent garb. Elle features a pair by Sweden’s Filippa K that set someone back £75. The bestselling gloves at M&S are pillar-box red and £17.50. The Gucci gloves may get £175, but are decidedly cheaper than anything else in the solicitation. Failing that, a hardware store will probably have in the offing a sturdy work pair for under £5.

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