This year, the big names' ready-to-wear collections reek of city chic, cutting back on the bedazzling and providing us with a more functional wardrobe for the winter ahead.
To start with, we have Aminaka Wilmont, who has an Autumn/Winter collection that feels like it is inspired by a cityscape. Her pieces fit into London or New York's big city anonymity, but stand out enough to make you a starlet, skulking in the corner at some hot client convention. Her collection is in blacks and greys, both figure skimming and sultry, and stocked on NET–A-PORTER to bring out the siren in you.
For the gentleman we have a scowling counter-party. Elegant and decadent, we introduce the Rake, for those who are both that in name and nature; the Rake style label brings a sharp edge to the City boys who like their toys. Stylish tailoring for those who like Bentleys and Bordeaux, these sleek suits come in made-to-measure styles found in Harrods, Hong Kong's Lane Crawford, and in Fukuoka, Japan's Minority Revs. Their Autumn/Winter collection is for the more casual in appearance, but their Spring/Summer is inspired by the seductive stance of the English gentleman puffing his pipe at the back of a boys' club...strictly not for girls (unless you're wearing a particularly short skirt). Another boys-toys-style is Lou Dalton, which brings a '30s feel with a war appeal, softer suits with little cocked caps, for those who are more artful or feel like a change in style from the sharper edged style of the city. More cold play than city slicker.
A newer label for guys is Oliver Spencer, with a '50s style. He's an artistic artisan, with a gentleman's twist to a classic style of tailoring, in mix for both the young and the more mature. In blue hues and Mediterranean reds, there's a variety of colours for you to choose from within a pallet of artistic talent.
Back to the women who love a combination of art and style, Vivien Westwood's Red label is a revolution of colour, softened with seductive gilted golden edges. It is a truly regal affair, for every queen that has been seduced by any rake in her time, and with silks and velvets, her pieces would light up any cityscape's bland background.
For an appeal that is both simple and subtle, we have Marios Schwab, whose spring and summer collection dresses are both sophisticated and sweet in pale candies and blacks. The Autumn/Winter collection is both sophisticated and chic with laces and alines, a mixture of camels and colour, and elegant enough to wear both into work and after work for a cocktail with the girls, or on a candle-lit balcony in the Bahamas.
Belstaff is for the boy or girl who loves to be wrapped up; their Autumn/Winter collection is in a variety of dark hues with the quilted edge of the City boy or girl, and the uniformity of Holborn or Belgravia. In dark browns and blacks, their pieces stand out enough to give you a soft edge, yet retain the air of a distinguished-yet-aloof City rake. Fitting in with the Belgravia crowd would be no hard task whilst wearing these pieces.
For the ladies, Jonathan Saunders offers a twist of elegant styling in a pallet of red, oranges and greens. The pieces are sophisticated and stylish, and both beautiful and stately, they are regal with a touch of the Americas about them - yet remaining English in styling.
Lastly, we have Matthew Williamson, in an array of colours from blues to gilts. His designs reek of St Petersburg, with Russian regal history influencing his style, and his designs are beautiful and functional, from cocktail dresses to full length pieces, and with skinny-legged trousers made in sensual silks.
So for all the ladies out there - and the rakes who should be so lucky - happy hunting grounds.