Update your wardrobe with 15 of the best chinoiserie-inspired buys to carry you into the new season
Words Joy Montgomery
From mandarin collars to silk robes: the fashion crowd went crazy for chinoiserie this season. Culture-inspired fashion is often a tricky look to master as there’s a fine line between inspiration and appropriation. Luckily for AW17, the industry’s top designers managed to balance traditional motifs with fashion-forward twists. The result is a stunning cross-cultural fusion of styles.
Prada incorporated retro prints and marabou feathers into mandarin collared tops. Gucci, meanwhile, pasted oriental motifs and fabrics onto sharp blazers and billowing gowns. British style icon Alexa Chung also chose a chinoiserie-inspired mini dress as the star of her first eponymous fashion line. Her twist was to replace the traditional brocade florals with whimsical face and hand illustrations, which are only visible up-close. If Alexa loves it then who are we to argue…
The key to styling this trend is to take the stylistic mash-up a step further. Throw an oriental-inspired dressing gown over high-waisted jeans a la Attico’s Giorgia Tordini, or for retro librarian-inspired chic, try tucking a mandarin collared top into a denim midi skirt. If you’re feeling a little tentative, then opt for a statement chinoiserie bag or shoe. We love Kurt Geiger’s new season Kensington bag, which will look its best when paired with minimalist separates.