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Prince, Offred or a Walnut Whip? The thinking person’s style icons for autumn

Prince in the video for Raspberry Beret, and purple tailored suit, £160, from Topman.
Prince in the video for Raspberry Beret, and purple tailored suit, £160, from Topman. Composite: PR/YouTube

Prince: tailoring

Sure, one of Prince’s most memorable outfits consisted of a trench coat, pants and thigh-high stockings. But AW17 is all about his mid-80s tour wardrobe. See, for inspo, the purple, ruched suit of the Purple Rain tour, or the banana-yellow suit – with cropped jacket – for Parade, both of which had the shoulders and shapes of the Balenciaga menswear. Some of these will be showcased in the upcoming My Name Is Prince exhibition at the O2. Also on display is the cloud-covered design worn in the Raspberry Beret video – the kind of suit that dreams are made of. Lauren Cochrane

Thomas Ruff portraits: neutrals

Porträt (P Stadtbäumer) 1988 C-print, by Thomas Ruff, at the Whitechapel Gallery until 21 January 2018.
Porträt (P Stadtbäumer), 1988 C-print, by Thomas Ruff, at the Whitechapel Gallery, London until 21 January 2018. Photograph: © The artist
Shirt dress, £99, cosstores.com
Shirt dress, £99, cosstores.com

German photographer Thomas Ruff has been documenting modern suburbia and its people for over four decades, but his passport-style portraits (the focus of a new exhibition at London’s Whitechapel Gallery) are the most relevant for your wardrobe this season. We’ve spotted accidental references to Balenciaga’s oversized earrings, Christopher Kane’s neutral pastel trenches, and here – casual minimalism, finished with a brooch, which manages to be both Céline and Gucci. Morwenna Ferrier

The Handmaid’s Tale’s Offred: red

Red dress, £49.90, from Uniqlo, and Elisabeth Moss as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale.
Red dress, £49.90, from Uniqlo, and Elisabeth Moss as Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale. Composite: AP/PR

Though not actually on TV this autumn, Offred’s influence is everywhere. Red is the season’s undisputed colour, while modest dressing is its macro-trend. The politics of dressing modestly are complex, to say the least – and surely nobody wants to channel Gilead repression chic? – but, weirdly enough, the show has seeped into the psyches of designers from Uniqlo to Preen. On the upside: all those voluminous skirts made the usual October debates over whether opaque black tights are naff or not moot. Hannah Marriott

Jean-Michel Basquiat: checks

Basquiat’s Helmet, NY 1982, from Basquiat Boom For Real at the Barbican Art Gallery
Basquiat’s Helmet, NY 1982, from Basquiat Boom For Real at the Barbican Art Gallery. Photograph: © Edo Bertoglio, courtesy of Maripol/Artwork: © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York
Checked top, £79, arket.com
Checked top, £79, arket.com

The story goes that Jean-Michel Basquiat enjoyed such a juggernaut of success in the early 80s that his pockets were filled with dollar bills. The pockets, typically, were checked and attached to some sharp outerwear. The front row stole Basquiat’s look recently – the check count was high at the shows, to the extent where the “awks” emoji could have been utilised by seat mates. To ring the changes, head to the Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican. When not wearing checks, the artist had a thing for trench coats, Armani suits and boxing gloves. Boom, for real. LC

The Deuce: The 70s jumper

Natalie Paul as Sandra in The Deuce.
Natalie Paul as Sandra in The Deuce. Photograph: Paul Schiraldi Photography
Seventies jumper, £29.99, hm.com.
Seventies jumper, £29.99, hm.com

Clearly, Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Eileen “Candy” Merrell is the style headliner of David Simon’s new series The Deuce – what with the poodle hair and her fondness for furs (let’s hope they are faux), which lend a brittle urban quality to her character. But journalist Sandra Washington (Natalie Paul) is scene-stealing, too. Her roll-neck jumpers are winners for those of us who have grown bored with 1990s-style trophy sweatshirts, and are craving something a little more crafty and homespun from our knitwear this winter. (She also has a very nice, very AW17 way with a caramel-coloured suede trouser suit.) MF

Stranger Things’s Lucas: corduroy

Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas in Stranger Things, and corduroy trousers, £25.99, zara.com.
Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas in Stranger Things, and corduroy trousers, £25.99, zara.com. Composite: Netflix/PR

The TV series most beloved by the fashion pack right now is Stranger Things, with Eleven starring in a Calvin Klein campaign and Louis Vuitton putting Stranger Things band-merch-style T-shirts on the catwalk. The standout style icon of the show, FYI, is clearly Lucas, whose boxy corduroy jacket is totally Prada AW17. Corduroy is the fabric of now for all the reasons that Stranger Things is the TV show de nos jours: it’s authentic, it’s nostalgic and it’s warm. HM

Blade Runner 2049’s Joi: transparency

Plastic mac, £39, topshop.com, and Ana de Armas as Joi in Blade Runner 2049.
Plastic mac, £39, topshop.com, and Ana de Armas as Joi in Blade Runner 2049. Composite: PR/Rex Features

Yes, Joi’s lack of characterisation in Blade Runner 2049 was disappointing. But ... did you see her transparent coat? It was spookily similar to the clear plastic thigh-high boots, ponchos and visors on Chanel’s most recent catwalk. What the popularity of wipe-clean, waterproof fashion says about our collective psyche is a discussion for another day, but this is a practical trend that brings sci-fi reality to earthling wardrobes. HM

Walnut Whips: brown

Walnut Whip, and body, £19.99, mango.com
Walnut Whip, and body, £19.99, mango.com. Composite: Alamy/PR

Tobacco was the neutral colour of the season, but rather than promote smoking, call it “Walnut Whip”, or rather “Whip”, now that the makers have launched versions without the walnut. Fashion approves for two reasons. First, Saint Laurent and Max Mara had plenty of pieces in this particular shade of chocolate. And second, the success of this colour pivots on head-to-toe commitment to it. Perhaps the walnut could be a little hat? MF

This article titled "Offred, Prince, or a Walnut Whip? The thinking person’s style icons for autumn" was written by Lauren Cochrane, Hannah Marriott, Morwenna Ferrier, for The Guardian on Tuesday 10 October 2017 05.00am

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