Global exploration is on the fashion horizon right now, with a plethora of ethnic references dominating key catwalk trends. Many designers have demonstrated a taste for faraway climes in recent collections, with a host of exotic looks that visually celebrate global cultures; from the mystical Aztec and Incan tribes of Meso-America to Wild-West rodeo girls and glamour-jewelled gypsies; every stone has been unturned in an international trek for the most innovative ethnic ensembles.
A key trend to come out of this world fashion tour is the statement blanket coat, which has appeared everywhere in the last few seasons, from Chanel’s striking ‘Dallas Cowboy’ AW14 collection to Burberry Prorsum’s boho brilliant aw14 show and Saint Laurent’s recent spring summer 15 Navajo masterpiece for men. The coat has a striking oversized silhouette that perfectly lends itself to autumn winter layering, and when combined with rustic prints from the runway, becomes an atmospheric and totally wearable piece for the autumn winter season ahead.
The blanket coat has been spotted in various formations across the different fashion shows recently, demonstrating its surprising versatility as a key autumn look. It is warm and snug due to the oversized proportions and wrap-around draping, and lends itself to a visually stimulating bohemian vibe when added to layered, patterned outfits like the ones in the runway shows. Burberry Prorsum led the way with this evocative look when it showcased models waltzing down the catwalk in flowing woodland foliage skirts, rustic belts and floral blanket jackets, to create a wild wilderness look that wholly embraces the autumn equinox.
Other brands that have played with boho autumnal layering in a slightly different manner by emphasising the rich colours and rustic textures of the changing seasons ahead, as the leaves on the trees begin to deepen from emerald greens to burnt-orange tones. Kenzo took a trip to evergreen alpine forests with an oversized coat that that wrapped around perfectly like a blanket. It contained interesting prints of machinery cogs which had been crafted so delicately in leaf green colours against a brown bark background that they resembled leaves on an old oak tree. Fendi took the autumn ambience even further with a layered wrap-around coat containing maple-leaf orange patches and woody cocoa colours for a warming and wonderful ‘mother-nature’ style.
Whilst many designers opted for a rugged woodland feel, others embarked on a wild adventure to the arid desert planes of North America, to unearth the ancient cultures of colourful Navajo tribes. Renowned labels such as Chanel and Etro beautifully referenced the Wild-West in their autumn winter collections, with ethnic patchwork blanket knits, cowboy inspired boots and Native Indian feather jewellery. Chanel went full-throttle with this Native Americana theme by showing their collection in an authentic Dallas cowboy ranch, filled with haystacks and wooden interiors. The blanket coats fitted in perfectly with their ancient Navajo tipi silhouettes and Indian shaman patchwork cloak patterns.
Saint Laurent and Sacai chose to venture even deeper into the alluring cultures of America by heading to the southern continent with vibrant South American themes. Sacai’s statement blanket coat in sapphire blues and rich reds was painted in Aztec hieroglyphs and mystical geometrics, whilst Saint Laurent’s menswear looks for ss15 featured rainbow knitted blanket cloaks that echoed the layered tribal knitwear designs of ancient Andes farmers in the Peruvian Andes foothills. The looks were rounded off with chunky charm necklaces that evoked the decadent jewellery worn by revered Mayan gods in the ancient Mexican cities. The nature-inspired bohemian style has therefore remained, with a new South American twist.
As we can see from these different designer interpretations, the blanket coat has risen to become one of the most coveted styles of the season ahead. It has shown itself to be the perfect piece for playing with travel fantasies and embracing different cultures by experimenting with esoteric patterns and prints. Whether you go for a verdant countryside vibe like the Burberry or Kenzo shows, or the exotic tribal styles of Saint Laurent or Etro, you are sure to pull off a look that will get you noticed whilst keeping you warm snug in the autumn winter months.
With this in mind, we have pieced together an unmissable edit of key blanket styles that you can purchase now for your ultimate layered looks...
Burberry Prorsum: Avenue K - £1,004.06
This Burberry Prorsum wool and cashmere blanket coat comes in beautifully rich and sensual autumn colours, and is perfect for a countryside look when layered up with turtle neck knits and washed denims.
Stella McCartney: Saks Fifth Avenue - £1649.50
Stella McCartney has chosen a chocolate brown houndstooth print and gypsy-style tassles for her striking blanket coat, which is made of Alpaca wool and directly references the Peruvian mountain trend.
Isabel Marant: Farfetch - £732.60
Multi-coloured virgin wool and ethnic stripes typify this oversized blanket coat from Isabel Marant, and would suit a South American style when paired with feathered jewellery or layered tribal necklaces.
Missoni: Selfridges - £430
Missoni has designed a wool-mix draping cloak that features cryptic Aztec zig-zag patterns for a romantic and adventurous look. Wear with brown suede ankle boots and burgundy leather trousers for an edgy indigenous outfit.
Band of Outsiders: Matches - £1,105
Band of Outsiders have chosen a voluminous blanket coat in colourful plaids and buckled details for a Scottish Highlander ambience. Add to the evocative outsider look by pairing with an orange tassled
scarf and brown leather boots.