The fashion we see on the catwalk is often brilliant in concept, but too impractical, uncomfortable, or prone to wardrobe malfunctions to consider seriously – at least until it is distilled into something more mainstream.
But once in a while, there is something so disarmingly simple, we can assemble an approximation of it pretty much as it is – and Julianne Moore’s look at the Bottega Veneta show on Saturday in Milan is a case in point.
Moore sat on the front row, next to Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault, in a pair of blue jeans and a tartan “shacket”, a variation on the look worn by Kate Moss on the catwalk at the label’s show in February. It was a casual ensemble, but not to the extent that she looked scruffy next to an industry titan. Elevated casual, if you will.
Yes, Moore and Moss are women who could make a bin liner look like haute couture, and this is an industry that is full of people with the ability to put together seemingly unremarkable garments and make them look “fashion” – but even those of us who aren’t quite so blessed in the ageless-beauty or innate-style stakes can try this one.
As a friend of the brand, Moore was in head-to-toe Bottega, naturally. That particular shirt is yet to land in stores, but the one worn by Moss – actually made from printed leather – will set you back £4,300. The jeans, £680. Prepare to take out a second mortgage if you’re also after those “intrecciato” woven-leather boots and bag, too.
You don’t need to do this the ultra-luxe way, though. The ingredients can be assembled without quite such a large financial outlay – in fact, you may have them in your wardrobe already.
Part one is a checked shacket – that’s a shirt-jacket hybrid. It should have a jacket’s structure and weight, but the collar, cuffs and hem of a shirt. That structure is what delivers the polish to this piece, you don’t want any creases or draping. Unless you are very tall, seek out a version cut for women. The oversized look is very cool; “drowned” less so.
Part two is the jeans, the cut and colour of which will determine whether the overall look is smart or more casual. Moore and Moss both wear a wide-ish straight-leg cut by Bottega Veneta. There’s nothing wrong with a more traditional straight-leg, if that’s what you prefer – just avoid super-skinnies. Darker washes in non-stretch denim will look more elevated.
Personal stylist Annabel Hodin is a fan of wider-leg jeans when it comes to this look: “It is important to balance the shacket and jeans proportions,” she adds. “And keep the two pieces tonally similar, so the overall effect is less lumberjack and more of an intentional style choice.”
Underneath your shacket you’ll need a white tank or T-shirt, and again, your personal preferences can dictate what this looks like. A skinny-rib tank, an oversized boxy tee or an ultra-soft cream version would all work well. You could even try a white shirt for a different twist on the idea.
It’s the grooming and accessories that really take this look from “trip to the garden centre” to “fashion-week front row”, though. The glossy blow-drys, the professional make-up and trophy bag and shoes raise Moore and Moss’s game, although the DIY and unbranded equivalents can achieve this just as effectively.
And then there’s knowing when to stop gilding the lily because, ultimately, it’s this look’s simplicity that makes it appear so effortlessly cool. No scarves, no bangles, no door-knocker earrings; maybe a minimalist felt baseball cap at the very most. “It’s anti-bling,” says Hodin.
If you own these items already, dig them out and give them a whirl. Sometimes, fashion is as simple as wearing old favourites in a new way. And if you do feel the need to invest in something new, you can be sure that they won’t go out of style anytime soon.