Fashion: Step into the woods

Folksy kimono wrap cardigan, �29, from, in store now.
Folksy kimono wrap cardigan, �29, from, in store now.
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Autumn blends the natural with the super-natural world for a modern fairy-tale look. Stephanie Smith is enchanted.

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

Wicked in a good way, that is, because there is something magical about this time of year, mid to late autumn, when the charcoal nights curl in over lush carpets of fallen orange-gold leaves.

November brings in a fantasy landscape, like the backdrop of movies both romantic and horror, ideal for those who dream they star in the cinematic adaptation of their own life. (Don’t we all? It would ridiculously unfair to let someone else have the lead role in your own story.)

Fashion designers and lovers alike adore the autumn. Sure, spring is special in a fresh-faced way. Summer is heady and free. Winter has its sparkling allure, too. But autumn? This surely is the richest and most evocative time of year for fashion, a harvest festival of colour, texture and pattern.

Most of all, the fall sees the fruition of dreams and ideas, of creativity and concepts, all gathered up and presented on the autumn/winter catwalks, before floating down and falling like dapple-bright leaves onto the High Street racks and shelves.

So, for this autumn/winter, designers have stepped into an enchanted forest, filled with fairy tales and folk legends, and bringing to us some surprisingly wearable new looks.

This is a trend with its roots in the magical and ancient wonders of the natural world, with butterflies and bird patterns, prints featuring enchanted trees and blooming branches, white swans, squirrels, frogs and toads and all manner of fish. Look for traditional folkish embroidery and embellishment and hand-crafting techniques from across the world, from lacework and embroidery to fringing and folkish smocking.

Capes, hoods and blanket coats are the perfect way to key into the trend for outdoors. Indoors too, the cape dress is this season’s new way to do the Little Black Dress – add strappy heels.

Faux fur becomes super-extravagant, in satutated colour and animal pattern, recalling fairytale evil queens and Cruella de Vil.

Look out for dark, dense and luscious floral prints, especially on dresses in chiffon, and jewel-bright emerald green tunic dresses to team with brown leather and an earth-toned hooded cape.

Hunter Refined collection Garden jacket, �325, at

Outdoor fashion: Gimme shelter