Hello autumn

Lubna Abdel-Aziz
Monday 4 Oct 2021

The air is colder, the days are shorter, and the nights are longer. Autumn is here.

It is often referred to as the saddest of seasons, as the “falling leaves drift by the window” accompanied by a sense of melancholy.

It cannot be helped. Nature takes its course and we have no choice but to abide by its rules.

This will be the second autumn that the ominous shadow of the pandemic hovers over us. Are we going to give in, now that the evening of the year has started, before the cruel winter weather arrives? By no means. We have to look for a bright spot in the midst of all this darkness.

Psychologists have names for everything, including our seasonal changing moods. They call it, appropriately, SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. But SAD or sad, we shall overcome.

A pleasurable distraction is fashion. It is everyone’s passion, functional, necessary and even fun.

Time to peer into our closets and air our warmer outfits.

Coronavirus or not, designers have been hard at work, creating new ways to tempt and seduce us with their irresistible creations. Now that they have discovered “virtual” techniques to present their chef d’oeuvres, their world is buzzing and booming — as though “all’s well with the world.”

So on with the show. The first thing that strikes you is the names they give to their colours. Do you not love them? So innovative, and sometimes puzzling. For example, one of the big colours of the season is scarlet orange. Ever heard of it? We have heard of burnt orange, bright orange, pale orange, but what would a scarlet orange look like? Perhaps inspired by Scarlett O’Hara? It looks naughty.

This is only an example of how bright the autumn colours are this season. They stand out in defiance like lemon yellow and shocking pink. Pink, which was a favourite this summer, has no intention of retiring. Can you imagine yourself in a shocking pink coat? Unforgettable?

No more autumnal blues, with a parade of these eye-catching hues.

The Pantone Establishment sets the official colours of each season, not only for clothes, but for house furnishings, draperies, etc. What is their proclamation for this season? The edict is green. Not just any green; grass green, fern green, emerald green, which is a good choice for this disturbing era. It is peaceful, soothing, uplifting, evoking visions of endless grass fields, palm trees, and promenades in an English garden.

It certainly detracts from any SAD syndrome. Versace, Prada, and Gucci took advantage of this joyful, natural, disposition in their collections.

If you will have none of these fashion dictates, go for the classic Chanel red, never out of style. Disruptive and exciting, it was exquisite in striking pantsuits, and especially jumpsuits.

Speaking of jumpsuits, ever Fashion House had a number of them, edging dresses for both day and night wear.

As diverse as we are, so is our 2021-22 fall and winter fashion. From pastel princess’ dresses to properly pleated skirt suits to glittering evening jumpsuits, the world is your oyster.

How many occasions do you have on your calendar for a gala evening? Not too many I would guess, with coronavirus raging on, they have dwindled to a precious few. However, there may be a wedding, a charity gala or a concert you must attend. To step in style opt for a dreamy, goddess fabric like chiffon, silk, satin duchess, organza or lace. And here is the good news. Velvet is back in and surely most of us have a velvet dress tucked away somewhere.

Velvet has been in style for centuries, and regardless of the era, it makes an impression. Dolce and Gabbana, Valentino, Dior and Fendi made an impression with it, especially when paired with lace.

If you are a fan of the mini-dress you are in luck. It had disappeared for a while except for teen agers. But now it is back with a vengeance — and in striking colours. Use same colour tights and knee-length boots and you’re right back in the 60s. Retro is the savior of designers.

Big purses almost broke our backs for many years. They were replaced by medium, lady-like clutches and Kellys, but we discovered we are addicted to them. Instead of abandoning them, we carried both, so now they are back, bigger and better than ever. You can put on your shoes with their ever so chunky heels, even your boots if you like.

Morning wear is apres-ski styles…and for the few who ski in our neck of the woods, they are covered. The rest of us can find some knitted vests, quilted jackets and fur boots.

The general look is one of glamour in a season as sad and drab with bare trees and brown bushes, as solitary autumn.

Makeup finishes the look with disco eyes, lip gloss, flushed cheeks and loud lipstick.

Would you consider plum lips? Good for you. It is the in colour for lipstick this season, to go with the smoky eyes and abundant blusher. No more that natural, freshly washed face of the California Dreamers. This face with its extra shine is out to attract attention.

As for the hair, forget that long silky peasant-like do. Go for a sharp straight cut or a wavy bob. Fringes are in so are headbands, embellish hair with glitter or better still more designer logos as hair clips. Prada has the best.

Yes coronavirus, no more SAD for autumn. We are defiant.


“Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness.”

 John Keats (1795-1822)

*A version of this article appears in print in the 30 September, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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