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FROM LEFT: BALENCIAGA, ANDREW GN,LOEWE AND JACQUEMUS

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FROM LEFT: BOTTEGA VENETA, CHLOE AND MAISON MARGIELA

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FROM LEFT: CHANEL, BALENCIAGA AND PROENZA SCHOULER

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FROM LEFT: LEMAIRE, CÉLINE AND JIL SANDER

Double Take

Black and white are a failsafe combination for any day of the week - here's how to make them work as hard as their coloured counterparts.
Jul 8, 2017 5:50 AM

We know chic when we see it - especially when it comes in black and white. Rather than being pedestrian, designers revel in finding fresh ways to amp up monochromatic dressing - as aptly illustrated on the fall/winter 2017 runways. The great Coco Chanel once said, "Women think of all colours except the absence of colour." To her, black and white form "the perfect harmony". So when in doubt, go black and white.

Graphic Display

If there is one print you should sport this season, it's black-and white polka dots.  Since 1954, when Christian Dior released his "New Look" collection of hourglass dresses decorated with dots ( his bestseller), this classic print has proved its staying power in fashion. For Fall, one of the most notable looks was at Demna Gvasalia's Balenciaga where the designer paid homage to the Parisian house's original silhouettes of voluminous shapes. This one in particular is a strapless gown in polka dots - complete with a matching bag.

The Art of Layering

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The dapper-meets-casual pairing was illustrated to perfection at Bottega Veneta and Maison Margiela. Tomas Maier showed some out-of-the-box layering ideas at Bottega Veneta when he styled a hooded sweater over a shirt and bow-tie. At Maison Margiela, a classic monochrome tweed coat took on a street style personality with the dressed down pairing of a graphic T-shirt and drawstring track pants.

Opt for Texture

To create more interest with these monochromatic shades, don't hold back on the pretty details like sequins and tassels or decorative textures like Jonathan Anderson's intricate quilting effect on a pair of silk pyjama-inspired pantsuit as seen at Loewe.  Decadent materials also play a big part in creating a more provocative appeal for this monotonous colour. Some highlights include the perforted patent leather shift dress at Proenza Schouler and the ostrich feathered dress at Balenciaga.

Structure is Key

Simple and clean tailoring with exaggerated features like strong shoulders or oversized sleeves will add a powerful impact to your monochrome workwear ensemble. At Jil Sander and Céline, the respective designers took a keen interest in showcasing the garment's sturdy construction: shoulders were elevated to create a new architectural appeal, while sleeves took on a voluminous style to convey a more avant-garde attitude.

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