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Monsoon Special: The transparent style revolution

From raincoats to jackets to bags, say yes to amorphous fashion

(From L-R) Chanel Spring/Summer 2018; Dolce & Gabbana; Balmain Spring/Summer 2018;Trench jacket, The Label Life.
(From L-R) Chanel Spring/Summer 2018; Dolce & Gabbana; Balmain Spring/Summer 2018;Trench jacket, The Label Life.

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Chanel has been preparing a long time for this year’s rainy days, it would seem. The French luxury label’s Spring/Summer 2018 show was a display of designs tailor-made for a season of heavy showers—think see-through hats, bags, long jackets and knee-length boots. Even the jewels in the collection were amorphous, translucent shapes dangling from earlobes and necklines.But Chanel wasn’t the only one to find inspiration in all things clear. Creative director Olivier Rousteing sent models down the runway wearing newspaper-print PVC trench coats and jackets for Balmain’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection. The British label Burberry, whose team is certainly familiar with London’s all-year drizzle, also experimented with clear textures on rainwear jackets and capes, layering colourful and clear cover-ups over ensembles.High street labels and independent designers followed suit, setting the tone for a season where the transparent raincoat became one of the season’s “it” silhouettes. Plastic, PVC, Lucite have dominated street style and store shelves in recent months, but the time for wearing these utilitarian pieces hasn’t yet passed. With the arrival of the monsoon, this might just be the best time to add a dose of transparent wearables to your wardrobe.

Plastic is detrimental for the environment, but let us for a moment consider what makes the material ideal for the rainy season. It is waterproof and dries easily. The disadvantage is that it puts you out in the open. Your style can’t be cluttered if you are showing it off via see-through designs. Little wonder then that transparent apparel and accessories make even the bravest fashion insiders a tad sceptical. The key to wearing this tricky trend lies in balancing the ensemble. Limit the number of transparent items to areas that need the most protection from a downpour. A transparent raincoat is a monsoon staple. Eschew bulky raincoats for capes or trench-coat-style designs for maximum protection. A clear, colourless raincoat will show off your outfit but a number of labels also incorporate pop colours and patterns in their design

Bags can be a sore point in the monsoon.Pick a rainproof transparent bag, now available in varying shapes and sizes from tote bags to fanny packs. If you think your belongings are better served by some camouflage, choose from an assortment of patterned designs from labels like Fendi. Los Angeles-based design studio Building Block’s bucket bags come in a dark amber hue and tassels for added flair while Italian leather goods brand Valextra protects its signature Iside bags with a separate PVC “raincoat”. Other items to consider—clear belts, hair accessories and jewellery. New York-based designer label Proenza Schouler showcased a range of sculptural bangles and cuffs made from glass for Spring/Summer 2018, while the luxury brand Balenciaga created abstract earrings and acetate cuffs inspired by cities like Tokyo and Paris. American fashion jewellery brands Alexis Bittar and BaubleBar has employed Lucite to create a mix of earrings, necklaces and bracelets mixed with other materials like leather, resin or metal alloy. Also think of shoes, perennial casualties of muddy roads. A pair of gumboots is a must-have in the rains, but clear boots are better. The transparent shoe is having a moment, with luxury and high street labels showcasing heels and flats with clear surfaces and heels. often elevated with a sprinkling of rhinestones, ribbon detailing, fringe or colourful transparent panel

Try this trend a few items at a time—a head-to-toe transparent ensemble isn’t always realistic. Make sure you pick quality designs; cheap plastic and PVC are dead giveaways. Combine these plastic designs with your everyday outfits for a balanced ensemble and remember, having an umbrella as backup is always a good idea.

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