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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fall Fashions a Fusion Of Textures, Lengths

"One of the joys of this season is its overwhelming diversity," proclaimed one Western fashion magazine. That doesn't sound like much help for the fashion-conscious woman trying to visualize herself dressed in the trendiest of fall clothes.

This fall, there are several key clothing items that are not must-haves, but are merely garments that can move an existing wardrobe to a higher fashion pitch.

A leather suit is the season's standout and a thing of beauty, while a gray turtleneck has been proclaimed an absolute hit. A jacket with enormous shoulder pads, velvet pants with flares and a pair of stiletto heels should also be part of any wardrobe with pretensions to style. Also in favor are animal prints and collars and cuffs made of natural fur -- something that has been out of favor for long enough to forget how a little fluff pretties up an outfit.

"The main feature of the season is fusion dressing," said Caroline Doyle, editor in chief of Marie Claire magazine, citing, for example, a masculine-looking suit paired with a lacy, floral-print camisole.

"Unfortunately, the 1980s look with its big shoulder pads, stiletto shoes and mini-miniskirts, cut open in the front, is back," Doyle said, sounding slightly disappointed. "But in fashion is the tailored look. Your clothes have to be very nicely cut."

Russian fashion designers were happy with the new turns the trends took this season in both haute couture and ready-to-wear clothes.

"I'm pleased that the recently popular dressing minimalism, when the woman would wear a jacket on the bare body, has exhausted itself," said Vladimir Zubets, a leading ready-to-wear designer at Moscow's Paninter firm. "What's on now is a combination of several beautiful kinds of clothing of various textures and lengths. This is summed up in a more intriguing image of the outfit and, consequently, of the woman who is wearing it."

Zubets suggested combining simple forms and different fabrics -- chiffon, velvet, velours, wool and woven fabrics and knits.

More comfortable fashions are becoming more popular, the designer said. "Women are tired of being squeezed into tight clothes that outline all the body forms and nearly fall apart at the seams. What's coming is large pants, cardigans, dressing-gown-type coats and universal suits that can be worn both at work and in the evening," he said.

This season's hit, Zubets said, is a long, close-cut blazer made of fine wool that comes in several lengths from mid-thigh to the ankle and is usually worn over a sweater, skirt or pants.

As for colors, Zubets thinks the fashionable range will include "colors of earth, water, stone -- the rich, intense natural range, almost Gothic."

"You may say that these colors were popular just a few years ago, but their return is a natural thing after the recent motley craziness," he said. "These colors are what most people actually wear."

If buying the latest pattern is your way of keeping up with what's trendy, remember that this season widely spaced bright flowers or sunflowers are out, having made way for more complex baroque-style flowery designs.

Haute couture designers seem to agree. Catwalk clothes are affected by a strong Eastern influence this season. Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld is inspired by paintings of Russian artist Vasily Kandinsky, while Christian Dior's Galliano prefers Indian ornaments and cuts.

Tatyana Parfyonova, a St. Petersburg designer highly acclaimed by both Russian and foreign fashion critics, discussed overcoats, which also reflect Zubets' affection for comfortable, loose dressing.

"Streetwear must be practical -- fall weather in [St. Petersburg] is a constant shower," she said from her boutique on the city's main shopping street, Nevsky Prospekt. "I prefer short, dark blue pea jackets with metal or tin buttons. Another possibility is a large, velvet jacket with big pockets that looks like an artist's. In fact, everything you can fit two, three and more sweaters under is fine."

Zubets has two opposing conceptions of an ideal coat for this fall. It should be either large and comfortable, he said, or small and close-cut, which looks especially elegant with stiletto-heel shoes. The main emphasis is again the fabric; velvet and velours are the favorites.

Parfyonova pointed out a recent transformation of one traditional fall accessory, the scarf. Velvet scarves are made of two separate pieces of material of different colors, one on each side, for flexibility. Parfyonova's scarves often are embroidered with geometric patterns or designs inspired by Matisse's paintings.

Natasha Ivanova, 23, a self-employed fashion designer, is a fanatic for the hottest fashion trends. She wears her ragged, red stiletto boots, bought at a second-hand store, with everything -- a short leather skirt, velour flares with leopard patterns, jeans and a furry, single-breasted white overcoat she made herself.

"I've just studied a bunch of glamour magazines, and found out that these things really suit my taste," she said, sitting in her apartment-turned-workshop with multicolored scraps of shimmery ocher, blue, silver and khaki-colored latex, fine leather and a type of soft leather called nubuck all over the floor.

"My style is slight indifference," Ivanova said. "I like super-trendy things, but they have to be cute and smart."