For anyone with a weakness for pretty clothes, getting to lay eyes on next season's styles before they hit the shops is a dream come true, so you can imagine how excited I felt when I made my way down to London for the Debenhams AW 16 Fashion and Home press show the other week.
Held in the cavernous basement of Victoria House in Central London, the event was a visual delight. There were racks upon racks of beautiful clothes, impeccably laid out new season accessories and gorgeous homeware displays. And then there was the stunning centrepiece. It reminded me of fashion's answer to the Terracotta Army - dozens of mannequins standing in rows, each one modelling a different outfit. It made a huge impact as you entered the space, and I could honestly have spent all afternoon wandering up and down the rows, admiring each ensemble in all its delicious detail.
As you might imagine, I took more photos than I know what to do with, so I've tried to narrow it down, selecting my favourite looks from the show as well as one or two trends that look like they're going to be big news next season. I know it feels as though summer hasn't even got off the ground yet, but it doesn't hurt to get ahead of the game, right?!
Let's start with fashion, and Star by Julien Macdonald. This was the first label I came across as I entered the event. For me, the standout piece (possibly out of everything in the room) was this incredible jumpsuit.
It actually kills me that I'm probably too short to pull this off, but I would give it a go in some towering heels! I adore the sophistication of this - the silky wide leg trousers and the simple choker it's styled with. The cut out detailing is also beautiful and I noticed that this was a recurring theme - not just with Julien Macdonald but with other designers as well.
I also loved this gorgeous combination of ruffles with metallic leather.
I'm a big fan of ruffles, so I was happy to note that they definitely seem to be sticking around for autumn/winter! Other pieces in the Star by Julien Macdonald collection included dark florals, leopard print, military coats and lace.
My favourite piece from RJR John Rocha was this beautiful shirt dress. I also loved the soft pink and grey colour palette, delicate floral prints and faux fur.
Preen/Edition won me over with their bold, directional style. There's something very eighties about this dress, both in the strong, geometric print and in the shape. In theory this is a piece I wouldn't be drawn to. In practice, I love it!
Ruffles again! This blouse would look great in an office environment, but you could also dress it up for an evening out with a bit of sparkle.
I counted quite a few leopard print coats, so it's clear they're going to be must-have items this autumn! This one looked the most interesting and updated though, with the contrasting cuffs.
Another piece that kept popping up all over the place was the embroidered bomber jacket. This particular example was by Todd Lynn/Edition. (Sidenote - yet more gorgeous ruffled detail on the Nine by Savannah Miller dress next to it!)
In fact, embroidery in general was pretty much everywhere - on jackets, dresses, blouses, denim, you name it - especially with an oriental twist. This stunning dress was by Butterfly by Matthew Williamson.
Oh, and don't forget the feathers, or the sequins!
I decided that I would feel very much at home popping out for coffee/running errands/just about anything in this casual ensemble from Nine by Savannah Miller. How cosy and absolutely gorgeous is that faux-fur trimmed jacket?!
And this stunning embroidered Debut dress makes me wish I had a winter wedding to go to! The shape of it is just so classic and beautiful.
And sequins from No. 1 Jenny Packham.
As well as the clothes, there were some gorgeous shoes and bags to drool over. I fell in love with these nude toned beauties from Faith.
And the burgundy.
And the black and gold!
Which trainer is your favourite? I can't choose, so I'll just have to take the lot!
Clearly, embroidery is not just for clothing, judging by this gorgeous Butterfly by Matthew Williamson bag. There is something very Gucci-esque about this!
Finally, I managed to drag myself away from the fashion to take a little look at homeware, and I found plenty to drool over there as well. Once again, Star by Julien Macdonald was one of my favourites, with this unashamedly decadent display.
I definitely need some gold-adorned glassware in my life!
Butterfly Home by Matthew Williamson offered a far more arts and crafts inspired aesthetic. A very different, ethnic kind of vibe, but equally beautiful.
And I don't think there's a blogger in the world who wouldn't consider this Cosmopolitan offering #officegoals. I'll take the lot, thanks!
Well, I've shown you all my favourites from the show. There was so much more, but this post is far too long already, so I'm going to sign off now! I know we haven't had summer yet, but is there anything here that gets you excited for autumn/winter? Let me know!
P.S. Just in case you didn't already know, I'm on Snapchat! I share little snippets of day to day life, mini hauls and reviews and anything interesting I might get up to, such as events like this. If you fancy adding me, my user name is @katelouiseblogs. Everyone is welcome!