Holding your head high in a disposition of poise and grace is – with some outfits – a requirement. For others, it’s an inevitability. The feeling of plush velvet or brocade against your skin, the fitted bodice of a dress pulling your shoulders back, the audible jangle of beading that rings out with each step you take, all influences your mood and enforces a regality that’s as bold as it is beautiful.

Amoungst the runway fashion trends for fall 2013 was a theme that’s a little hard to confine to one single era or geographic boundary. But it was there, shining through the more casual trends, an air of majesty and resplendence that was hard to ignore. After the break, a look at the regal sub-theme on offer for fall.

regal royal fashion

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All things regal: a theme for fall.

A trend such as this can’t be easily tied back to a single part of history. That’s because it’s more about drawing influence from a broader spectrum of eras and cultures, be it from the Church in Medieval England through to Elizabethan Era dress (as per Sarah Burton’s vision for Alexander McQueen) or the artworks of the fifteenth-century Dutch Masters (as seen at Marios Schwab). What matters are the common elements that draw it all together and inspire a range of looks that will make you feel like a Queen. One who simultaneously belongs to history and transcends it.

mcqueen regal fashion
At Alexnder McQueen, F/W ’13.

The elements.

Tapestry / embroidery.

There’s a stateliness to tapestry and embroidery that calls to mind grand stone walls and days spent primly poised, needle in hand, by the hearth. But a little embroidery can go a long way, and doesn’t have to equate to anything to medieval or stuffy. On the runway, tapestry prints manifested in various ways, but none so fitting to this theme as Valentino’s sweeping long-sleeved dresses or caped numbers.

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At Valentino and Marios Schwab, F/W ’13.

Velvet.

Last time we wrote about velvet clothing as a trend it was all about reviving ’90s grunge, slinky Bond Girl dresses, and retro rock ‘n’ roll. But this autumn / winter, velvet harked back even further to it’s most plush and opulent forms. The key here is to wear it in rich, regal hues – like royal purple, forest green or burgundy – and to compliment it with embroidered or beaded details to go all out on the majesty factor.

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Velvet regality at Marios Schwab and Naeem Khan, F/W ’13.

Mosaic.

Dolce & Gabbana were the prime purveyors of the idea that mosaic tiles are something you can wear. Inspired by the mosaics at Sicily’s 12th century Cathedral of Monreale, their dresses and skirts captured something incredible to look at and magnificent to wear. Detail is key here, so be wary of opting for high street versions that miss the mark on quality.

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Mosaic prints and embellishments at Dolce & Gabbana, F/W ’13.

Brocade.

Carrying over from last winter’s obsession with all things baroque, rich brocade fabrics are injected with a new nobility. While you can still carry off a brocade cigarette pant like a ’70s rock icon, there’s also the option to go for something a little more austere, like a stiff brocade dress.

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Brocade dresses at Osman and Emilia Wickstead, F/W ’13.

Other details & cuts.

While fabric and embellishments are the most obvious way to indulge in this trend, other details – and in particular cuts – can be key to pulling it off with full thematic conviction.

  • While generally thought of as austere and a little too modest for the modern day, full length dresses with high collars and long sleeves have actually presented on many a runway. To pull off such a cut, you do need luxe fabric or beautiful details to counter any possibility of looking too dull or dowdy. Valentino’s beautiful lace and embroidered frocks are a perfect example.
  • Puffy, bell or trumpeted sleeves are perfect for channeling medieval fashion. Since you don’t want to look like a historical recreationist or rabid Game Of Thrones fan in full cosplay, however, look to the runway for ideas on making them modern. The best ways are to go for off-the-shoulder cuts or incorporate some sheer fabric to keep things sexy and not too faithful to historical costume.

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At Alexander McQueen and Andrew Gn, F/W ’13.

  • There’s a definite historical air to fabric slits that work their way into garments – be it on caped backs of dresses or in shoulders or sleeves. In medieval fashion slits were part of garment construction for ease of movement in restrictive clothing, but while they’re no longer a requirement, they call to mind past eras.

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At Marios Schwab and Osman, F/W ’13.

Royal fashion: more from the runway.

For more inspiration from the runways on regal styling for autumn / winter 2013, head to the gallery above by clicking on the thumbnails. And don’t forget to check out our fall 2013 fashion trends guide at that link for other seasonal trends.

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