Ages before a girl could send love notes to a boy via text message, a young woman had a more discreet conduit for communication—her gloves. Depending upon how she toyed with them, she could make her intentions known. Dropping a pair, for instance, meant “I love you.”
While gloves no longer convey romantic innuendo, designers are nevertheless utterly in love with them this fall. They are reworking the classic item with zeal, offering a breadth of styles, colors and embellishments. For every mood and personality, there’s a different kind of glove: shorty, gauntlet, mousquetaire, opera, feathered, embroidered, ruffled or studded.
“Gloves are a bit old-school glam, but for fall they have a more contemporary edge when you play around with materials,” says Donatella Versace, who crafted over-the-elbow versions to complement her newly modest (yet still sexy) clothes. “They add a special chicness that never seems too overpowering and obvious.”
At Gucci, Frida Giannini accented her Forties-fueled ode to Lee Miller with sleek elbow-length numbers. “They were the perfect accessory for the look, one for a strong, passionate and adventuresome woman,” she says.
There were other, equally appealing variations on the runways, like the leather and knit mitaines Karl Lagerfeld worked into Chanel’s colorful cold-weather sportif mood. Other examples included the bright two-toned looks at Marc Jacobs and Prada, Marni’s extralong knitted mittens, Yves Saint Laurent’s dramatic opera pair and the beaded stunners at Christian Lacroix.
Meanwhile, Christopher Bailey let things get positively medieval at Burberry Prorsum—purposely, of course, in homage to the house’s iconic knight-on-a-charger logo. “Gloves represent protection and can be worn as a fashion accessory or in a more utilitarian and practical way,”says Bailey. “We showed almost all the looks with gloves.” And how: There were tons of quilted patent-leather gauntlets and long, extended styles that hammered home his tough-edged chivalry-chic idea.