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Metallic will rule 2008, say designers

Metallic materials and accents glisten throughout many of this year's designer collections.

india Updated: Jan 14, 2008 19:18 IST

Metallic materials and accents glisten throughout many of this year's designer collections. Entire outfits in metallic colours - gold, silver, bronze and copper - are making their imprint in the so-called "future trend" alongside the slick lacquered look.

The designs make it possible to achieve the precious metal look from head to toe, mostly in high-quality fabrics that also have a high glitz factor. But women who follow the trend should do so sparingly because the look can quickly turn cold and stale and leave the wearer looking pale.

The sponsors of a footwear trade show in Dusseldorf in September noted the comeback of metallic accents and high-tech materials.

"Shimmering metallic leather brings a hint of glamour into this year's winter fashion lines," the organisers said.

Germany's footwear institute in Offenbach referred to the glitz and glisten trend in shoes as "shiny coolness." Dazzling lacquer and shimmery metallic materials are combined with clear shapes without decorative details.

The glamorous metallic style is easily spotted in the collections of top designers such as Burberry, Prada, Chanel and Jil Sander. The look is also represented in the collections of Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, René Lezard and Drykorn. At a minimum the influence of the metallic trend can be observed on the models of well-known designers who have taken up the trend, whether in outer wear or accessories such as belts.

The colour palette in handbags also contains precious metal tones, especially silver in both dull and glossy. That was the conclusion reached after the international leather trade show in Offenbach.

"The trend in fashion is going forward again, looking toward the future," said Lydia Maier of the association of German colour and style consultants in Munich.

The look is appropriate nowadays because the glitter signals a bit of wealth, said designer Birgitta Leimeister of the Bavarian town of Münchberg.

"That's the current mood. We show what we have," said Leimeister. In the process the metallic look sets clear accents.

"It's a very extravagant style," said Lydia Maier. "This is a way for the bold to stand out." Hence, she advises people who want to make a big entrance to select a metallic garment. "Being seen has to appeal to the person who wears metallic clothing. Then it works and looks classy."

But the metallic look is not for the office because "it looks very artificial, which is an attribute of the industry," said Rainer Waelde of a style academy in Limburg, Germany. "I would advise caution there." A metallic handbag would be acceptable but when it comes to garments - trousers or a raincoat, for example - the metallic look seems very extroverted.

Every metallic accessory draws glances and "that detracts my gaze from the person, the face," added Waelde. The strong contrast can drive the individual into the background. Thus metallic styling should be done sparingly.

"It's also important that it matches one's complexion. It doesn't go at all with with fair skin or red hair," said Waelde. He recommends combining the metallic look with discreet colours and tanned skin. Carefully selected colour nuances are warranted. Followers of the trend, however, should not be discouraged by these limitations.

"Including the metallic look in a wardrobe should be about setting accents," in Leimeister's opinion, particularly because the artificial effect of the metallic look is so conspicuous.

Its radiance lends metallic materials particularly well to a person's need to demonstrate individuality. The overall impression, however, must be harmonious.

"The look doesn't suit naturalists. It would just be wrenching to such a person," said Leimeister, adding that using one or another metallic piece as a contrast can be ideal. "Combining metallic with coarsely knitted heavy wool. Then it's really interesting."

Finally, when wearing metallic garments, the make-up must match. For the eyes, gold and bronze are the current favourites, said Martin Ruppmann of Germany's association of cosmetic distributors in Berlin. These tones are combined with greens and purples.

"Shimmer is in play - noble, stylish, but also extravagant and always a bit sensual and sexy," Ruppmann said.