The fashion world is gearing up for autumn, with many designers who showcased their Fall/Winter collections in February now influencing the trends seen on the high street. Wool has dominated the fashion scene, with a special focus on the poncho or cape as the must-have accessory for anyone’s winter wardrobe.
Covering up has never looked so stylish, with ponchos and capes made of wool and other materials being seen in several leading designer portfolios, including Burberry’s. Fringed ponchos are popular, although the classic wool cape has also made an appearance in shops across the UK.
The poncho originates from South America, being used by the native people of the area since before the Spaniards invaded. Often featuring an additional hood, the poncho was frequently made with warm materials that could also be waterproof to ward off the wind and rain in wintry months.
The cape was an incredibly popular garment during the Medieval period in Britain, where the sleeveless item of clothing normally featured a hood, much like the poncho. A cape was distinguished from a cloak by its length, with the cape being shorter (perhaps down to knee length at most) and the cloak being ankle-length. Trimmings in fur were common for the more elegant capes, though these were normally reserved for the capes made of velvet, silk or satin. Wool was used for capes designed to keep people warm, rather than for fashion statements, though that has changed in modern times.
Wool was the perfect material for creating ponchos and capes, precisely because of its ability to keep its wearer dry and cosy in bad weather. The wool can be knitted or crocheted into a design, and its ability to keep its shape lends the material well to creating these fantastic garments.
With the influence of the Seventies having had a significant effect on the fashion dictations for this autumn, warm wool capes and ponchos have had a renaissance. Wool garments were commonly being featured across a range of shows in February’s fashion weeks, and the erstwhile cape has finally made it to the high street as a result. Ponchos, capes, jumpers, jackets and coats featuring patchwork motifs appeared on many designer catwalks, created with warming materials such as wool to counter the cold snaps ahead.
For those less willing to commit to the Seventies vibe, the classic cape coverup is available on the John Hanly website for purchase. However, there are fringed options for those looking for something a little more striking!