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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 2 (May 1, 1937)

Autumn Is Passing

Autumn Is Passing.

I Would like to visit the city of the plains just now. There is a certain time of year when autumn flaunts there, when leaffall has begun, but the willows and poplars edging the Avon cling to their shreds of gold and russet, when parks and gardens glow with the last flame of the expiring season. Not so in our Northern evergreen cities, where summer merges imperceptibly into grey-green winter. Therefore, I would go south for the carnival of leaves.

* * *

To think of seasonal fashions usually switches the mind easily to nature's seasonal change, but the return switch is more difficult. In fashion's autumn colour schemes there is not even the usual yellow to red and brown suggested by nature. This year the fashion houses have insisted on being very civilized, very formal. They prosecute the “coronation” motif.

* * *

Gold and rust are here, but with no particular reference to leaf-change. The gold is hard and metallic. Rust just . happens to arrive in new tonings. Brown is present because, when colours bewilder us, we can conservatively and artistically ally them with brown, a little brown for accent, or brown as a rich background.

* * *

New colour schemes are inclined to startle. Maroon, cerise, magenta are allied surprisingly with other shades. A cerise tunic frock is girdled in blue—quite startling until the eye has become accustomed to it.

In day frocks colour is added particularly at the neck and waist. High necklines may have turnover points revealing a contrast lining colour; slots may hold a startling bow or a soft strip of fur; a very full bodice may be looped and slotted with a strip of contrast. Sashes, girdles or belts are usually aggressive in ornamentation or basic colour. They define slim waists and seem to accentuate the flare' of a swing skirt.

I noticed one tunic whose flare was increased by unpressed pleats. The simplest swing skirt is cut in four pieces with seams at mid-front and back. This type of skirt lends itself to the raised waistline rising to a point in front. Such a skirt may be belted or fitted to a princess silhouette.

Sleeves are definitely squared or pointed at the shoulder line, but taper to a slim-fitting wrist.

* * *

Skirts are up, but not as far up as a few young persons on our streets seem to imagine. The smart length is about fourteen inches from the ground. It probably is correct that when the cost of materials, for instances woollens, rises, the couturiers encourage abbreviation of frocks for economy's sake. Silks have not followed the shortening trend in wool frocks, as evening skirts flare round the ankles or are briefly trained. The flare may be stiffened by a band of contrast material or by cording.

* * *

Evening materials are gorgeous—and expensive. Most gowns feature a combination of two materials or two colours. Mauve velvet has twisted shoulder straps of purple velvet and a purple velvet sash. The accompanying cape is of purple lined with mauve. Mauve and cyclamen combine in a draped satin model.

Taffeta or lacquered satin lend themselves to full-skirted styles. A lime green peacock's eye taffeta has a corsage drape, softly bowed in front, of pale yellow. The yellow motif is repeated in an appliqued band and bow on the skirt a foot from the hem.

* * *

Lace hangs beautifully. One of the loveliest frocks I have seen was of shadow lace touched with gold.

Shoulders and backs are displayed by the new season's evening gowns, but dinner frocks and cocktail suits have sleeves and high necklines.

The latest bolero for evening wear may be so brief that it consists merely of sleeves, a narrow strip of material at the back and wide revers in front.