Fashion talk: Rebellion is the better part of catwalk obedience

Now that the magazines have been given their chance to rant about the so-called "hits" of the season it is time to compare them with what is actually selling - as in, like hot cakes.

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Now that the magazines have been given their chance to rant about the so-called "hits" of the season it is time to compare them with what is actually selling - as in, like hot cakes.

Not Prada's knitted Mad Men dresses. Possibly because hot cakes is how one of the stars of the autumn/winter 2010 catwalk makes you feel wearing them? That raises a question to sum up this season. How much are you willing to suffer for fashion? And equally, how far will you dare go to rebel and do your own thing?

Earlier this year, when Giorgio Armani, the master of understated minimalism and famous for his neutral palette of "greige", announced his collaboration with the outrageous show-off showgirl Lady Gaga - a woman who should be his nemesis - it hinted at the extraordinary conflict that fashion was entering.

Some predicted that this polar-opposites-turned-conjoined-twins thoughtwave might result in more choice. That sounded healthy, given the recession.

But as designer show trends distilled into just the one, all-consuming movement dubbed by magazines "the New Restraint", it seemed fashion had become more dictatorial than ever.

While this was never going to be an easy season for clothes aficionados who love to over-accessorise, indulge their bohemian side and bring on the bling, who would have believed the New Restraint with its puritanical colour scheme could prove in reality as difficult to wear (and, many would say, stomach) as Gaga's "meat chic"?

While it's considered a no-brainer for a magazine fashion stylist to zip a skinny young model into a Celine calf-length leather pencil skirt and matching leather top, if she were to plonk it on a real woman larger than a size zero (which, after all, real women are) and place her in a realistic situation (other than an Icelandic ice cafe) the leather "look" would in fact be a non-starter.

Double-faced cashmere and felty angora is equally tricky to pull off. While no one said fashion should be easy, should it be this hard?

Is it any wonder women have taken matters into their own hands, showing respect for the designer while turning crucial runway trends into something they can wear? Take Louis Vuitton's Mad Men dresses. Let's face it: these are not for everyone - unlike the ultra-feminine mood they unleashed.

It's no coincidence that sales of corsets, sheer black stockings and make-up, from red lipstick to false lashes are rocketing. Wolford, the Austrian luxury hosiery company, is seeing sales rise beyond expectation, with its Sahara Bondage tights, which have the appearance of horizontal stripes winding around the leg, tipped to be best-sellers in the coming party season since being featured in the latest Cheryl Cole video.

Another way woman are buying into the womanly trend is to start working the Prada beehive or becoming redheads. The singer Rihanna is the latest celebrity to go crazy colour red (following Florence Welch, Christina Hendricks, Cheryl Cole et al).

Of course, some catwalk trends have made the transition from runway to reality with ease. Printed dresses, such as those championed by Erdem and Proenza Schouler, have undergone a "reality check". Grunged up, these are being worn with flat biker boots, over-the-knee socks and chunky tribal jewellery.

Forget super heels: Rihanna (her again!) and Cole, who as we know are both far more copied than any fashion model, are wearing flat boots with frothy prom dresses. Pilgrim Father-style buckles on flat pumps are not too far behind. (Whenever there's a void on the definitive shoe of preference there's often a run on this Roger Vivier classic). Angelina Jolie, along with Katie Holmes and Gwyneth Paltrow are also wearing them.

As for trousers, the high-waisted camel styles that Chloé advocated on its catwalk have failed to make an impression in reality (are we surprised?). In their place are the old favourites bootcuts (hurrah!). The hip British premium denim brand MIH (Made In Heaven) has a style called "Marrakesh Kara", a dark wash kick flare that works for day and evening - and that happens to be the bestseller in UAE. Good taste wins every time.

The flare balances out the thigh and is far more flattering than any straight leg or cropped skinny (another catwalk hottie) and being in a dark wash is supremely smart. Claudia Schiffer, Kate Bosworth, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jessica Alba have pairs.

Are these selling like hot cakes? Absolutely. As well as looking forwards, fashion is ultimately about what feels right "now". Just wait until you see those Cruise 2011 collections: bootcuts galore.