The winter before last I treated myself to the above Marni coat, a beautifully neat zip front number that is a complex patchwork of downy-jacket front, knitted ribbed sleeves and houndstooth black and white checked wool back. I adore it.
After I had been wearing it for a while I noticed the underarm was seamless, I can’t believe I didn’t notice it when I bought it, but it is so neat and discrete and I was slightly bowled over by the loveliness of the design, I just didn’t see. At first I thought it odd, but then I realised that Marni’s super-cool head designer Consuelo Castiglioni is 53 and I bet slightly menopausal. My personal assessment of this designed-in slice then, is that it is a secret air vent for super fast cooling when experiencing a hot flush.
You my laugh at this but I have been regularly appreciative of the underarm vents, my body currently moves with lightening speed from icy cold to clammy overheating with a hot flush (when WILL it end I wonder?) so being able to waft cool air into my coat by raising my arms is a godsend.
And for those of you who are thinking I’ve gone a teeny bit mad with my fashion analysis, can I just point out this now appears to be something of a micro trend….At Fashion Week we noticed a number of air vents creeping into designs……
Above is the beautiful John Rocha range, designed by a man who knows his customer and perhaps understands that although it is shown on fawn-like beauties of around 20, the people who can actually afford it are a little older, I think the underarm vents and sleeves you can slip right out of at hot moments, seen above from last week’s show, are a fabulous idea.
John’s hugely stylish wife of 27 odd years is Odette, a key member of the design team and can’t you just imagine her concluding ‘I love these clothes we’re making but boy could we do with a few air vents for hot flushes’. Just a thought…
Christopher Kane’s clothes are worn by the very stylish and are elegantly youthful in their aesthetic, but of course Christopher has been mentored in the past by non other than Donatella Versace, having been head designer at Versus until last November. Donatella (I’m guessing) has been through the menopause herself and would see the advantage of cooling gaps for us 50plus women, is it out of the question that she could have encouraged Christopher to add a few to his recent much-lauded AW13 range?
And then we have more easy-access-to-air designs from Marios Schwab, who has equipped his elegant gothic-velvet dresses with sleeves you can flap out of in an instant, then quickly wrap around you again once you regain your composure and cool down.
I’m tell you people, it’s the beginning of a (tongue-firmly-in-cheek-here) trend. Not only are older women appearing in more adverts, designing their own cosmetic lines and generally being more influential in fashion, we’re even getting clothes designed with hot-flushes in mind. Flush-Fashion, you heard it here first.