Nothing is more dramatic than a twist and exit in a cape. All kinds of otherwise tedious day-to-day duties can have a subtly theatrical air in a cape or cape jacket. Think about riding your bicycle to work. Now think about it in a lovely navy blue wool cape, hands through the slits to reach the handlebars and the cape quite practically billowing out behind you, all while simultaneously keeping you warm and shockingly chic. You’ve got a lovely knitted turtleneck sweater on underneath, with long riding boots and slim trousers tucked in. You're having a particularly good hair day and the crisp air feels nice on your skin. All of this because your riding to work in a new wool cape. A military style cape in a felted dark green wool, perfect for doing the grocery shopping in. A velvet cape that drapes elegantly, with a night slip style dress underneath, what better to wear to pick up the dry-cleaning! In all seriousness a women’s cape jacket can become a wonderful sidekick, no alter ego required. A winter cape is far warmer and practical than one might give it credit for and surprisingly flexible when it comes to the diversity of items that can be worn underneath.
All that spins around, comes back around.
The cape had numerous and long glory periods. It was once the height of elegance to wear a formal cape over your evening gowns, often in crisp Dupont silks in bright colours like hot pink or citrus yellow. Or there were cocoon shaped heavy wool capes in winter white or buttery cream, often with fur muffs to match. Hoods were hip and so were long gloves worn to replace long sleeves. At some point later on in the seventies capes morphed into ponchos, crocheted in rainbow colours, or knitted in wispy mohair and by the eighties they had all but disappeared, left exclusively to anyone dressed as a superhero or magician. The cape (and indeed the poncho) came back in spectacular style. Maybe it started by stylists hunting feverishly to find vintage varieties by Hubert de Givenchy? It certainly led to designers invigorating a classic into something excitingly new and feverishly desirable, fainting in a flurry over a Burberry cape, an emotional state that has clearly been maintained. Did you see Gucci’s most recent cape with illustrative embroidery? The Chloé wool poncho? Or what about cropped varieties with genius waist-defining belts that leave the back of the cape to billow? Or the delicate draped kind that hints at Victorian romance? A cashmere cape, or cashmere poncho, (they’re much of a muchness) the most snuggle-worthy thing ever invented! It’s a clothing item that appears to be made exclusively for looking luxuriously warm, like you’re in Sunday-morning-in-bed mode. For the cashmere poncho we highly doubt you’ll find anyone better than Loro Piana, those lush fibres in those classic shapes have no superiors!
It’s what’s inside that counts.
With a cape, or a poncho jacket, that's not entirely true. You can make the outfit entirely about the full circumference of your cape or poncho, but it is fun to come up with what to wear underneath. The sleeves (or your arms) will show due to the construction of such a garment, so it's nice to wear something that makes that a feature. We love putting mini-length dresses with long sleeves under our capes, with tights and ballet flats. It’s a cute sixties way to do autumn/winter and generally a great silhouette to mix up your cold weather wardrobe. Long sleeve turtleneck bodysuits in white are an amazing match with mid-length structured black capes, paired with boots and high-waisted miniskirts. You can give the bohemian approach a whirl and pair a poncho with flared jeans and a fitted knit top. Give it edge Saint Laurent style, and wear a velvet cape over sequins, fishnets and platform boots! It sounds like we’re being hysterical but as fashion items go, the cape is clearly a swoony category. We’ve spent considerable time filtering through shows, presentations and collections. It wasn’t easy to say no to some, and others were ordered within milliseconds, which we’re sure you’re about to understand why. Twirl, whoosh, exit.