For A/W 2014, designers have been plundering the world of evil stepmothers, princesses in towers and houses made of gingerbread – quite appropriate in a year that saw the release of Malificent, Disney's dark take on Sleeping Beauty's queen-gone-bad, and a new Beauty and the Beast starring the wide-eyed Emma Watson.
The catwalk take on fairy tales includes a Snow White-worthy coterie of woodland creatures. Dolce & Gabbana called their collection Enchanted Sicily and made couture-quality owls and squirrels in luxurious embroidery and pretty felt cut-outs. Red Riding Hood had an entire wardrobe, with capes and hoods all in crimson. Alexander McQueen felt like a collection for the Snow Queen, all icy colours and furry textures to keep her warm, and Mary Katrantzou’s heraldry prints could have appeared in the fanciest of castles. Valentino’s fairy tale dresses – in tulle intertwined with delicate flowers – were perhaps the ultimate. They looked fit for Cinderella herself.
Of course, fairy tales are a perennial in fashion – they’re fables that we all know by heart, ones that teach us life lessons before we’re even able to read. Albert Einstein famously said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko is continually inspired by them in her designs, as well as what she wears herself: Gretel-style plaits regularly finish her look, which features Snow White-style puffed sleeve blouses and flowing skirts.
The romance of fairy tales never leaves us completely. Now is the time to pick your heroine to inhabit. Forget modern life and live in the make-believe this season – with fashion on your side, all your dreams could very well come true.