Dresses may dominate the red carpet, but some of the world’s most stylish women are known for literally wearing the pants. Picture Bianca Jagger in muslin flares on Mustique in the 70s, Taylor Swift rocking high-waisted indigo denim on the streets of New York or Lauren Bacall owning the bootleg beloved in the 80s.
Paloma Picasso is renowned for her beautifully breezy palazzo pants and Lupito Nyong’o for striding out in confident culottes, with all five famous females providing inspiration for a new range of trousers by British designer Osman Yousefzada. The Perfect Five is a capsule collection of key trousers in timeless silhouettes celebrating the iconic women who have worn them, produced in collaboration with The Woolmark Company and launched in partnership with Harvey Nichols.
The Lauren, the Paloma, the Bianca (left), the Taylor and the Lupita comprise the five styles in the range of classic cuts with contemporary appeal.
“They’re special basics, they’re not super fashion, so I wanted to give them a back story,” says Yousefzada of the celebrity style names. Renowned for his clean lines and precision tailoring, Yousefzada has incorporated refined cuts and luxurious fabrics including wool, satin and lace to craft a sophisticated yet eminently wearable collection of trousers, pants and culottes.
“The key to the perfect trousers is marrying the perfect cloth with the perfect cut,” he says. “That is why I have married wool, which is comfortable resilient and breathable, with a cut that enhances and give you the best derrière possible.” Of course, derrieres come in all shapes and sizes, hence creating five styles to suit all figures and tastes. “I really believe that each of these trousers will work on lots of different shapes,” says Yousefzada.
Perfect for a more playful approach, the Taylor’s cropped hem and high waist makes a nod to the 60s, while the Paloma offers a grown up twist on a bohemian classic. The Lauren is a sophisticated straight leg trouser with a slight flare, the Bianca’s Oxford bag styling delivers the ultimate in laid back elegance, and the Lupita channels the red carpet nonchalance of its namesake. Together the Perfect Five deliver style solutions for every woman who appreciates the elegance and timelessness of a perfectly cut pair of pants.
“I think the trouser is the most versatile and egalitarian garment because it can be dramatic and statement from the red carpet to the office,” says Yousefzada. “You can easily square yourself, put in your hands in your pockets and be ready to take on the world.”
To celebrate the launch of Osman Yousefzada’s Perfect Five collection, Harvey Nichols Group Fashion Buyer Anita Barr offers insight on buying the latest must-have trousers. From fabric to fit, discover how leading ladies are the ones who wear the pants.
What makes the perfect trouser?
For me, I look for versatility; styles that will carry me through the show season, from travelling to running around buying appointments and then onto the evening parties. Fabric choice is another important factor when choosing your perfect pair of trousers, you don’t want to buy a pair that will crease easily and you want them to move fluidly with your body, there’s nothing worse than trousers that gather in the wrong places!
I usually look for a heavy weight fabric as I find they hang better. I tend to stick with the more androgynous silhouettes, like the straight leg or tailored wide leg such as Osman’s Taylor and Bianca.
When choosing your perfect trouser, consider if it will have the same effect as the classic LBD or blazer. Your trousers should be investment pieces that you can wear time and time again and become part of your capsule wardrobe.
Why do you think wool is the perfect fibre for trousers?
I always look for natural fibres when I buy my clothes, they’re durable, allow your body to breath and I find natural fibres allow the pieces to hold their shape. I think wool has in the past been misinterpreted; it doesn’t have to be this dense, coarse fabric that people remember it to be, it’s a really elegant and sophisticated fabric.
What are the latest trouser shapes in store this Autumn/Winter at Harvey Nichols?
With the continuation of the 70s trend, we are seeing the wide leg and flare silhouette continuing to be a strong shape this season. We have picked up on the silhouette across all our categories from denim to formalwear. Our customers are definitely more willing to try new shapes, moving away from their favourite skinny style and we are seeing styles such as culottes and cropped trousers becoming leaders in the field too.
Which are your favourite Osman trousers from the capsule collection?
My favourite style from Osman’s Perfect Five collection in association with The Woolmark Company, is the Bianca.
From premium department stores to Portobello Markets, this Brit buyer knows good design