Hidden Charm

Outerwear takes on a new allure on this season's womenswear runways

Highlights from the autumn/winter 2013 womenswear runways give you a clue to new femininity this season: strong yet romantic, bold yet sophisticated. Wintery silhouettes take an unexpected turn to reveal (or rather, conceal) modern women in beautiful jackets, jackets and more jackets. With a strong shoulder or a swinging hem, the choice is yours to make. Staying warm has never been so effortless nor so sexy.

Chanel daringly re-interprets the classic long coat by having the front panel completely cut out, showing off the legs. The “now you see it, now you don't” silhouette is a tongue-in-cheek twist on the traditional long coat-short skirt ensemble. Chanel's iconic tweed jackets are thrown into the spotlight again, accessorized by a glimpse of a barely-there skirt hem and skin-tight thigh-high leather boots for a new urban look. The outerwear's funnel collars, wide raglans and kimono sleeves add a touch of romance that Chanel women just cannot live without.

A medieval princess wandering the land of Sicily – Dolce & Gabbana dreams up a new realm juxtaposed with nostalgic references, sumptuous brocades, golden filigrees, incredible mosaics, embroideries and stones everywhere you look. The breathtaking fabrics and materials perfectly complement a simple A-line silhouette which dominates the collection. The jacket in every practical length – cropped, mid-thigh, right at the knee, just below the knee and mid-calf – takes on a decidedly subdued style and cloaks the modern day royalty in disguise...

This season, Etro's daring prints add a new dimension to an essential silhouette. Long sleeve, knee-length dresses are cut in form-fitting technical fabrics, with a mysterious pattern that looks like a cathedral's vault, Renaissance ceilings...or is it Russian ceramics? High tech prints that collide and criss-cross unveil artwork imagery in an unexpected palette. What better way to match such exuberant pieces than with a black jacket? Hooded, collared, zipped – all in unexpected designs – its generous volume proves just as urban with cropped trousers.

Jil Sander's long coats and below-the-knee sleeveless dresses create a classic silhouette, painted dominantly in black. What makes this eternal colour new again is the beautiful natural materials, such as doubleface felt, bonded leather, cashmere, angora, and merino jacquard knits. Colours like camomile, safran, red clover, slate and sky blue bring lightness and a breath of energy to the sophisticated wintery looks.

In a collection that celebrates outwear, Burberry offers many a solution to stay warm and chic. Belted, the trenchcoat reveals a power shoulder with its entire yoke and sleeves bodly crafted in translucent rubber. Decorated with metallic details, cabans with relaxed sleeves and practical just-above-the-knee length offer a pared down look. Chesterfields, topcoats, and regimental coats have completely broken away from traditional outerwear design. The new style zooms in on luxurious materials so beautiful to the touch that you will not want to take it off.

Unapologetically androgynous, Dsquared2 has turned to the 1940s for inspiration to create a nostalgic collection, made modern with fun colours and luxurious materials. Playing out harmonious tunes with all the suits, jazz pants and below-the-knee skirts, double-breasted jackets take centre stage, featuring oversized buttons, cropped sleeves and large lapels. Besides these unexpected touches, the Neapolitan tailors have created an utterly contemporary and slim look with stunning materials.