by Roxanne Van Leuven

It’s that time of year again, when you reluctantly put away your summer dresses and dig through your drawers for your warm winter woolies. The cold season is fast upon us, but this year’s hottest look will give you anything but the winter blues!

With the uniform styling of the marching Cossacks, the embroidery of the Slavonic peasants, and the decadence of the Tsarinas, the romantic era of the Russian Revolution was the inspiration for autumn’s most opulent trend. Top designers like Roberto Cavalli, Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana paid homage to this majestic heritage by giving their Autumn/Winter 2005 collections the tsar treatment.

From Topshop and Warehouse in England to Bebe and Zara in America, the Cossack-inspired Hussar jacket has become the key item for the season. Available in a variety of lengths, military-style coats feature details such as Russian braiding, piping, embroidery, epaulettes and an abundance of buttons.

This season, figure-flattering empire dresses feature baroque embroidery on hems, necklines and sleeves. Velvet tiered skirts are a High Street favorite, adding a luxurious Russian princess feel to any winter wardrobe.

Fur will also be flying high this season, as fox, mink, and rabbit were a prominent feature in collections by well-known and new designers alike. Although many designers opted for real fur, faux-fur imitations are fortunately available in High Street stores. Other indulgent fabrics this season are velvet, leather, corduroy and sheepskin. As for colors, going grey has never been more glamorous and black is definitely back!

Fur is also a popular component of many of this season’s accessories. Bags embellished with buckles, belts, and lashings of fur accessorized the catwalks, as did knee-high boots, fall’s most fashionable footwear. Thanks to designers like Anna Sui and Jean Paul Gaultier, if fall gets too frosty a classic fur Cossack hat is guaranteed to keep the cold out!

Beware though, as this trend needs careful coordination if you want to avoid looking like an extra from Doctor Zhivago! An embroidered military jacket, for instance, looks great with skinny jeans or even a tailored pencil skirt, but resembles historic costume when worn with the rest of this look.

If you enjoyed a summer romance with a gypsy skirt and you loved the embellished bohemian look, then this is the trend for you. With the new Russian look, you’ll turn from boho chick to babushka babe instantly! Sumptuous yet snug, it’s ideal for wintry weather—so wrap yourself up in style this season, and rejoice in pre-revolutionary luxury!