Essentiel Antwerp is the new label you need to know about

Though you might not be familiar with the name (you'll probably want to brush up on your homework after this), Belgian label Essentiel Antwerp has been around for a number of years now. Eye-catching prints and textures, bombastic knitwear and bohemian dresses form the basis of Essentiel Antwerp's aesthetic. It's playful yet stylish and sophisticated, it's tough with balanced hints of femininity.

Established in 1999 by wife and husband-duo Inge Onsea and Esfan Eghtessadi, EA originally focused on a basic T-shirt collection (four types in twenty different colours) that has now expanded to ready-to-wear, footwear and accessories. What's interesting about the pair is that neither had any formal fashion training, but both had a deep-rooted love of design that resulted in the fabrication of essentiel Antwerp (in their living room, no less). Judging by their cool appearance (no, this isn't a campaign shot – this is actually them), it appears that the creative couple was destined for the fashion industry...

Inge Onsea and Esfan Eghtessadi. Source, essentiel-antwerp.com

Cool-as-cucumber owners and creative directors, Inge Onsea and Esfan Eghtessadi. Source, essentiel-antwerp.com

Today, the brand boasts 55 brick-and-mortar stores in 35 countries around the world. EA's approach to transitional, seasonal selection is refreshing and off-beat and if that doesn't pull you in, the labels flamboyant and luxurious knitwear will... Its latest collection recently dropped in Arnotts, and we suggest you make a bee-line for it sooner rather than later. Here are five pieces to get excited about.

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Faux fur

 

Colourful striped faux fur coat, €395 at essentiel-antwerp.com

Colourful striped faux fur coat, €395 at essentiel-antwerp.com

In case you missed it, faux fur is the new real fur, and this elegant, striped coat is for women who want to embrace their femininity with attitude. This uber-cosy faux fur edition to your wardrobe will bring a plentiful supply of colour and maximum comfort. The considered palette of this coat makes it look far more expensive than it is. This is a really high-fashion piece at a great price.

The chunky knit

Rafari Sweater, €195 at arnotts.ie and in-store

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Rafari Sweater, €195 at arnotts.ie and in-store

It's far from actual autumn (which starts on September 23rd), but we need something in the interim that will keep me warm while the weather refuses to make its mind up. The key to cracking transitional, seasonal style is layers. Light knitwear is the perfect remedy for cold shoulders and arms, and even the most casual options - like this fun-coloured, chunky knit, above - is an ideal cure for a midday wind-chill.

The shirtdress

 

Red checked shirt dress with embroidered flowers, €165 at essentiel-antwerp.com

Red checked shirt dress with embroidered flowers, €165 at essentiel-antwerp.com

If you're looking for versatility in your wardrobe, and really, who isn't, then a shirtdress is the one piece that could save you from any number of sartorial quandaries over the coming months. It's one of those understated, utilitarian items that often gets forgotten among the plethora of brand new bright and shiny trends that emerge twice a year. But not only is it a workhorse of an item, it's so effortlessly chic too. Plus it works for almost every body shape. Pair this checked and embroidered shirtdress over denim or leather trousers for an autumn dress update.

The sequinned skirt

quins, €125 in-store in Arnotts

Pencil skirt with red and pink sequins, €125 in-store in Arnotts

If you define yourself as a safe dresser, then the approaching season – and the shimmer and sparkles that go hand-in-hand with it (ahem, Christmas, ahem) – may seem daunting.  The key to pulling off sequins is to ground the light-refracting embellishment with sensible, frill-free pairings, like a basic knit or a checked oversized blazer (or both). This elegant deep burgundy pencil skirt will make you shimmer and shine all day (and night) long.

Leopard print

Leopard print mini wrap dress, €195 at essentiel-antwerp.com

Leopard print mini wrap dress, €195 at essentiel-antwerp.com

AW18 will be a wild one, so wear spots and stripes loud and proud. This V-neck wrap dress with playful leopard print will be your new favourite animal print piece. A flattering V-neck cut is the playful addition your dinner-party needed, while the wrap belt draws attention to the slimmest point. This is the iconic wrap dress at its best. And don't forget that mixing animal prints is the key to achieving "the look" this season, so don't be afraid to pair with fiery-red snake-skin heels or even zebra-print tights.

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The kitten slingback

 

Black studded kitten heels, €195 at essentiel-antwerp.com

Black studded kitten heels, €195 at essentiel-antwerp.com

Low-heeled, flat shoes and trainers are fundamental to a good work-life balance, so it's not surprising that EA has included a kitten slingback to its AW18 arsenal. Punctuated with reflective studs, this leather point-toe pair is perfect for going from desk-to-dancefloor. This pair is set on a 60mm heel and has chic ankle straps for extra support. We'll be styling ours with corduroy and cropped denim for an injection of 70s revival.

White dotted faux fur scarf, €115 at essentiel-antwerp.com

White dotted faux fur scarf, €115 at essentiel-antwerp.com

Prepare for colder days in comfort with this faux fur scarf. The polka-dot, Cruella-Deville pattern is the serves up the right amount of nostalgia while simultaneously hitting the polka-dot trend on the head. There's an undeniable touch of old Hollywood glamour, too. Pair with bright, vibrant colours for daytime fun and for an evening look, drape across the shoulders for a little infusion of sex-appeal.

 

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