The Coolest Personal Shoppers on the Only Autumn Items That Matter

Who does a fashion editor trust for style advice? These days, I'm all about tapping the luxury world's top personal shoppers. They're the ones with direct lines to the biggest and coolest brands, the gurus who can track down a special sold-out item when the rest of us gave up months ago, and the inside experts getting a detailed view of what people with big budgets (both celebs and non-celebs) are putting first dibs on ahead of a new season. They are, in essence, a more connected link between what's being created and what consumers are actually buying in real time, and with the kind of access they have to fabulous things, you can bet your bottom dollar they are fussy as hell. Ergo, their recommendations should be accepted as gospel.

The prominence of the personal shopper is rising, and the concept is diversifying. Once upon a time, I thought of personal shoppers as the kind of so-called fashion expert (in inverted commas) lurking in a changing room ready to swoop in and overhaul your look if you were clueless, providing a sensible, probably quite commercial eye to, say, a workwear closet. These days, the vibe is very different and rarified. There are cool customers over the globe who are dipping in and out of using personal shoppers to find gold dust–like It items or collectables. There are pioneering companies, such as digitally native Threads, where you can get in touch with a personal shopper via WhatsApp as easily as you can order a sushi delivery. The job spec has changed so much in this realm that it's perhaps more accurate to call these industry members "fashion sourcers." Example? When Rosie Huntington-Whiteley needed to track down a Phoebe Philo–era Céline coat from 2017, she called upon the skills of super style sleuth Gab Waller (included below). The heart wants what the heart wants. So what are the fashion sourcers buying for their own wardrobes this autumn? I simply had to find out…



(Image credit: Courtesy of Angelina Pietrafesa)

Looking for a Prada treasure that has long sold out? Then Pietrafesa (@angelina_pietrafesa), who spends her time sourcing pieces across London and Rome, is your hook-up. She's backing one of the autumn trends I'm most excited about: maxi skirts. "I like this trend because it stands out even if it is a simple colour or cut," she tells me. "Extremes rather than 'in the middle' are proving popular, and I personally prefer to go really short or really long. Extreme lengths are easily paired and contrasted, always creating a more dramatic look, day and night."

As for how she'll be wearing it? "A tight top to create a sleek line or a crop top" is key, she says, adding that you can create a more dynamic and directional look with strong shoulders or sleeves. Platform shoes are a maxi skirt's best friend, and if you want to take the maxi idea a step farther, then she'd recommend a really oversized blazer. "A staple denim or cargo-style skirt in more neutral tones will never disappoint," she says, adding that "a slit is always desirable as well to show off some boots in the colder seasons." As for where to find them, she'd suggest MM6, Jacquemus, Ann Demeulemeester, Simonett and Miu Miu. Although, you might like to know that Pietrafesa's own skirt is a vintage buy from Depop.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Mimi Orore)

Mimi Orere (@mimi.orere) is a stylist, fashion consultant and personal shopper at Thadeus London (@thadeus_london) who we often feature in our content. She has impeccable taste and is always early on to pinpointing an important designer item. Her chosen piece for autumn 2021? Lug-sole Chelsea boots, and more specifically, Bottega ones. They're "an autumn/winter staple, for obvious reasons," she says, confirming that last year's big, stompy cold-weather trend is set to continue and keep us all very happy. "Equal parts practical and cool, the Chelsea boot is timeless and guaranteed to be kept on high rotation, year in, year out," she adds. 

Although the boots you invested in last winter are still entirely in line, the trend has seen some iterations in both style and styling come to the fore. You'll find longer-length versions (like the knee-high Ganni options she's cherry-picked below) popping up, and we like the outfit tweak of tucking in leather trousers (as pictured), leggings or jeans.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Joanne Mason)

Joanne Mason works at the digital platform shaking up the very idea of personalised shopping, Threads (@threadsstyling). Being available via WhatsApp, Threads staffers are privy to a constant stream of what the coolest consumers want to get their mitts on, but they're also adept at forecasting the next big thing. So what's at the top of the list this autumn? A key label. "The brand we want!" says Mason of Kim Jones's first ready-to-wear collection for Fendi. And more specifically, a bag from his debut line, the Fendi First. She says it "has classic appeal with a contemporary twist. Its sleek design means it will complement most pieces in my wardrobe and endure the test of time, making it my must-have investment piece for the season. Threads Styling clients are also loving this style in all colourways so bag yours before it goes." You have been warned.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Isabel Bazzani)

If you haven't yet discovered 24S, I urge you to check it out. As a French store, it has a variety of lesser-known designers but also a different perspective in that the buyers will often choose to stock alternative key pieces from those available on UK and U.S. sites. Isabel Bazzani is a private client executive, and she has access to some of the most luxury pieces on planet fashion. For the season ahead, she's placing bets on a very special jacket. "A personal favourite of mine is the classic and often oversized Celine blazer," she says of what has now become a staple for the heritage label. "This season, the brand added a touch of nobility and refined elegance to their range with the Chasseur jacket. It is a timeless and practical piece that you will wear on repeat for years to come. The gold buttons feature the reintroduced Sulky logo dating back to 1966. It references the horse-drawn vehicle used in harness racing, which paid tribute to the husband of Celine founder Céline Vipiana." So the jacket has a great story stitched into the DNA, but more than anything, it also looks damn chic. 

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Sofi Chetrar)

Sofi Chetrar, a stylist and personal shopper at Harvey Nichols Knightsbridge, was kind enough to share a handful of key trending items that can provide the backbone for an updated autumn closet. She's into high-waisted, straight-leg jeans, playful co-ords and bodysuits, but it's this joyful foray into a burgeoning trend for orange hues that caught my attention. "Orange is everywhere this coming season and will ensure you feel sunny throughout the winter months," she says. Offering some very handy advice for any orange first-timers, the way to make this bold colour feel approachable is to pair one notable piece, like this beautiful Rejina Pyo knit, with edgier items such as chunky boots, a black maxi skirt and gold hardware.

As well as orange, Chetrar also recommends this season's brown tones, which just so happen to go quite nicely together. "Shades of brown were everywhere in S/S 21 and are here to stay. Invest in a good-quality, buttery-leather blazer to elevate your look,” she says.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Emma Ilori)

Flannels' head of womenswear elevation, Emma Ilori, also oversees the personal-shopping department, so she'll know the details on what's flying out of the store on any given day. For her, this season, it's all about feeling a bit more pulled-together than many of us probably have over the past year and a half. The vital item required for such a feat? A perfect-fit blazer. "I'll be living in oversized tailoring for A/W 21," she says. As for how to keep things on the right side of smart and not veer into corporate territory, Ilori will be "teaming it up with gold jewellery" to make "a simple outfit feel a bit more elevated." Of course, she has a favourite style to highlight, and it's the Anine Bing Kaia blazer. Ilori loves the weight and fabric of this jacket, and now I really want to try it on.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Gab Waller)

If you're looking for a rare designer gem, Australian fashion sourcer Gab Waller (@gabwallertdotcom) is the woman you're going to call. Hailey Bieber, Lily Aldridge, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and many more high-profile fashion people trust her with their very precious wardrobes, so it seems sensible to follow her advice for the season: Invest in her go-to brand, Bottega Veneta. "I find myself naturally drawn to Bottega Veneta each season," she tells me. "Each collection is filled with a mix of unique and timeless pieces that can take me from the office directly to an evening event. They are the pieces that I invest in." The black minidress (pictured above) is from the brand, but Waller has some other Bottega beauties she'd like to bring to your attention.

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Laura Emelie Richardson)

"For A/W 21, I'm enjoying shopping for office-to-cocktail looks again," says MATCHESFASHION.COM private shopper Laura Emelie Richardson, echoing the thoughts of many of us I'm sure. Her route in? A jacket. "I always start with a staple blazer to carry me through the season, like this beautiful variation from Valentino. I then tend to let the layering unfold underneath and try to avoid it looking too planned out. I prefer an oversized cut to allow for a roomy look paired with a simple bralette. This also allows comfortable space for layered shirts—like the one I am wearing from new brand HommeGirls—or knitwear on cooler days. After a season of neutrals, I am excited to have fun with bold pops of colour, accessorising with lime-green bags and playful yellow heels from Bottega Veneta." So you've got more than enough there to work from: smart blazer, citrus pops of colour and bralette layering ideas. Thank you, Laura Emilie!

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Hannah Almassi
Editor in Chief

Hannah Almassi is the Editor in Chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was headhunted to launch the UK sister site and social channels, implement a localised content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 16 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times, The Telegraph and, among many others. Hannah is often called upon for her take on trends, becoming known as a person with their finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the fashion space for stylish Brits. Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy son and highly Instagrammable cat.