Let's be honest. We've had mixed feelings about purple in the past. It's been seen as a slightly gaudy colour linked in our minds to the fashion crimes of the glam-rock 1970s. But a quick flick look at the pictures from the latest catwalk collections confirms that purple is THE colour every woman must have in her wardrobe this autumn.

See some key purple pieces here.

Don't do what we were all encouraged to do with brown a few years ago - replacing all our staple black with chocolate shades which just looked drab a year later. But embracing purple is a good way to add a splash of colour to your charcoals, greys and blacks. Purple comes in many guises – from mauve to burgundy and plum to aubergine - there’s something to suit everyone’s taste.

This season, Christopher Kane’s AW12 offering was all about bold, clashing purple prints, showcased on a purple catwalk, while at Erdem, an understated purple flower print added interest to black lace and leather and stood out in a collection dominated by the brand’s signature edgy florals. Purple was one of the many jewel shades featured on the Chanel AW12 runway, with crystals contrasting with rich fabrics to create a futuristic vibe. At Miu Miu and Prada, purple featured in bold optical prints, resulting in a retro yet very modern feel, while Gucci showcased the shade in dramatic oversized furs.

The AW12 runways showed us the versatility of purple, but the constant factor was the colour’s ability to enhance a look with a mysterious, transformative power. Dark, moody winter florals are given even more depth as a result of the shade, as shown by Warehouse and Hobbs London. And don’t worry about looking too matchy-matchy: the key is to wear the colour all over in various prints and fabrics, and adding extra accents of purple with accessories is a clever way to further enrich your look.

Georgina Heffernan