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Spring Fashion 2011 : The Review
Ah, March is upon us, and not a moment too soon. Here we are, finally, in the month that promises to serve us up eight days of spring after the main course. This must mean the time has come to put on our fashion spectacles and examine our wardrobes for potential warm weather upgrades. I know from experience, it is crucial to do this before blindly hitting the High Street. This season, we shall do so with a flirty, floral and colourful eye, not without a sprinkling of wit, volume and a few moments of nostalgia for the Seventies.
The biggest news from the Spring/Summer 2011 shows back in September was a memo for code breaking. Bold colour dethroned matchy-matchy, marking a new era of post-sobriety optimism. Suddenly, the strict rules your mother told you about putting hot pink, red and orange together no longer apply. Coordination was subverted all over the runways, most noticeably at Jil Sander and Prada.
Let there be colour, said Muccia Prada. Boldness is the thing for Spring/Summer 2011 and a splash of bright primaries and acid neons -complete with horizontal stripes and bananas- is the best way to work in this mega trend. But don’t forget to take a chill pill. If you’re like me, you may be struggling with the concept of wearing such intense colours and patterns other than to primate-themed rave. It is possible that after several seasons (or a lifetime) of obsession with neutrals on can still have fun with these strangely seductive splashes. The key is to transition both tastefully and gracefully. I am all for a quirky mix of patterns once in a while, but some runway looks that should be reinterpreted before taken to the streets.
Instead of going for the total electric koolaid look, try the floral, more romantic interpretation of blooming colour. Jil Sander shows how to do a softer, more feminine flower power. A floral maxi skirt can easily be paired with a simple white T or collared shirt, a neat chignon, and very little makeup except perhaps a colourful lip. Or, alternately, if you’re a legs gal, a flattering simple trouser or pair of jeans balances out an eye-popper up top.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a renewed love for “extreme” whites is also on the menu. My personal favourite look for a hot summer’s day, whether in the city or by the sea, is the white on white ensemble, now revamped by Alexander Wang, Derek Lam and Calvin Klein. Wang showed a chic series of solid, loose silk dresses and separates while all-white looks at Lam were more than just alright. They are full of classic, covered-up confidence – long-sleeved, belled, or below the knee- and sexy thanks to expert cut, which moves exactly with the body. I love the idea that you don’t need to bare-all to shine in summer looks, though a hint of a tan may help.
Several designers also nodded to Seventies glamour while giving it a modernized feel. At Marc Jacobs, pinks, purples, maroons and golds were done up in studio 54 worthy party dresses. The light, flowy volume of these looks calls up my own personal summer fantasy of transitioning elegantly from an afternoon garden party to supper at an outdoor table lit by fireflies, to a night of dancing in the moonlight. All without the slightest inkling I might need to rush back to the flat and get changed.
Flared jeans and trousers also featured in this throwback, challenging the skinny jean status quo. While there’s nothing quite like a cigarette cut on a long leg, don’t let’s loose sight of the obvious advantages of a higher waisted, slightly looser fitting, elongating flare. While hugging neither the thigh nor the calf too lovingly, such bottoms also allow for a better –well, bottom- and longer-looking legs. Plus there’s room for what I like to call “the secret day heel” –the oldest trick in the French girl’s book, and for good reason. As seen at Derek Lam and on the magnificent Karen (Natasha McElhone) in nearly every episode of Californication.
So, away we go, merrily rejoicing our way into spring. I know I’m going to give these a try and report back soon, as your loyal trend guinea pig.
Until then –joyeux printemps a tous!
High Street Time ?
A humble list of suggestions for real-life (and realistic) runway interpretations:
In descending order of sustained trust:
3. Mossimo Dutti
(Whilst applying a critical eye and certain restraint)
6. Banana Republic
And of course, if you’ve got slightly more cash to spend, we all know the French know all:
- Aime (the London lodgings of the equally glorious APC and Etoile by Isabel Marant)
- Comptoir des Cotonniers
(All conveniently clustered in Westbourne Grove)
(All photos courtesy of Style.com)
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