September 23, 2011 9:54 pm

Ready or not

Carola Long reports on the spring/summer 2012 women’s wear trends at London fashion week

Sheer audacity “The seen and the unseen” is how Erdem Moralglioglu described the sensual sheerness of dresses in nude-coloured organza and lace. In a subtle game of sartorial hide-and-seek, “for everything that was shown, something was covered”. Sheer fabrics, and even see-through plastics, were a huge trend. MariosSchwabshoweda sophisticated look with a black mesh full-length dress over a bodice of sequins, while Alice Temperley showed a sheer jumpsuit as Pippa Middleton looked on. Will she dare to wear it? The paparazzi surely hope so.

Burberry Prorsum, Jonathan Saunders, Daks, Jaeger and Nicole Farhi

Turn up the volume: (from left) Burberry Prorsum, Jonathan Saunders, Daks, Jaeger and Nicole Farhi

Turn up the volume Come spring there’s a softer option than this season’s ubiquitous pencil skirt: the more relaxed full skirt. On the catwalk it came in different lengths and fabrics: chocolate, damson and navy linen at Burberry; above and below the knee in lime paisley brocade at Jonathan Saunders. While it might be associated with 1950s debutantes and homemakers, its connotations of passive femininity have dwindled in part thanks to Michelle Obama who often wears swishy skirts. Now, alpha females can do volume.

Paul Smith, Mary Katrantzou, Clements Ribeiro and Matthew Williamson

Patterned pants: (from left) Paul Smith, Mary Katrantzou, Clements Ribeiro and Matthew Williamson

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Patterned pants This trend has been gathering momentum for a while, and shows no signs of going away. From pyjama-like paisley print silk versions with an elasticated waist at Clements Ribeiro to skinny flares printed with brightly-coloured flowers at Mary Katrantzou to checks at Vivienne Westwood, printed trousers offer a modern reversal of the more conventional combination of plain trousers worn with a printed top. Some designers styled them with matching or clashing tops, but the easiest way to pull them off is with a plain T-shirt or knit. Yes, they require a mental leap, but it’s one giant leap for your wardrobe.

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