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.

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.

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

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.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

More on this topic

Suggestions below based on Style

From college to catwalk

Design schools have finally decided to raise their profile via a series of pop-up shops and luxury fashion collaborations

A muse at the museum

An exhibition of Daphne Guinness’s clothes celebrates her individuality and imagination

Cool contrasts

Cool contrasts on the catwalk: all the women’s wear trends for spring/summer 2012