Let there be light

Summer skins

Leather, python, fur ... in spring? What are those designers thinking? Blame global warming, with its unpredictable weather patterns; or the retail cycle, which sees spring/summer clothes delivered in the chill winds of February and March; or globalisation, which means that when consumers in the northern hemisphere are preparing for warmth, those in the south are girding themselves for winter – and why should they be excluded just because of the fashion system? Whatever the reasons, skins are set to become summer staples. Treated until they are as supple as silk, as comfortable as cotton, they’ll make you rethink your material assumptions.

From left: Jil Sander, Bottega Veneta, Marni, Roberto Cavalli

Nights in white cotton

... and silk and embellishment, but mostly cotton. The crispness and cleanliness of pure white is a perennial summer story – the Little White Dress is the yin to the Little Black Dress’s yang – but designers keep finding new ways to tell it. This time round it’s more sophisticated than sweet, not so much about purity as purism: of line, structure, shade. And it’s not limited to day or picnicking by the poolside; nor is it remotely bridal. When the world around you is dark and heavy – metaphorically speaking anyway – why not let in some light? Just be careful with the red wine.

From left: Prada, Etro, Gucci, Pucci

Eastern influence

Ah, the designing mind. It’s like a witch’s cauldron. After all, toil and trouble are not exactly foreign to fashion in these economic times. Toss in the obsession with China; the rise of markets in South Korea and Vietnam; the Japanese earthquake and the style world’s co-ordinated response; boil, boil ... and stir. Maybe dance a bit in the atelier and try some chanting (who knows what alchemy they do in there?). Then, what do you get? Kimonos! Water lily prints. Dragon embroideries. Nehru collars. Obis. The rise of the east has cast a spell on the season. By the pricking of my thumbs, something trendy this way comes ...

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