Monday, 16 April 2012

Top Spring/Summer 2012 Trends

As we're mid-way through the season, it seems fitting to look at the trends that have really made an impact in fashion and beauty. Here are seven of the best, giving you a week's worth of looks to road test:

 [Images via - please click to enlarge. 
L-R: Viktor & Rolf, Comme des Garcons, Meadham Kirchhoff].

1. Living Doll

On the Catwalk: Viktor & Rolf, Comme des Garcons and Meadham Kirchhoff all went for the doll aesthetic, fuelled by satin ruffles, frou frou skirts and very high necklines. Accessories included knee high socks, liberal amounts of glitter and incredibly long eyelashes, with Red Riding Hood-style capes seen at Vivienne Westwood to cover up. 

Wear with: tons of feline eyeliner, a sweet shop necklace and a quirky handbag, taking your cue from Olympia Le Tan's book clutch bags as seen on A-listers including Michelle Williams, who went for JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye as her arm candy.

2. Cut and Paste

On the Catwalk: paste jewellery was seen at Miu Miu (in the form of cameo necklaces) and Dolce & Gabbana (used to embellish bodysuits and dresses), whilst Christian Dior's Spring Couture collection included jackets and skirts with exaggerated and obvious stitching lines. Meanwhile, laser-cut fabric turned heads at Louis Vuitton, Oscar de la Renta and Valentino, among others. The rule of thumb: either less is more, or more is more, with intricate layers of jewels or stripped back cluster sections of lace-like fabric holes doing the talking. Either way it's a feminine trump card that is more ladylike than the doll look.

Wear with: white tights and a beehive hairdo, applying as much Ellnett hairspray as possible - it's used by countless hair stylists and models.

[L-R: Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Balenciaga].

3. Olympic Arms

On the Catwalk: the shoulder was a key focus at Stella McCartney and Lanvin, where athletic arms really shone and you could forget about digging out your sports bra. The sports luxe trend relies on lashings of satin, halternecks, the occasional basketball vest shape and plenty of baseball jackets. Balenciaga provided padded shoulders that American jocks could almost carry off with aplomb. 

Wear with: a hint of body shimmer and bronzer (not too much or you'll give it an Essex feel), alongside a neoprene rucksack, fluoro eyeliner and Topshop hi-tops if you're going down the casual vest route.

4. Serious Talons

On the Celebrities: Both Adele and Lady Gaga have, ahem, spiked interest with their pointed manicures. If you're looking to really go for something different in beauty then this is definitely a style worth considering, as you'll never be able to stand a boring squared-off row of false nails again. Grab a rounded set and file them to an inverted 'V' shape if you can't find cool enough options on the high street.

Wear with: a pair of killer heels and some chandelier earrings. This look is versatile enough to work with several different styles, from leather jacket and hot-pants to the little black dress.

 [L-R: Charlotte Ronson, Prada, Louis Vuitton].

5. The Life Aquatic

On the Catwalk: it didn't have to be sea-themed, but aqua was everywhere during the S/S 2012 fashion weeks, from Charlotte Ronson's cool USA chiffon vibe to the elegant lace-clad Rodarte girl and the city-dwelling Prada woman with her long coat hiding a sneaky crop top. Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton brought us aqua tweed and gorgeous triple-strap kitten heels, House of Holland introduced cloudy aqua denim amidst sugared almond shades, and we all suddenly felt the need for an injection of that pale greenish-blue. This may have been the tip of the iceberg as far as pastels go right now, but it was a bloody big iceberg; aqua is the colour du jour.

Wear with: take a tip from Prada and go for bright red, making the blue tones really pop in comparison. Don't forget an aqua manicure or pedicure (try Barry M's Blue Moon) and a slick of pale lip gloss.

6. Deco Decade

On the Catwalk: Whether you blame the recession's glance back to the Great Depression, the Great Gatsby remake or the fact that Downton Abbey will be placing its third series in this decade, there was no denying the historical link between Dolce & Gabbana, Alberta Ferretti and Etro was firmly set to Art Deco. Milan Fashion Week, in particular, went crazy for the 1920s, but many other designers payed heed to all things Jazz Age, including Ralph Lauren. Key quirks included geometric lines, burnished gold accents on dresses, thin headbands and t-bar or Mary Jane shoes. Even at Victoria Beckham, the drop waist dress could be seen to have a 20s origin if you looked hard enough.

Wear with: the Marcel wave. A notoriously fiddly hair do, this is one of the most iconic things about the 1920s. Curl your hair and set the kinks with curling tongs and metal hairdressing clips, ideally following some of the brilliant step-by-step guides on Youtube.

 [L-R: Mary Katrantzou, Rodarte, Erdem].

7. Heavy Petal

On the Catwalk: the queen of intense floral prints is Mary Katrantzou, who continued to use them in her work but also added newer influences like underwater and animal forms which sat well with the flowers that made her famous. Meanwhile Erdem, another London print king, looked to chintzy blooms that stood out thanks to vintage-style hats, giving everything an air of cool granny chic. Lastly, those California Dreamers at Rodarte - sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy - made us look afresh at Van Gogh's sunflowers for our floral cues.

Wear with: all black or white creates a blank canvas from which the prints can almost blossom. Try a black pencil skirt with a simple black beret, a plain white t-shirt and studded kitten heels, or black leather trousers and minimalist boots.

Of course, this is by no means a comprehensive list, as there's still half a season for micro trends to emerge and expected trends to sell pitifully (yep, it can happen). Just bear in mind that these seven are going to be sticking around for a while yet, so you'd better get used to it!

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