A Taste of What’s to Come

The Spring/Summer 2012 shows might have taken place a while ago, but only now, as the colder weather eases off, has looking at them seemed appealing. Here is our trend preview!

When it comes to summing up the general mood of the 2012 Spring/Summer shows, you’d be hard pressed to find a more fitting epithet than “pretty”. As we move towards the mid-section of the year, we’ll see a massive transition – a striking and conscious move away from most of the harsher, boxier androgynous looks that were so prominent on all the 2011 catwalks.

From April and May onwards, you can look forward to sheathing yourself in great swathes of flowing fabric, or layering your outfit with delicate tulles, stiffened silks and intricate, but subtle embroidery. Think Marchesa dresses and you will immediately have an idea of what we mean here. Inspiration for so many of the SS12 collections seems to have been lifted directly from a Chapman and Craig lookbook.

Bustier Detail
Having shirked many of the properties of feminine seduction for a while, this season the fashion world brings womanly curves back into the spotlight. One of the most exciting trends for the Spring/Summer season is the detailed bustier. It’s like being able to wear your favourite Agent Provocateur underwear on the outside for all the world to see! Scalloped stitches, swirling embroidery and little metal panels have all been present on the runways, helping to draw the eye to this most seductive of areas.

Soft Greys
The only real hangover from the minimalist androgyny of Autumn/Winter is a case of colour. Although we will see many places on the spectrum receive focus this year — mainly in pastel shades — the nudes, taupes and soft greys of the minimalist palette are sticking around.
Sticking to the paler tones, Stella McCartney, Armani and many others chose to create single colour grey looks for their collections. This colour was particularly popular for suiting and tailoring, but in a less tailored and stiffly structured way to previous seasons.

 Monochrome  Patterns
Prints and patterns always manage to find their way onto the catwalks in some incarnation. Whether it is tribal, geometric or stencil shapes, you are sure to find a trend that encompasses them. This season, there are a few different types of print and patterns on show, but there seems to be a real lust for monochrome designs. Zig zags, zebra print, mock fret-work; it’s all there. If you aren’t quite ready to let go of the more masculine styles from the winter season, this is a good way to incorporate some of it into your outfit. A high-necked shirt with a monochrome pattern, worn with a pencil skirt or peg-leg trousers would be a great look.

The Roaring 20s
Flapper girls are dancing their way into spring; decked out in a variety of gorgeous, low-waisted, scoop-necked designs. Forget the swinging 60s or the hippie 70s, the 20s is the new decade of inspiration.
One of the coolest things we’ve seen so far is a range of flapper-style dresses, converted into luxe sportswear by Versus. They might not be the easiest things to wear, but it’s certainly a more modern take on the design.Other than this, you can look out for a fabulous range of gem and stud-encrusted gowns. A very decadent and striking use of the 20s silhouette.

Assorted  Prints

As we’ve already said, prints get around no matter the season. This coming season doesn’t seem to have a particular print trend, as such, but rather a tendency for throwing many assorted prints together. Mixing art deco designs with floral kimonos or picking a gingham dress with spotted panels would all be kosher for SS12.
Whatever path you choose to venture down, make it bold and stand-out…flowers might be a print favourite, but wall-flowers will get nowhere in the fashion stakes.

Although flowing chiffons and silks are certainly de rigueur for the coming months, there is always a little room for something with a bit more structure. The Lady Gaga exaggerated shoulders are still in circulation, as you can see on the McQueen catwalks, but there is more to the trend than just this. We mentioned in the introduction that there was a distinct Marchesa-esque feel to a lot of the designs this season. If you have ever seen the Marchesa rose: a big, gathered flower made out of material and a feature of many of the brand’s dresses, then you will notice echoes of it in several other collections.

Fitting in with the other aspects of dainty femininity that we’ve seen so far, designers have shown a penchant for delicate beadwork. Swirling designs, intricate patterning and the use of small, pretty beads all blend to create heavy, but beautifully hanging dresses.
The use of sheer fabric alongside this beadwork has also been a popular choice. Whether it is sheer silk overlays, or glimpses of the skin beneath the fabric; a slightly see-through aspect is essential to this trend.

Crop Tops
Playing on a vintage Americana vibe, many of the designers have seen fit to incorporate crop tops into their collections. Worn with a denim high-waisted, A-line skirt,
or high-wasted shorts, these crop tops are a vision of retro sun-basking days on the California coastline. Throw on some big feline-looking sunglasses and you’ve got the look down-pat.
There are other ways to wear the crop top too though, such as with a shimmering skirt on a night out, out with structured trousers and a blazer. Be warned though, a high-wasted garment on the lower half
is essential — otherwise you’ll have too much flesh on show.

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