Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fashion returns to happy days

The dress-over-pants is back. Coming, ready or not, this is the retro look English fashion writers once dubbed "the New Zealand look".

If it is a dress-dress it has stand-alone appeal as well as wrapping the whole look.

Those who are into year-round retail therapy will find a tunic gives them more for their money.

A tunic is a tunic worn over skinny jeans or leggings, but wear it alone and it's a mini-dress – another key look come summer.

On a more flippant note is the message for Baby.

Doll, this is your season. The dress you loved in the years between pre-school and pre-pubescence is the success of the season.

Whatever age you are now, kiddo, there's a baby-doll dress with your name on it.

Empire look but an eensy bit sporty.

Flirty, feminine and pretty, pretty, pretty.

Metallics are showing up in everything from ballet flats to boots, mini-skirts to cardigans, shirt dresses to sun dresses (hey, hey, happy days; it is 1955 again).

Pale gold and soft silver lurex pick up the thread for knits, and linen-like weaves are firmed up with foil prints.

In the same retro mood, softness returns.

There are gathered necklines on tops and tunics and dolman sleeves on everything else.
There is every possibility we'll look round-shouldered but maybe new under-pinnings will fix our stance.

Colour has taken a back seat for a few months after shoppers took a "not interested thanks" stance of winter.

Spring/summer promises to be a drift of pale blue, washes of genteel citrus and as many shades of grey as you think of, although it should be noted the new grey is silver.

Sharon Ng (Ng Design) went shopping in Paris recently and her store is showing a stash of silver in exquisite haute-design garments by Irish-but-living-in-Paris designer Sharon Wauchop and Russian-but-showing-in-Paris designer Alena Akhmadulli.

Designers at home who stake out their own territory rather than following others – Trelise Cooper, Cybele, Zambesi, Stitch Ministry, and Andrea Moore – inject shots of colour – think kelly green, hot red, purple and a pick of oranges – into their collections along with ageless black/white, navy/ecru combinations.

Shoes, too, get off on colour and already we're seeing orange and red among the metallics and creamy tawny snakeskins.

Heels stay up and boots are the goods with everything. As for accessories, think big.
Should be an easy season.

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