Fashion: State of the art: So that was summer. In Britain, winter clothes are always more exciting, and for next season these six new looks are clearly defined

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The Independent Culture

Everything slim, everything tailored: from shoes to trousers to jacket, the emphasis is on a streamlined silhouette softened by silk scarves

and gentle colours

THAT CURIOUS impulse called desire means, come mid-August, that next winter's offerings begin to look unaccountably attractive - the Whistles chain had women phoning up to place

orders for its fake-fur trimmed coats in July. Whether it's because the need to stay cool during the dog days makes high summer fashion a bit of a non-starter is a moot point (usually it's because summer is non-existent), but at any rate, with winter clothes there always seems to be more to get your teeth into.

What really makes such anticipation well- founded this coming season is the fact that designers and retailers finally seem to have got the measure of what customers want in a recession: something different enough to be tempting but realistic enough to work. At all levels of the market people have become far less gullible. Yes, they want to be fashionable (the reaction against fashion that broke out at the begining of the Nineties and had everyone running around in T- shirts and leggings seems finally to be waning) but real-life fashion victims - that very Eighties syndrome - are a much rarer sight these days.

The biggest break with recent seasons comes with the renewed interest in tailoring. On these pages, we have taken a cue from the catwalk and incorporated it into six distinctive looks, all of which will be around this winter and are already appearing in the shops. In their raw state, some of them may seem a bit theatrical for real life, but any of the core pieces - the sharply cut jacket, the long slim skirt or a pinafore for everyday, a tuxedo for glamorous evenings and a literally great coat - have the strong simple lines that make them new, but not so demanding that you have to undergo a character change to get away with wearing them. -

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