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The Independent Culture
FASHION is a very confusing thing. Take this year's spring/summer collections: while Alexander McQueen would have women look like Dolly Parton in Givenchy leather and fringeing, John Galliano prefers Thirties glamour, and Jean Paul Gaultier thinks they should come over all Frida Kahlo and go to work in Mexican peasant dress. Meanwhile, fashionable men can take their pick from Gaultier's Italian stallions, John Rocha's bohemian mix of George Best and Seventies rock'n' roll dandy, or Walter Van Birendock's tango costumes in bright green rubber, complete with matching gas masks. Some choice, huh?

What you need is a guide to the best (and the worst) of the catwalk looks - which, over the next eight pages, we're only too happy to provide. You'll find chic, understated luxury from Prada, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs, featuring the seas-on's star buys of crisp cotton shirts and cashmere T-shirts; bright acid colours, especially pink, from Matthew Williamson and Versace, or cool, bright white from nearly everyone. For the crumpled brigade, drawstrings on everything from waistbands to necklines make getting dressed seriously easy; while an abundance of smart suits will keep the workers happy. Finally, for those who believe fashion should really be frivolous, there's the 'Club Tropicana' look (overleaf). Have fun.