Fashion: Better safe than sari?

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The Independent Online

At some point in our lives, most of us will suffer from a style syndrome best described as "holiday hangover". Blame it on the heat, blame it on the cocktails, but during our time abroad, traditional local fashions – be it hippie-chick sarongs in Bali or jewel-coloured qipaos in Beijing – suddenly start to look dangerously appealing.

The afflicted party will joyfully invest in armfuls of said garments, pay the excess baggage and return home to reality eager to road-test the new look. In the slightly less exotic environs of home, however, everything looks a lot less convincing and after a few days of trailing along wet pavements in a soggy, tie-dyed maxi dress, the holiday gear is consigned to the darkest recesses of the wardrobe.

So it is something of a surprise that this season designers seem to be experiencing a collective holiday hangover, with a slew of culturally inspired looks.

At Hermès, Jean-Paul Gaultier is predicting an Indian summer, clothing his models in jodhpurs and saris over shorts and leggings. Japan is the destination of choice for Alexander McQueen, YSL and Alessandro Dell'Acqua, whose collections all feature waist-cinching Obi belts. And the world tour continued on the catwalks, as Oscar de la Renta and Diane von Furstenberg opted for African prints, while Matthew Williamson channelled a Navaho vibe for Pucci and his own label.

So wherever you holiday this year, embrace the local style safe in the knowledge that you'll be in designer company. Unless you happen to be in Blackpool – a "Kiss Me Quick" hat will never be a good look.

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