iStyle: Haute on the range

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Make hay while the sun shines and take inspiration from the prairie with denim and gingham this season, says Rebecca Gonsalves

“She could be a farmer in those clothes.” That line, as delivered by the villainous Amber in seminal high-school film Clueless, was the ultimate in withering insults circa 1995. And though the sentiment may still pack a vicious punch, rural fashion has been a huge influence of late.

While last autumn the “Hoxton farmer” look  – all wax jackets, Chelsea boots and ripped yarns – seemed to finally reach its apex, this summer inspiration comes from further afield. Instead, the uniform of those who till the soil  of the rolling plains of America’s mid-west,  combines with a nod-to cowboy style.

Anything but dowdy, modern interpretations of the look familiar from Little House on the  Prairie are updated with an urban sexiness –  encapsulated by the dishevelled styling of Prada’s pre-fall 13 campaign, shot by Steven Meisel which features gingham shirtdresses, their ruffle-plackets artfully unbuttoned and matched with leather jackets and the brand’s bags. The check appears on more than just sundresses though, featuring on footwear too.

Smock dresses, shorts and overalls are all over the high street, and great for easy summer dressing. In chambray and softer-wash denims they’re perfectly timed for the fast-approaching festival season: although for inspiration, think California’s Coachella rather than the water-logged fields of Glastonbury. Fringing or crochet trims add to the home-spun vibe of cut-off shorts, while chintzy flowers and embroidery are feminine touches that work well in the  overall colour scheme of red, white and blue.

Avoid anything too authentically agricultural unless you are attending a festival: heeled ankle boots with a tassel or fringing, desert boots or even sturdy sandals are a good way to finish the look. But remember, no matter how brightly the sun shines, draw the line at wearing a bonnet.

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