Model town: The hottest trends are backstage and on the street

The fashion world has descended on London – but the clothes on the catwalks are only part of the story. The hottest trends are backstage and on the street, writes Harriet Walker

The clothes on the catwalks may be for autumn, but the clothes-horses in the audience are looking to spring. Casting off winter's uniform of long-line black drapery and leather trousers, the fashion pack have re-invented themselves (again) in a palette of softer shades and more relaxed silhouettes.

Sports-luxe is a key trend, and one that bodes well with long days spent staggering from show to show – simple athletic-looking trousers in khaki or olive, pseudo-jodhpurs and jogging bottoms or harem pants are all excellent options. It's rare that comfortable also equals directional, so make the most of it.

Layering is essential too of course, because, while it might be spring in the pages of the glossies, it's still freezing on the streets of the capital. Plain T-shirts in grey marl, black and navy will go with anything, and Alexander Wang is the reigning king of jersey separates, sprucing them up with a new utility angle by adding pockets and deep-cut sleeves. Grey is the new black, remember, so look for more marl to wear on top: embellished sweatshirts with graphic detailing, shoulder-pads or cut-away elements are the perfect combination of current and cool. And denim, of course, never goes away and enters new territory for spring on tailored jackets and smart dresses.

Cover up in a sharp – but not too sharp – new blazer: these are less structured than in previous season, either mannish and loose or cropped and fitted, and in every shade under the sun. Ice-cream and sorbet tones are flavour of the month.

Pay heed to practicalities: a roomy bag is a must and Mulberry's 'Alexa' satchel will be out in force on the front row. It's youthful but chic and deceptively sensible. US Vogue's Grace Coddington was spied on the front row in New York wearing a simple penny loafer, disproving the myth that the fashion set are glued into their platform heels. If you're height-inclined though, wedges are more forgiving on weary soles, so try Acne's satisfyingly clumpy pair for geek chic at its most edgy.

Mandi Lennard, Fashion PR

I’ll be wearing my favourite Roksanda Ilincic dress, which she made for me, from her autumn/winter 2003 collection. She stopped me wearing it as I had it on it so often – I do tend to wear clothes to death. Anyway, I think it’s a safe time to bring it backout, so I’ll be in it for her show and what can I say? I'll feel a million dollars!

Sarah Harris, Writer, Vogue

I wear jeans practically all the time and I’m addicted to Paige Premium Denim. I’ll also be rotating between Balenciaga’s khaki silk parka, and Christopher Kane’s leather biker. Laurance Dacade’s heels are really comfortable so I’ll wear my three-buckle black ankle boots. And I’ll carry everything in my roomy YSL Roady bag.

Kay Barron, News editor, Grazia

I’ll mainly be wrapping up in my Gareth Pugh coat that my friend tells me makes me look like a gothy Wizbit! I’ve also invested in some pieces by Michael Van der Ham and dresses by Natascha Stolle. And as ever I will be wearing lots of Acne, including their armoured jeans and rusty nail heeled shoes.