Here comes summer

Get into spring with ruffles, flowers, slashes and stripes.

What do you want to wear this spring? More ruffles than a flamenco dancer? Romantic floral prints? Asymmetric bands of modernist jersey? Simple stripes? Or embroidered, Chinese-inspired fabrics in milky shades of jade green?

The clothes that will take you into the heat of summer are now on sale in a high street near you. The same looks are also filtering into the ivory palaces that sell the designer originals that were shown to the fashion world - and the canny high-street chains keen to spot the new trends - last October. The timespan between catwalk and high-street copy used to be smaller, with the mass market catching up to high fashion at least a season later. Now the chain stores are producing up to six collections a year, making it easier for them to soak up new influences and inspirations more immediately. Key trends on display in shop windows are the same the country over, whether you shop in Bond Street or the local Arndale Centre.

Britain undoubtedly has the best trend-led high street shops in the world. America has the Gap, great for khakis and pocket Ts but not the place to go for brand-new trends and the seasonal whims of fashion. France has boutiques for teenagers. But once they reach working age, the French have a choice of Kookai, Morgan, department store clothing, designer sale shops, or Chanel. And as for Germany, if shoulder pads and brass buttons are not your style, the high street is a desert.

Increasingly, our chain stores are expanding abroad. In downtown New York's fashionable art and shopping area, SoHo, there is now a very stark and modern looking French Connection alongside Anna Sui and other designer boutiques. The chain opens a new store in Los Angeles this month, making a total of fourteen shops in America.

Oasis holds this year's British Fashion Award for best retailer. One dress worthy of the catwalk is their ruffle wrap number, pictured here. Priced at less than pounds 50, it is the perfect summer dress, combining two of the main spring/summer trends - florals and frills. Another good choice would be at Dorothy Perkins, where the capsule collection designed for the chain by Clements Ribeiro includes a cherry-blossom-print chiffon dress with ruffle sleeves, for pounds 80. The designer duo produced some of the season's finest ruffles and florals for their own label, too, but at more than six times the price of the DP version.

If you think florals and frills are a little too much for a grown woman, there are unfussy clothes with overblown blooms in just about every high- street range - from poppies at Kookai, to roses at Warehouse. And if you feel feminine enough without the flowers, go for stripes, best knitted in the style of Italian knitwear maestros Missoni. On the catwalks, Italian designers Anna Molinari and Dolce & Gabbana went over the top with chintz, while Prada used minimal embroidered thorns and blossoms for a hint of the Orient, another trend that the high street has pounced on. There is also chinoiserie in store at Next, Warehouse, and French Connection, where the look is elegant and not too literal.

In 20 years' time, when we look back at the mid-Nineties, one of the defining looks will be asymmetric necklines and angularly slashed hems. For spring, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan have sliced fabric into fishtails and at 45-degree angles across one shoulder. Any chain store worth its name has followed suit, with Kookai's one-shouldered, hip-slash erogenous zone dress leading the way at pounds 59. Of course, a new pair of angular shoulders and a super-smooth hip line are not included in the pricen

Stylist: Charlie Harrington Hair and make-up: Denise Rabor at Mandy Coakley

Model: Claire Wilson at Models 1.

Asymmetric: purple dress, pounds 59, by Kookai, 123 Kensington High Street, London W8; 10 Bold Street, Liverpool; 1 County Arcade, Leeds (enquiries, 0171-937 4411)

Chinese: green spirit anemone dress, pounds 90 and matching trousers, pounds 80, both by French Connection, 99 Long Acre, London WC2; 14-16 St Annes Street, Manchester; 66 Market Hill, Cambridge; beige criss-cross leather wooden- soled sandals, pounds 49.95, by Bertie, 36 South Molton Street, London W1; Rackhams, Birmingham; Bentalls, Kingston

Stripes: knit dress, pounds 80, by Karen Millen, 46 South Molton Street, London W1; 6 The Burlington Arcade, 68 Queen's Road, Bristol; wicker wedge sandals, pounds 54.99, by Office, 57 Neal Street, London WC2; 10 South Molton Street, London W1 (enquiries and mail order, 0181-838 4447)

Frills: floral wraparound dress, pounds 49.99, by Oasis, 292 Regent Street, London W1; 50 Kings Street, Manchester; 1 The Burlington, 125-126 New Burlington Street, Birmingham (enquiries, 01865-881 986); floral hair slide, pounds 18.50, by Johnnie Loves Rosie, Fenwick, and Harvey Nichols; white flat leather sandals with floral decoration on toe, pounds 70, by Jones the Bootmaker, 15 Fouberts Place, London W1 and branches nationwide (enquiries, 0800-163 519)

Floral: ballet wrap-top, pounds 28, and long, rose-print skirt, pounds 45, both from Warehouse, 19-21 Argyll Street, London W1; 72-74 High Street, Guildford; 92-96 Argyle Street, Glasgow (enquiries, 0171-705 1957)

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
News
news
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Sustainability Manager

    Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

    Graduate Sustainability Professional

    Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

    Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

    £850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

    Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

    £100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn