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)

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

    £40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

    Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

    £21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
    Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

    That's a bit rich

    The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
    Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

    Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
    Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

    Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

    Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago