Just for the frill of it

Fashion designers had the feminine touch in mind for this summer - but it didn't get past the catwalk. Shame! Photographs by Sheridan Morley

The international catwalks are often accused of having very little to do with what real women actually wear, or would even aspire to wear if they had the money. Usually, however, the trends and ideas filter down to the high street in some form or other so that we, the clothes buying public - rather than the dedicated followers of fashion - can wear them in a more palatable form.

Occasionally, fashion designers are completely off track and come up with an idea that is absolutely not in tune with today's woman. This summer, if the fashion designers had had their way, women would be wafting around the streets in more frills, ribbons and bows than a Stepford wife. But in reality, the return to a more romantic and feminine style of dressing has largely remained a figment of the fashion designer's imagination.

However, if the world's designers are right and you are longing to get re-acquainted with your feminine side - a flirty frill on the hem of a skirt, a fully-fledged swirl of flamenco layers, or a soft, sheer, lacy blouse - you needn't look like a Barbie doll. In these pictures, we have shown three ways to wear the romantic look and still be taken seriously. You can get away with wearing the most flighty and girly of blouses if you put it with a plain-speaking, no-nonsense trouser suit. We chose an embroidered shirt from Oasis which looks like it is worth far more than its pounds 22.99 in workmanship alone.

If you feel like splashing out on a trend which may well take off on a bigger scale next spring, the sales are the time to shop for designer labels. Nicole Farhi, whose collections usually bridge the gap between what designers think we should be wearing and what most women actually want to wear, has filled her shops with flighty pieces of chiffon and delicate lines of beading, perfectly balanced with soft, unfussy, tailoring. A more minimal ways to show you are up on the latest romantic trend is to search out a Nicole Farhi chiffon beaded skirt in the sales and wear it with the plainest, most sensible top you have in your wardrobe. You can't get much more minimal than a sleeveless polo neck from The Gap or - another good sale investment - John Smedley.

British designers Clements Ribeiro looked to the red-hot blooded gypsy for their spring/summer range. As their collections trickle into the sales, look out for the riotous English-country-garden print on chiffon and the cross-over ruffle-fronted flamenco dresses in linen. If head-to-toe ruffles are too much to handle, Clements Ribeiro have also made a wrap-front top which, once you get used to the waterfall ruffles flapping in the wind, makes you look glamorous rather than like the witless heroine of a Mills & Boon novel. Just to make sure, wear it with a pair of boyish flat-fronted trousers or a pair of chinos. Just make sure you steer well away from hostess trolleys, coffee mornings and darning your husband's socks.

Chocolate brown linen ruffle wrap top with underslip (main picture), pounds 325, by Clements Ribeiro, at Liberty, Regent Street, London W1

Sleeveless black polo neck (above left), pounds 57.50, by John Smedley at S Fisher, Burlington Arcade, London W1, Lisa Sterling, St James Square, Manchester (inquiries 0171-580 5075) and mail order 01629 534 331; cream sheer beaded skirt, pounds 149, by Nicole Farhi,158 New Bond Street, London W1, and Harvey Nichols, Leeds (inquiries 0171-499 8368)

White single-breasted jacket (top left), pounds 140, and trousers, pounds 70, both by French Connection, 249, Regent Street, London W1, 9 Broadmead Street, Bristol, 14-16 St Annes Street, Manchester and branches (inquiries 0171- 580 2507); white sheer embriodered shirt, pounds 22.99, by Oasis, 292, Regent Street, London W1, and 125-126 New Street, Birmingham (inquiries 01865 881 986)

Stylist: Charlie Harrington

Hair and Make up: Alex Babsky using Estee Lauder

Model: Ailsa at Models 1

Prices quoted are subject to change during the sale period

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: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    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
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea