Fashion-Off the peg: Wear it's at

Stand by to ditch those long skirts and black accessories. Melanie Rickey has seen the future, and it's on screen

So it's 1999 and it feels weird. Is this supposed to be the future? Ten years ago, I made my predictions - I was sure that by now we'd all be wandering around in white padded all- in-one suits, with zip-up white boots, and helmet-like hats. In hidden pockets would be a walkie-talkie, a bottle of pills to satisfy every nutritional requirement, a money-card, key-card, and a flat, square screen which could be loaded with the micro-chip of a fabulous book or written on with a magic pen. The only one of the above that will be impossible to buy this year (as far as I know) is the flat-screen book (just buy the disc of the latest bestseller, plug it in and scroll down to read). The walkie-talkie is, of course, the mobile phone. The nutritional pills are mega vitamins and minerals and the clothes are all by Prada Sport. Now, I'm not psychic, but based on my teenage predictions, and with the benefit of foresight, I think I've got 1999 sewn up.

These are the dead-cert fashion trends. Long hair; the poncho - peasant or utility style (not Mexican); jeans with embroidery and bits and bobs stuck on them (Gucci); denim dresses (Gucci, Hussein Chalayan); not wearing black; moccasin boots (Gucci again); colour in everything (clothes, hair, make-up); grooming, ie, looking effortless with great effort.

Prada Sport, and its imitators, will be massive this year. The spin-offs perhaps more so as they reach the high street. What we'll be wearing is a fashion version of function and utility clothing, and this has been building up steadily throughout the latter half of this decade. It started with combat pants, trainers and sweats, and it's ended up repackaged with a red line on it. The Prada Sport moulded shoes, for example, are already as collectible as vintage trainers.

It won't stop there. The utility trend will boom, with a new-look bag/rucksack which is worn anywhere but the back. Mandarina Duck is at the forefront of this with its Task-Bag - which it is calling "an extension of the body" - and the catchline for the product is "aren't you tired of that shoulder bag yet?". See them, use them, and fall in love. You'll never be scrabbling for your keys or mobile again. See also: Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Helmut Lang, Vexed Generation and, before too long, Top Shop for utility bags. In a league of its own (but hardly utility) is the Chanel 2005.

But the biggest trend of the year is not a shoe or a bag. It's a TV show. The sexiest, funniest, most fabulous programme ever is screened in the UK for the first time on Channel 4 at 10pm on 3 February. It's called Sex and the City and is based on the real-life, must-read column, and then book of the same name written by Candace Bushnell. The star of the show is Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays early thirtysomething Carrie Bradshaw, a self-proclaimed "sexual anthropologist" who writes a weekly newspaper column about how to have a sex life in New York. She and her three friends, Charlotte York (rich art dealer), Samantha Jones (rich PR supremo) and Miranda Hobbs (corporate lawyer), hang out, shop, groom, do parties, fashion shows, nightclubs, yoga, and sex, and look fabulous doing it. Within two weeks you'll know who your favourite is. Before long you'll start wishing there was a nail-bar downstairs, and wondering where Carrie gets her clothes, and who does her hair. That's a promise

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