looks

The prices of the clothes shown here are sky high, but happily immaterial. What matters is the ideas, for they are the ones that will lead fashion this spring and summer from the top of the market to the bottom

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Silver-grey shantung silk shirt-dress, pounds 585, by Ralph Lauren, from Polo Ralph Lauren, 143 New Bond Street, W1

Opposite

Black double-faced wool 'kissing' vest, pounds 825, by Donna Karan mainline collection, available at Harrods, Knightsbridge, SW1

Black suede tunic with deep V and chain-belt detail, pounds 1,060, by Gucci, from 33 Old Bond Street, W1, and 8 Sloane Street, SW1

Opposite

Navy straight-leg hipster trousers, pounds 275: sleeveless shell top, pounds 165, both by Ter et Bantine, from Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, SW1. Burgundy patent high-heeled court shoes, pounds 165, by Stephane Kelian, from 48 Sloane Street, SW1

Photographer Derrick Santini

Stylist Jo Adams

Hair Colin Gold for Steven Carey

Make-up Jo Karsberg using Aveda

Model Lidia at Select

If you buy only one item to update your wardrobe this spring, make it a pair of hipster trousers - preferably straight-legged, rather than last season's flares. Or a caftan-style tunic that has been given new life by Tom Ford at Gucci as office wear in chalk stripe wool. The two can of course be worn together, if thigh-grazing isn't your thing. And the good news is that although you may need slender hips and a flat stomach to wear low-slung pants, a tunic will cover a multitude of sins and still look hip. The trousers you see here are by the Italian label Ter et Bantine. Versace has them too, but in acid-bright colours, to be worn with navel-baring cropped tops.

The most fashionable shapes continue to be as pared down as possible. Perhaps the trend has reached its peak with Donna Karan's new suits that fasten with a single hook; this particular version has done away with such fripperies as collar and sleeves.

A shirt dress is also very much on the cards for next season. It cropped up in almost every designer's collection and, for once, it makes perfect sense. The shirt dress, like Ralph Lauren's in shantung silk, or British designer Clements Ribeiro's in structured cotton, is one of the easiest ways to dress. Simply button it up and forget you're wearing it

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