Woolly thinking

Pull the designer wool over your eyes - at high street prices.
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Indy Lifestyle Online
In Britain, we have the best and most directional high street shops in the world, and thanks to our rigorous art school system, the best designers too. Famous names such as John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and Katharine Hamnett make headlines, but there are hundreds of nameless, faceless designers whose designs we are far more likely to wear. They design for chains such as French Connection, Dorothy Perkins, Top Shop and Etam. And, while not setting the trends, their aim is to interpret them for mass consumption.

For this Spring, these mystery designers have agreed on one universal trend: multi-coloured, multi-striped jumpers. Their inspiration? Clements Ribeiro, the highly successful husband and wife design team (Inacio and Suzanne) who, in October 1995, sent multi-coloured, multi-stripe cashmere knitwear down the runway to complement their mainline collection. The cashmere knits, produced by Scottish knitwear giant Barry, were an instant success with American press, who the following spring (1996) were all seen to be wearing their stripes at the Paris ready-to-wear collections. Today, the knitwear range sells as well as their mainline collection of womenswear, and can be found in New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Tokyo and London.

For those who may have fingered the Clements Ribeiro soft cashmere jumpers at Liberty in London, the hefty price tag (hovering around the pounds 300-pounds 400 mark) was a reality check.

However, the High Street has really come up trumps with a vast array of irregular striped jumpers in candy bright, acidic or earthy shades inspired by the duo. Clements Ribeiro themselves have an affordable version, thanks to their collaboration with Dorothy Perkins. Now there is no excuse but to brighten up your thermal winter knits.

Striped long-sleeved V-neck top, pounds 20, (also in navy and cream), by Top Shop, Oxford Circus, London W1; 23 Market Street, Arndale Centre, Manchester (0171-291 2351 for local stockists)

Chevron multi-coloured stripe top, pounds 40, by Clements Ribeiro for Dorothy Perkins, available from selected Dorothy Perkins stores nationwide, including Oxford Street, Lakeside Thurrock and Croydon branches (call 0171-291 2604 for your local stockist)

Candy-striped cardigan, pounds 20, by Etam, from 484 Oxford Street, London W1;

40 Queen Street, Cardiff;

79 High Street, Meadow-hall Centre, Shef-field (call 0171-494 7732 for local stockists)

Red multi-striped cashmere cardigan (left), pounds 312, as shown at Clements Ribeiro's spring/ summer 1997 catwalk show; the cardigan has a matching tank top, pounds 212, and is also available with brown stripes, from Liberty, Regent Street, London W1

Turquoise and orange stripe short sleeve polo top, pounds 33, by Benetton, 255-259 Regent Street, London, W1 and selected stores nationwide.

Cotton acid-bright multi-striped short-sleeved turtle-neck top, pounds 115, by Paul Smith Women, 40 Floral Street, London WC2; Van Mildert, 21 Elvet Bridge, Durham; and Strand, 22 Queen Victoria Street, Leeds

Turquoise tank top with variable multiple stripes, pounds 22 (also available with pink and brown stripes) by Dorothy Perkins, available from stores nationwide (call 0171-291 2604 for local stockists)

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