Window shopping: A wave of designers are being inspired by the seaside


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The Independent Online

What do mermaids, anchors, sea horses and shells have in common? Apart from their watery heritage, they all feature large on fashion collections for spring/summer 2012.

Check out heels in the shape of coral on Chanel's shoes, Versace's shell-patterned dress and Peter Pilotto's tropical beach holiday-inspired patterns – and keep an eye out for the trend filtering through to the high street soon.

Some fashion trends are hard to work in the home, but this one can look better in interiors than on your back. The secret is to keep it simple. Add a marine motif to a neutral, sea-inspired palette and you're on trend without living in a Disney theme park. White can be your mainstay here, and accents of navy, turquoise or any other shade of blue work well. Distressed wood chairs or simple Danish lines are the perfect foil for ocean themes. Choose curtains or upholster an armchair in cream and navy stripes and you'll immediately evoke a seaside feel or pick a wallpaper with a watery theme to add a sophisticated note.

Then top up your scheme with a few on-trend objects – scallop-shaped plates, a distressed wooden boat, pretty patterned cushions or sea-inspired objets d'art. And at this time of year, when summer feels as though it may never reappear, bringing a little of the seaside into your home can go a long way to lifting your mood.