SPRING/SUMMER 2005 and fashion is in no mood for challenging. Instead, looks are reassuringly familiar rather than dark and distressed; unashamedly pretty and even naive with not a care for the politically correct. Inspiration comes from fields as diverse as the photographs by the late Richard Avedon (Dolce & Gabbana) and circus acrobats (Louis Vuitton); as an antique book on the subject of nautical knots (Helmut Lang) and the china of Clarice Cliff (Burberry Prorsum). This is not a good time for the studiously cool and affected. Instead, embracing your inner child seems more appropriate just now.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the Sixties and Seventies are the eras most ripe for reinvention - yes, the spirit of the hippie is very much on the fashion agenda, although thankfully not as literally as it has been in the past. Across the board, fashion's passion for all that is vintage continues. Will it ever end? Marc Jacobs is still enamoured with a Forties-Fifties silhouette at Louis Vuitton; the Eighties are never far from Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquiere's mind, and who would expect anything but antique-lingerie-inspired clothing from both Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo at Chloe? It is their staple style, after all.
Pink and white are the colours of the season with more than a touch of primrose yellow thrown in. Fondant shades and brighter hues reminiscent of boiled sweets all take precedence over black, for the time being at least.
All this sits well with a proudly girlish love of embellishment (over and above anything even remotely pared down), which is, for the most part, still very much the order of the day. Pile everything but the kitchen sink on to clothing and - even more so - accessories, and rest safe in the knowledge that you are in the finest and most fashionable company.
If, however, such frippery is wearing a little thin, take solace in the knowledge that at least a handful of designers are moving in a rather less fussy direction. Alongside all the sequins, sparkle, ribbons and bows, a new simplicity and ease is offered up by the likes of Lanvin, Jil Sander, Helmut Lang and Hussein Chalayan. It is like a palette cleanser after years that have proposed anything but.
Rich hippies From modernised psychedelia to tiered white dresses straight out of a Timotei ad, the late Sixties and early Seventies are the eras to see and be seen plundering
"It was a little about the spirit of the hippie, about freedom, but keeping it modern. You retain the colour or some symbol but change everything else"
Charmingly naive Celebrate all that is bright, breezy and girlish. But things are rarely as simple as they seem - some of these garments suggest a dark underbelly
"In the end it was all about asking: Why can't naivety and fragility go on past puberty?"
Pretty in pink Sugar and spice and all things nice - that, as we all know, is what little girls are made of. And, of course, they all like to wear pink, too - so embrace the sugar-sweet
"I have no problem with the word cliche. I think things become that way for a reason"
Power dressing Another Eighties revival, and why not? This was the era when designer fashion realised its full power. Brass buttons whisper Nancy Reagan. Frills show a feminine side
"I like taking these codes which were chic a long time ago and making them relevant for now"
Back to nature Delicate florals, swallows and sycamore leaves have found their way across everything from dramatic, boldly printed kaftans to elaborately appliqued vests
"I'm in the mood for something a little fresher, a little happier, a little more upbeat"
Pure and simple While vintage-inspired, highly embellished style continues to reign, a new minimalism is emerging. It may look uncomplicated - it's often anything but
"Simplicity is not a
word that fashion thinks about very much"
The travel bug The romance of wanderlust never fails to move, and optimism is the spirit of the season. Inspiration is found everywhere - from Africa to Eastern Europe
"We have always thought of travel as romantic. It is when you detach yourself from routine and from everyday reality"
Dolce & Gabbana
White heat The colour of innocence and astronomically high dry- cleaning bills. Looks inspired by antique lingerie rub shoulders with the crisp and androgynous, all is light as a feather
"Summer in the city, straight out of your holiday suitcase"
Nautical but nice It was introduced by Gabrielle `Coco' Chanel, and it's been a summer stalwart ever since. With a less literal interpretation, it's now one of the season's finest styles
"It was all boat-related but we like to take the idea and push it as far away as possible from what it was originally"
And finally ... From binocular bags to backpacks, accessories are here in all varieties. Long necklaces, rope heels and big sunglasses add a touch of Sixties/Seventies hippie chic
"It's all about change, and this time it's bright, kaleidoscopicand happy"
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