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SPRING/SUMMER ’12 DESIGNER COLLECTIONS UNCOVERED

Tanya Grimson on the new season collections at Brown Thomas.

Brown Thomas unveiled its new spring summer collection last week to much applause and general admiration from the invited media present. This collection primarily focuses on five key trends, print, floral, colour, minimalism and monochrome, but has also managed to transcend trend selections and focus on beautiful feminine key pieces that would entice the eye of any fashion lover. These pieces, specifically chosen by Brown Thomas Fashion Director Shelly Corkery, are elegant yet diverse enough to offer inspiring choices to discerning shoppers, from whimsical, softer tailored draping to more structured formal pieces.

Print emerged as one of the key stories in the new collections, Dries van Noten opted for tropical rainforest motifs in exquisite trapeze style coats and modern shift dresses. Katrantzou, renowned for her explosion of contrasting patterns and prints did not disappoint with another kaleidoscopic collection of florals against abstract prints in bright colour-bomb palettes. Victoria, Victoria Beckham, the new diffusion line from Mrs Beckham was the surprise of the show, offering a completely different take on her primary, and world-renowned for its structure and shape, collection. This new diffusion line focused on 1950s-inspired tea dresses with cat motifs, showing a wonderfully whimsical fashion alter ego. Dolce & Gabbana opted for floral prints in 1990s style shift dresses with simple feminine shapes and pretty pastels.

Colour was also another prevalent trend, as colour blocking emerged in bountiful collections. Designers who usually opt for more subtle neutrals threw caution to the wind this season and chose eye-popping and eye pleasing primaries such as oranges, royal blues, green and fluorescent pink. Chloe’s green silk smock dress was one of the highlights of the show as the colour cascaded in flowing oversized fabric down the runway, Lanvin also delighted with a choice of orange and blues.

Monochrome also emerged as one of the favourites in the show as beautifully simple yet effective pieces of white sat against black block skirts and dresses, while one of my favourites in the entire show, Philip Lim’s black and white strapless jumpsuit, demonstrated so well the strength of black and white, as the dramatically draped white fabric cascaded over black with such elegance.

Shapes were dramatically different; ranging from soft Grecian style draping in Lanvin and Chloe, to structured minimal pieces in Celine, Marni and Victoria Beckham, while Stella McCartney opted for sports-inspired relaxed oversized shapes in shorts and blazers.

Key details of the season include pleats in all forms, from plisses to box, sunray and knife. Waists are slightly dropped, with 1920s references. Waistlines are smocked versus belted for 1950s vs 1960s interpretations so you can choose between preppy Grease summer dress styles or vintage Givenchy Couture movie references a la Doris Day and Audrey Hepburn.

Another major surprise of the season and worth noting is the newly chosen collection from Belgian design label Jay Ahr, the black long sheath maxi dress was exquisite with a slightly hippy vibe while the cream drop waist tiered dress showed that this label is definitely one to watch this year and most certainly not a one hit wonder.

The collection this season is one of the most diverse for several years; proving that modern buyers are looking for quality over trivial trend substance. Shoppers want timeless pieces that will stand the test of time; as fashion may be fickle but with a recession it is more important than ever that our choices aren’t.

Click here to view a video montage from the fashion show.

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