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Colour confirmed as key spring 12 trend

Bold yellows, reds and oranges to dominate via prints and colour blocking.

Multiples and indies have unanimously backed colour as the key womenswear trend for spring 12, with citrus yellow, tomato red and bright orange set to dominate clothing rails next year.

Derek Lovelock, chairman of Aurora Fashions, whose fascias include Oasis, Coast and Warehouse, said: “From an Oasis perspective, we are going to take colour blocking to the next level [for spring 12] and look at blocking bright colour with prints. Prints are also going to be strong and I’m sure a lot of these will be far more abstract than the traditional floral prints. Oasis has some beautiful mirrored prints for autumn which I think will be carried forward and developed.”

Gemma Metheringham, joint managing director at Karen Millen, echoed Lovelock’s comments. “Spring 12 will be all about colours with citrus colours including yellows and oranges, and tomato reds particularly strong,” she said. “I also think we’ll see a lot of rich tropical colours such as blues, greens and turquoises coming through. Prints are also going to be very strong for [next season] with lots of floral prints.”

Colour will also be important at the more mature end of the high street. Charlotte Davies, brand director at Alexon Group, which owns chains including Alexon and plus-size retailer Ann Harvey, said: “In terms of colours, yellow is the must-have shade for spring 12 as a single standout block colour. Other colours that are important are raisin orange, crimson pinks, cobalt blues as well as taupes and camel shades.”

Independent retailers have also bought into colour with gusto. James Leslie, co-founder of three-store premium denim retailer Trilogy in London, said the key trend is “colour, colour, colour, particularly in bottoms”. He added: “Spots and polka dots appear to be the dominant print story of the season so far and it is definitely another strong denim season.”

Deryane Tadd, owner of premium boutique The Dressing Room in St Albans, said the colour trend can be toned down for less daring consumers: “For next season we’ll be looking at a lot of brights; I think they are going to be strong – bright reds, oranges, pinks, a small amount of yellow, bright blues.”

Retailers said consumer demand for newness was prompting them to focus on frequent drops rather than the traditional two seasons per year.

“We are finding that the traditional, seasonal fashion [cycle] is less relevant to our buying,” said Katie Canvin, co-founder of two-store premium London indie Austique. “Many of the brands we work with – especially those from the US – have restructured the fashion cycle around six or more drops a year, so fashion is constantly changing throughout the year.”

Ed Burstell, managing director of luxury department store Liberty, agreed. “We’ve staggered our deliveries to receive product every 90 days rather than twice a season,” he said.

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