It was with renewed confidence and vigour that exhibitors at Pure unveiled their stands at Olympia in London. After several seasons dominated by a neutral colour palette and little in the way of new trend direction, for spring 08 the contemporary womenswear market made a bold and energetic move into a brighter palette and younger-looking trend stories.
Geometric and repeat floral prints inspired by the 1960s and 1980s featured in a sunshine-saturated palette of cobalt blue, orange, scarlet and yellow. Predominately used on dresses - a key product category for yet another season - prints were big news and offered a vibrant counterpoint to the neutrals that persisted in many collections.
Bright, poster paint colours were also used as monotone blocks on separates such as summer coats, jackets and dresses, giving retailers plenty of scope for inventive and interesting visual merchandising.
The metallic story continued, but for this season the golds and silvers had more of a matt tone, providing a sophisticated edge that should work equally well on both daywear and eveningwear.
Feminine detailing came through in subtle embellishments and also via pin tucks and knife pleat constructions, both of which provided buyers with a point of difference from the high street and a luxury handwriting that the mass-market will find difficult to replicate.
Taking reference from performance sportswear, technical fabrics such as high-shine and coated nylon were employed on lightweight jackets with an aerodynamic feel, nodding to the minimalist looks of late-1990s Prada. With unpredictable weather a continuing concern for UK buyers, these lightweight, stylish options are an essential commercial consideration for spring 08.
Startling in their ubiquity, bold and colourful prints were a major component in most brands' collections. Used successfully on jackets and summer coats, prints worked notably well on simple, often empire line dresses. The graphic lines and energetic colours that are synonymous with the 1960s and 1980s were referenced heavily.
Bold, block colours such as purple, hot pink, bright orange, cobalt or cornflower blue and the full spectrum of yellows will prove important in contemporary womenswear for spring 08. As well as being a useful tool for visual merchandising, the colours are also intended to be worn as key pieces in colour-saturated head-to-toe blocks.
Among the more directional brands at Pure, matt or dulled shades of gold, bronze and pewter metallics were employed across a range of dresses, jackets and coats that were suitable for both day and evening wear. However, silver remained popular as an essential and commercial option for layered, draped and full-length eveningwear.
Referencing the streamlined sportswear of the late 1990s and designers including Stella McCartney, a clean-lined utilitarian look emerged at Pure. Taking in lightweight outerwear such as short jackets, blousons and cropped raincoats made with technical-inspired fabrics, the look came through in a predominately neutral palette.
Heavy beadwork, dense embroidery and textured trims lent a subtle but feminine edge to tops and dresses, highlighting the luxury bohemian mood that filtered into many of the collections at Pure. Oversized jewels in either contrasting or tone-on-tone guises were a new way in which to add embellishment to otherwise basic pieces.
PIN TUCKS AND PLEATING
Pin-tucked bib fronts and knife-pleated trims added interest and a luxury feel to otherwise plain and simple pieces such as shirts and shirt dresses. The look took its influence from the traditional dress shirts of men's evening attire appearing on white shirts and blouses, simple vest tops and smock styles.
Bold 1960s and 1980s-inspired prints in bright colours tested buyers' bravery
Aideen Bodkin 00 353 18 26 02 69
Charfal 00 34 95 57 76 855
Mamatayoe 00 34 98 51 68 426
Marimekko 020 7487 4646
Mero Fashion 020 7502 2375
Numph 020 7485 8632
Saint Tropez 020 8871 2155
Totem 020 8299 0880
Matt and shiny silver, gold and pewter keep the metallic story alive for spring 08
Betty Jackson Two 020 7602 6023
Fenn Wright Manson 020 7323 4821
Ispirato 020 7411 4380
Karma 020 7376 8886
Marcelane 0845 3670 400
Modstrom 00 45 9811 0892
Noli 020 7580 1288
Stills 01342 811181
Detail comes through in the form of subtle beading and tone-on-tone decoration
Antik Denim 00 33 49 41 02 580
Ema Savahl 020 8908 0238
Fee G 00 353 14 60 60 35
Great Plains 020 7036 7229
Looking Glass 020 8543 0937
Leni Braun 020 7379 4488
Nougat 020 7323 2222
Pink Soda Urban 020 7636 9001
Poster paint brights were used in monocolour blocks across a range of styles
Almost Famous 020 7637 2622
CCDK 020 7354 2442
Fenn Wright Manson 020 7323 4821
Golddigga 01332 299783
Hunters & Gatherers 020 7613 5145
Kuyichi 0161 236 3497
Laura Guidi 00 353 90 64 93 581
Sticky Fingers 020 8888 1685
More youthful accessories trends complemented Pure's bright colours and prints
Beautiful evening bags and purses in various sizes smothered in semi-precious stones are the order of the day at Amishi. Celebrities such as Claudia Schiffer sport the brand, and stockists include Harrods and LK Bennett. Prices from £39 to £145.
020 7493 9775 www.amishi.eu
US brand Babeed uses Italian leathers treated to look like crocodile and python skin. The brand, which counts Fred Segal among its US stockists, also uses patents and natural leathers. Prices start at £35 for a clutch bag and go up to £140.
020 7580 8008
Billy Bag's collection of bags and purses has taken a slightly ethnic direction with an Indian summer theme featuring quirky floral canvas prints and washed leather. Prices start at £14 for wallets and go up to £100 for large bags.
020 7723 0427
Now in its second season in the UK, Italian brand Caractere's classy handbags, some with their own monogrammed prints, come in washed canvas with leather trims, The range also includes PVU and classic all-leather styles. Prices from £69 to £169.
London brand Suzy Smith's blingtastic bags feature details such as dome button clasps and heavy gold chain shoulder straps. The colour palette is dominated by duck egg blues, wasabi green and butterscotch. Prices from £10 to £50.
020 7462 3300
Xude's all-leather, 40-piece collection is sourced in India. The colour scheme is centred around washed-out ice cream colours, and each bag comes with its own metal ID clasp. The minimum order is 10 pieces. Prices from £18 to £16.
020 7631 1236
The Dutch brand launched seven years ago after its founder collected vintage stones and cameos from defunct European jewellery factories and built up a range. The hoard has been used to craft handmade jewellery set upon silver or gold-coated metal to produce an eclectic retro look. The collection includes cameos and limoge porcelain. Prices from £5 to £150.
020 7123 3094
All the pieces in Kleshna's collection are made from sterling silver, and most are encrusted with Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones such as rosewater opals. Celebrity fans include Kylie Minogue, Victoria Beckham and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The brand has 150 UK accounts, and all the jewellery is manufactured in the UK. Prices from £5 to £80.
020 8401 6789
The semi-precious agates and crystals used in large stone formats make Rokz's collection a good choice for boutiques that sell relatively high-priced jewellery. The brand's pieces are the type that almost always inspire comment, and the designs feature unusual colours and textures that imbue the collection with a distinctive artisan feel. Prices from £45 to £200.
Birmingham jewellery brand Verve uses magnetic clasps and links on its modernist-inspired silver-plated nickel-free pieces. Magnetic links mean that pieces can be constructed according to a retailers' taste. The brand, which was launched at Spring Fair in London earlier this year, has an average price of £19, with prices starting at £6.
0121 772 3170
Big Metal's flexible brass-coated necklaces feature innards made of wiring, meaning that they can be twisted around to suit whoever is wearing them. The nickel-free chains are sold in packs of six, which can be mixed and matched in silver and gold combinations. The Flexi-necklaces are priced from £3.80 to £5.20.
020 7701 0005
Berkshire-based Barbara Easton is now in its 30th year of trading. The brand sources all its stones from Italy - this season's collection includes Lucite and jet - and specialises in handmade designer pieces. Current trends include large stone styles as well as ethnic-inspired necklaces. Stockists include department stores and independents. Prices from £12 to £45.