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Colour sets the tone for spring 12

Ana Santi

Unless we get another knock-out catwalk show like that of Burberry Prorsum in autumn 10, then spring 12’s trends appear to be firmly set.

Unless we get another knock-out catwalk show like that of Burberry Prorsum in autumn 10, then spring 12’s trends appear to be firmly set. After walking the streets of Copenhagen, trawling the stands at Pure London and walking the floors at Moda and Scoop – and now confirming our findings with the industry’s best – spring 12’s key focus is undeniably on colour, and bright splashes of it.

Not that this is particularly ground-breaking. As I write, I’m wearing a bright orange, current season, high street dress. Colour has been important for spring 11, too, so the trend represents a move on from this season. In fact, the ‘move on’ of current trends is perhaps the clearest trend of all for next season. The midi length, for example, continued into a lot of contemporary brands’ spring 12 collections, with a more flattering, flowing silhouette.

The difference is the confidence with which brands are backing such trends, offering a smarter take on the 1970s style (also on trend right now) with pretty blouses and high-waisted trousers. Previous seasons have allowed brands and designers at high street retailers to perfect trends into commercial winners. As Liliane Harris, owner of womenswear agency M&L Harris, said to me when I interviewed her: “What else can we invent?” Like most of her contemporaries, Harris believes quality and attention to detail is what will define spring 12, with constant newness becoming more and more important to the consumer. If the latter is true, then truly distinct trends, like Balmain’s structured shoulders for spring 09, for example, might prove difficult to tweak consistently throughout an entire season.

Moving on from womenswear, next week we bring you the last of our glossy seasonal specials. Footwear aficionados, that one’s for you.

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