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High street backs fashion-forward womenswear trends for autumn

High street retailers are backing directional trends in their autumn 07 womenswear ranges after a lacklustre spring that carried over last season's retro-inspired styling.

Influenced by catwalk looks, stores including Principles, New Look, Warehouse, Jaeger and Oasis presented high-shine wet-look pieces in their autumn 07 previews. Patent finishes and coated fabrics were used on outerwear and dresses, while metallic-shot jerseys and lurex created the same effect on tops.

The body-conscious 1980s-inspired story, which was seen on the catwalks of Christopher Kane, Preen and Louise Goldin during London Fashion Week, also featured. It was most literal at New Look, where figure-hugging dresses sat alongside patent macs. Oasis interpreted it via skin-tight cocktail dresses, while Wallis presented form-fitting heavy jersey styles.

The 1980s reference was also picked up in an almost neon palette at Topshop, while traditionally more demure collections at Whistles, Country Casuals and Evans used canary yellow, electric blue, violet and tangerine colours.

However, not all retailers adopted such a kaleidoscopic palette. More muted shades of brown, grey, sage and terracotta were used in a rustic-influenced story that focused on more voluminous silhouettes.Tiered babydoll dresses, cuffed shorts and cropped trousers were layered with chunky knits, tweed shirts, smocks and capes in plaids, raw wool and flannel. Knitted leggings or chunky tights underpinned the look.

Taking a more mainstream route, metallics were a core part of almost every collection. From bronze and gold to silver and pewter, they were used in categories as diverse as shorts, coats and knitted dresses.

After a spring that featured little in the way of decoration, embellishment returned to favour. Emphasising the yoke, chunky bulbous baubles or oversized gems were used on otherwise basic jersey tops, tunics and mini dresses at Topshop, New Look, Miss Selfridge and French Connection.

A 1920s-style flapper theme came through on drop-waisted dresses replete with fringing and beading. Velvet was also important for both day and eveningwear.

Although still key, tailored outerwear made way for parkas, lightweight down-filled coats and cropped leather or nylon bombers.

TOP 10 TRENDS

Wet look

- Chunky knitwear

- Metallics

- Body-conscious 1980s styles

- Plaid

- 1920s-style drop waists

- Puffa quilting

- Leather

- Oversized embellishments

- Parkas and technical fabrics.

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