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High street inspired by feminine trends

Womenswear multiples have hailed spring 08’s feminine catwalk trends as good news for high street sales, following last spring’s sales washout.

Retailers told Drapers there was a vast choice of commercial trends on the catwalks that could be easily translated by the high street for next season.

Femininity was the theme that underpinned the entire womenswear catwalk show schedule, which ended in Paris this week. Stella McCartney’s ruffles and chiffon and Christopher Kane’s return to the waterfall cut and circular frills were highlighted as some of the looks that would make the grade on the UK high street next season.

New Look trend director Barbara Horspool said: “There isn’t an ‘it’ item like the smock last year, so it’s more challenging in that way. But there is a greater amount of choice, which makes the high street more exciting.

“Many women don’t like wearing flowers, but it’s not a flouncing, childlike femininity this time; it’s more womanly. I thought Marc Jacobs’ collection was quite strong because the colours were good; Giles Deacon was lovely; and Christopher Kane highlighted something very soft coming through. I liked the rounded shoulders at Balenciaga and the importance of shape again in clothing, especially the attention to the waist.”

Peacocks buying and merchandising director Jane McNally said: “I don’t think spring 08 will be about one key piece, but the highlights will be utility-style dresses, tailored jackets and maybe we’ll see culottes making a comeback. We’ll see an emphasis on the waist, a revival of casualwear and a great, tribal-inspired colour palette.”

Oasis design manager Tom Young said that the spring 08 catwalks were well-suited to the Oasis handwriting. “Lanvin was amazing; the goddess dresses were really wearable,” he said.

“There was a Western Navaho theme at Christopher Kane, while Roberto Cavalli was interesting in that the pieces were much softer and more romantic. The looks were very strong across the board, with full skirts and floral print chiffon dresses absolutely wearable for the high street.”

Retailers are banking on the new trends to produce high like-for-like sales next season. They will be up against poor figures from spring 07, when sales were dented by the heavy rain and floods.

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