THIS season, the gods of fashion giveth with one hand, offering comfy shoes, gym-inspired clothing and fifties-style, curve-friendly silhouettes.
They taketh away with bold, challenging prints, holographic fabrics, white-on-white ensembles and garments that require a Pilates addiction to look firm in (open-mesh dress, anyone?).
Accessories let you strike that all-important balance between trend-aware and fashion victim. Revive your favourite summer clothes or enhance new additions with my top picks.
Lara Bohinc Yellow “Kaleidoscopic Vision” Scarf, €230 at LaraBohinc.com
From the grids on Carolina Herrera and Peter Pilotto dresses to Fendi’s laser-cut triangles, geometric prints were all over this season’s catwalks.
Pick up on the trend and protect your precious locks with Lara Bohinc’s buttercup-yellow silk scarf. The Slovenian designer is known for pieces that bridge the gap between jewellery and scarves, and has intercut the kaleidoscopic and concentric-circle prints with images of pearls. Sweep this scarf up into a turban for maximum impact.
Bourbon The Amy Huberman Collection “Five Year Engagement” Pumps, €89.99
Summer 2014 court shoes by Jimmy Choo, Gianvito Rossi and Rupert Sanderson look straight out of a John Hughes film with their low, eighties-style heels. High heels will never go out of fashion but comfy kittens look more elegant than flats and still let you run from meeting to meeting.
The lovely Amy Huberman offers an affordable pair in her Spring/Summer Bourbon collection. Her “Five Year Engagement” pump in black faux-crocodile leather is classic and versatile. The metallic and cheetah-print options give your summer wardrobe an edge.
Amy Huberman’s shoes are available at Bronte, Carrigaline, Co Cork, 021-4377736
Clare Hynes “Chan” Necklace, €174 at cottonandgems.com, littleblackdress.com and Divine Boutique, Maynooth, Co Kildare
The spring/summer catwalks were awash with ice-creamy pastel shades, from Burberry’s candy-coloured lace to Roberto Cavalli’s mint-green chiffon. These colours are the perfect complement for summer whites. They also look set to creep into our autumn wardrobes, so now is the time to invest in accessories like this fetching handmade necklace by China-based designer Clare Hynes. The clear resin and gold-plated aluminium chain holds rosewater-opal and blue zircon rhinestone flowers embellished by mauve suede tassels.
Whistles Straw Cap, €70 at Whistles.com, ASOS.com
“Sports-luxe” was by far the most prevalent trend on the spring/summer catwalks. Designers like Peter Dundas, Tom Ford and Frida Giannini elevated gym-wear with luxurious fabrics and embellishments, making it appropriate for smart day-wear. Short playsuits and PVC hotpants are hard to pull off without putting in actual gym-time. Headbands, hats and visors let you embrace the new athletic aesthetic with minimal effort. This straw baseball cap with feminine peak is a cute example.
Rebecca Minkoff Hudson Moto Bag, €165 at Arnotts
The cross-body bag retains its on-trend status for another season. This style offers many of the same practical advantages as a ballet pump. It’s lightweight, comfortable and makes it easy to zip through crowded streets. Like ballet pumps, they are a city-break essential. Keep your hands free and your passport close with this strappy mini-bag by Rebecca Minkoff. The style is sporty and the burnished-gold panels are a subtle nod to this current vogue for metallics. Adjust the strap until the bag sits somewhere between your waist and the top of your hip, rather than the usual thigh-grazing length. If your cross-body bag converts into an evening clutch, like the Hudson Moto, so much the better.
Maria Francesca Pepe Tropical Mono Cuff Earring, €97 at LuisaViaRoma.com
Blame it on Phoebe Philo and Prabal Gurung: earrings are going solo for spring/summer 2014. The ear cuff was especially popular on the catwalks and not so disconcerting for others as a lone drop-earring. Celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Sienna Miller and Rihanna have been in cuffs for months.
Maria Francesca Pepe has created some of the prettiest mono earrings I’ve seen. This fuchsia flower is just one of the lovely gold vermeil and rose gold-plated pieces handmade for her new collection.
Hipanema “Goa” Bracelet, €88 at LuisaViaRoma.com, Hipanema.com
Chic interpretations of Asian, Latin American and especially African tribal dress popped up at most of the shows this season, most notably at Moncler Gamme Rouge, Valentino and Dior. Printed and woven accessories are an often inexpensive way to pick up this new boho-chic. Rio-inspired Parisian brand Hipanema can always be counted upon for pretty beaded and braided pieces in colours of the season. Rita Ora and Alessandra Ambrosio are fans. If you travel this summer, seek out more direct interpretations of tribal prints in gift shops at museums like Le Quai-Branly in Paris or New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Marc by Marc Jacobs Round-Frame Mirrored Sunglasses, €166.05 at Net-a-Porter.com
You can view the world through any tint you want to this summer, as long as it’s not black. Colour-tinted shades are the only way to protect your retinas this season. Kate Upton takes this trend to its extreme in this month’s UK Vogue with Miami Vice-style rainbow aviators by Dior. Us mere mortals can easily it pull off with cat’s eyes or rounded frames. Marc by Marc Jacobs’ pink and polka-dot pair with pink-to-grey mirrored lenses are bang on trend.
MaxMara Elegante Begonia Belt, €189 at ie.MaxMara.com
Warning: this accessory will make you look slimmer. High-waisted, fifties-style silhouettes are big news for summer and a statement belt is the perfect way to highlight them. Kim Kardashian is the biggest celebrity proponent of this trend, cinching everything from pencil skirts to Lanvin evening gowns. A good leather belt makes high-street garments look more expensive and circumvents the pitfalls of standard sizing by adjusting bargains to your body. This flattering wrap belt by MaxMara nips in the waist of an ill-fitting slip or shift dress and has an on-trend metallic trim. The cummerbund width makes it ideal for an hourglass or athletic figure. Pear-shaped or petite frames look best in medium or skinny styles.
Carven Gingham Cotton and Silk-Blend Collar, €105 at Net-a-Porter.com
Summer days are too warm for layering your tops but designers like Hedi Slimane and Karl Lagerfeld still want us to look smart in lightweight sweaters. Faux collars are their solution and have been a hit with stars like Alexa Chung and Olivia Palermo since spring.
These little attachments offer an interesting flash of colour and print without the bulk of an extra garment. This gingham silk Carven button-down gives you an early hit of the craftwork-inspired looks that will hit shops in September. For a more classic look, choose the white poplin version with broderie anglaise points.