Mark our words: skinny legs are on their way out. Hard to believe, we know, given that every hipster from Hobart to Helsinki is sporting licorice legs right now but the tide is slowly turning, thanks to the world's top designers who have decided that they've had enough of the look. Enter Prada, who are still setting global trends and leading the way in true fashion innovation, despite being a global mega brand (which usually spells one thing: boring). The brilliant fashion house is on a mission to bring back seriously voluminous "flares," but with a fabulous signature quirky Prada twist in the form of lavish fabrication and intricate prints. Not for the faint-fashion hearted.
Still with Prada, parts of their beautiful new shoe collection look as if they have slipped straight out of a Salvador Dali painting or some other strange alternative universe where there are no design rules. We love the decorative heels, which look more like pieces of grand, hand-carved furniture than a pair of pumps. They're almost too good to wear. By Lisa Evans
Collaborations are the way forward now in a rapidly changing fashion landscape. Everyone from high-street retailers right through to smaller, niche labels are collaborating with interesting creatives from all disciplines in an effort to bring a bit of true individuality, exclusivity and authenticity back into fashion.
French label Surface 2 Air Paris has taken a unique approach to the concept by collaborating with cult French dance music outfit Justice to produce a mini collection. Epitomizing the personal style of Justice members, the collection includes 2 worn-in biker-style leather jackets, which are fitted to the body, in keeping with the 'super-skinny' silhouette still favoured by most hipsters around the world. Jeans are also part of the collection, which, you guessed it -are super skinny. The result is a hot look but one that requires the long-term abstinence from traditional French staples - cheese and croissants - what we do for fashion. By Lisa Evans
Matthew Williamson was called 'the king of bling' by the Sydney Morning Herald for a reason.
Since his London debut in 1996, one thing has remained constant: Williamson's models will sparkle. His 2003 spring collection saw gold-sequined blouses and brocade jackets, while the fall of 2005 line had shiny velvets and satins and the fall of 2006 featured shimmering gold and silver jumpers, to name a few.
The trend continued most recently during February's New York Fashion Week. Williamson paraded his traditional flashy jewel-hued mini minis and doll-sized dresses - but this year there was also a noticeable smattering of fashions to file under - the bigger the better. Models processed down the runway in gaping shorts and trousers that were paper-bag-synched at the waist, as well as tent-sized sparkly muumuus and necklaces boasting fist-sized shell pendants. The most innovative of these enormous fashions could be credited to the pioneering of jewellery designer Scott Wilson.
Wilson and Williamson are both decorated alumni from the UK's finest art institutions. Wilson studied jewellery design at Middlesex Polytechnic and millinery at the Royal College of Art while Williamson began his career at star-spangled Central St. Martins. Both designers earned coveted fashion positions early in their careers. Immediately after graduation Williamson began working for Marni, while Wilson earned employment with Karl Lagerfeld as an undergrad. Williamson eventually went on to launch his own successful eponymous line. On the other hand, Wilson has garnered much of his renown through his collaborative efforts with showstoppers Burberry, Rifat Ozbek and Hussein Chalayan in particular ï¿½ though he continues to maintain his own jewellery line. As Wilson explained to the International Herald Tribune, 'One-off pieces are the ultimate expression of my work, but they can be very time-consuming.'
In their collaboration, Wilson clearly embraced Williamson's predilection for shine with his jewelled bracelets, which are evocative of bedazzled bocce balls. The enormous bangles were seen on the lanky limbs of Hilary Rochas and Maryna Linchuk during Matthew Williamson's parade of jewel-colored frocks at New York Fashion Week in February. According to Fashion Wire Daily, Wilson's 'sequined bracelets [were] a deft accessory addition to a collection that underlined how British designers stint showing in America has helped him mature into a producer of highly wearable, yet always hip, clothes.'
The funky though undeniably glamorous bracelets have most recently been spotted cuffing the delicate wrists of Mischa Barton on the cover of UK Elle. The bracelets are custom-made, and available to the most audacious of luxury collectors for a mere $900 each. Contact the creator himself at (TK Scott Wilson's email address). By L. Harper
Emma Hope has come a long way from the overbearing florals of Laura Ashley fashions. After designing and manufacturing six collections with the company, Hope jetted on to bigger and better things - namely, her eccentric Emma Hope collection.
Since the commencement of her designing efforts, Hope has garnered five Design Council Awards, the Martini Style Award, and the Harpers & Queen Design Award. Hope's eponymous collection began solely with shoes - footwear could be considered Hope's forte, she's designed shoes for Paul Smith, Anna Sui and Mulberry. Hope later expanded her offerings to include handbags with quirky creations like a henna suede tote bag with delicate floral silhouettes carved out of its base, or a pair of men's white leopard print sneakers fashioned from ponyskin .
The designer's most eye-catching number is easily a velvet sneaker bag which offered in bright hues of violet, gold and fuchsia, among others. The unlikely juxtaposition of luxurious velvet to hold your sweaty workout ensembles seems a perfect fit for the celebs who emerge daintily coiffed - with nary a bead of sweat - after hours-long training sessions. And for the obsessively coordinated amongst us, Hope even offers matching "Magic Basket" sneakers, which are swathed in the same unlikely shades of velvet. These indulgent workout fashions are available at either of Emma Hope's three shops in London (Sloane Square, Westbourne Grove and Islington) as well as 150 additional stores, including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods. By Harper Walsh