Now Trending: TravellerPosted by Julia Neel
When Christopher Bailey dedicates a collection to traditional handicrafts and turns Burberry’s iconic trench coats over to the patterns and embellishments of Africa, you know that travel-inspired tribal references are back on the agenda in a big way.
Journeys to far-flung destinations have been the starting point to many a designer’s collection. This season it seems as though they’ve all been on safari.
Bailey’s spring/summer 2012 collection saw traditional handcrafts applied via raffia and geometric wooden beads to collars, pocket flaps, belts, hats and shoes. Think cropped trenches boasting collars encrusted with pale wooden beads, and belts patterned with Swahili stripes.
Savannah shades of sand, khaki, cream, taupe, rust and ochre came in traditional safari styles at Alberta Ferretti, Paul & Joe, Loewe, Trussardi and Daks. This is the trend at its most subtle: smart, clean neutrals in unfussy shapes. The kind of clothes that can survive in a corporate wilderness. Work it into your 9-to-5 wardrobe by teaming a crisp white shirt (there’s so many great ones out there this season) with one of Burberry’s printed pencil skirts, a chunky necklace made from raffia or wooden beads, and tan leather sandals. Pith helmet optional.
On the wilder side of things are big cat spots and stripes. These were growling loudest (and sexiest) at Roberto Cavalli and Ferragamo, where they came sprawled across billowing silk evening dresses and little cocktail dresses.
There’s no doubt that animal prints are sexy. But, in the wrong hands, they can also come across as a bit TOWIE-goes-on-safari. To make sure you don’t come over too Desperate Scousewives/Las Vegas casino carpet, take your lead from Michael Kors’ models, who prowled the catwalk with hair pulled back into low chignons, bare eyes and bronzed cheeks. If you go too OTT with the eyes and lips, you run the risk of looking like a hostess at a gentlemen’s club. Not the good kind (of hostess. Or club). Stick to the ‘lips-or-eyes’ rule.
Karolina Kurkova got the balance between wildly fabulous and deeply wrong just right when she wore a Salvatore Ferragamo tiger-printed dress to the launch of the Ferragamo resort collection in Mexico. Her method? Tamed hair (big hair can look a touch too try-hard), with blood-red lips, minimal gold jewellery, and chunky tan heels to toughen up the look.
This is a season of ethnic exotica and whether you’re a novice leopard-wearer, falling for the sophistication of safari separates, or getting on board with the tribal crafts – now is the time to take a walk on the wild side.
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