March 17 2010
Lucia van der Post
It’s time to dream a little, to think of blue seas, cool shade under a sweltering sky, gossamer-light clothing, dresses pretty as a flower shop. Forget, if you can, the opaque tights, the woolly scarves, and think of the summer to come or – if you’re one of the lucky ones – of the yacht, the beach, the villa or island that beckons. The shops are already filling up with some of the prettiest clothes for years; it fair lifts the heart just to look at them. If you’re serious about buying, then start with the cruise or resort collections, which usually hit the shops before the main summer lines.
Diane von Furstenberg’s Cruise collection is one of the prettiest (her mainline collection for summer is also travel inspired). Check out her enchanting florals, in particular some deliciously floaty chiffon Libellula tops (£170) and the Cerilla print tea dress (£328). She also has brilliant bikinis and bright animal-print swimwear (if I were a bikini-friendly shape, I’d nab the hot pink leopard print; top, £120, briefs, £110), and dresses and tops.
For those who prefer niche names, it’s worth turning to Megan Park. Her collection is filled with dreamy desert-island clothing: airy kaftans, exquisite, fragile-looking tops, slightly harem-style trousers – mainly in delicate pastels, and all irresistible. The range is mostly made from silks and chiffons, and kaftans start at £308 (though bejewelled versions – gorgeous in purple or turquoise – are about £530), while blouses are £308. (First picture: Megan Park Mosaic crossover blouse, about £300, and necklaces, from £95.)
Matches, which has a way of uncovering cute designers that nobody else has yet discovered, has cool accessories from Hollywood Trading Company (HTC), a little-known brand that reeks of Hawaiian surf culture but is fun even for those of us who wouldn’t know which side of a surfboard to stand on. The multi-travelled international set knows it, but it’s still under the radar for most of us. It does belts with vintage echoes (third picture; about £200), great to give a bit of shape to a kaftan, and super silk-cotton neckerchiefs (from $150) but for now Matches is just selling its distressed Panama hats (from £188). They have a splendid, rakish, Huckleberry Finn air. It’s all a bit “rock chic” but fun for holidays.
As for shoes, Stella McCartney has some great wedges (£475), inspired by vintage Birkenstocks – perfect for a sea-and-surf holiday. (Second picture: Stella McCartney Maia Bilbo sandals, £475.)