The best boating chic, from breezy kaftans to floaty sun hats

Summer coveralls from Heidi Klein, Matthew Williamson, Emporio Sirenuse and Thierry Colson

Heidi Klein Abaco Beach modal dress, £220.
Heidi Klein Abaco Beach modal dress, £220.

There are few invitations as beguiling as “do join us on our yacht”. On the two occasions it’s happened to us, visions came to mind of languid days, floaty clothes and a divine sun hat.

Matthew Williamson silk-mousseline kaftan, £695.
Matthew Williamson silk-mousseline kaftan, £695.

Let’s start with the floaty. The most gloriously patterned silk cover-ups are from Etro (from £470); Emilio Pucci has some beauties, too, although at a higher price (about £1,600). The most sophisticated is Matthew Williamson’s in a grey and white silk-mousseline songbird print (from £695, second picture). Check out, too, his turquoise, black and white Wings Jersey Kimono Long Kaftan (£550) with a trompe-l’oeil effect on the butterfly-wing pattern.

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If you like your brands a little more recherché, you will love the boutique at Le Sirenuse, one of Positano’s most stylish hotels. While Emporio Sirenuse stocks some well-known labels (Antik Batik for one), it also has a lovely range designed by Carla Paravicini Sersale, the chic Italian who runs it. Available online for the first time, the collection includes gorgeous cotton/silk pareos (€70), silk-voile ponchos (€164), cotton tunic dresses (from €95) and shirtdresses-cum-kaftans in cotton (€123, third picture) and silk (€281). There are also some delightful silk palazzo pants (€164) – perfect for sipping sundowners on deck.

Carla Paravicini Sersale for Emporio Sirenuse cotton kaftan, €123
Carla Paravicini Sersale for Emporio Sirenuse cotton kaftan, €123 | Image: John Lindquist

New from Heidi Klein is a collection of classic swimwear (from £190) and cover-ups in nautical stripes (from £210), but it’s the Abaco Beach dress (£220, first picture) I like best, with its seafaring-inspired eyelets and rope fastenings.

Global Babe Strong Sun Hat, £60. 
Global Babe Strong Sun Hat, £60. 

For something crisper for those excursions into port, Thierry Colson is a name to look out for. He worked for luxury brands such as Jil Sander, Chloé and Hermès before launching his line in 2005. Matchesfashion.com loves his pieces and has an exclusive capsule collection that reminds me slightly of Yohji Yamamoto’s work. There’s a long dress with gorgeous statement sleeves (£635) and a shorter one with a nipped-in waist – very Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief (£540). Matchesfashion.com also stocks Colson’s main line; his sailor-stripe maxi skirt in blue and white poplin (£540) would be perfect day or night.

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Finally, you will, of course, need a hat. Global Babe’s glamorous Strong Sun Hats come in myriad colours (from £60, fourth picture). Designed by Australian Fiona Argyle and created to cover the face, shoulders and décolletage, they have approval ratings from both the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and the British Skin Foundation (rigorous tests show them to be 99.99 per cent resistant to the sun’s radiation). But if you want a hat you can pack, Biondi has a brilliant large black straw one with a bow (£79).

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