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Tastes of the Season

Retro styles dominate as the high street reveals its essential trends for autumn 07 womenswear

YOUNG FASHIONMISS SELFRIDGE

Trends

Still on a 1960s trip, Miss Selfridge presents a range of mini A-line day dresses alongside its half-prairie, half-lumberjack tartan dresses and workman-style pea coats. Tiered, fringed and drop-waist dresses and tops have a 1920s theme. Outerwear pieces include shrunken leathers and nylon parkas.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Miss Selfridge's vintage-feel eveningwear will rake in the party spend, with influences from flappers and Grecian goddesses to Edwardian showgirls. But tatty, lightweight Edwardian-style blouses look cheap. Rustic check, tartan and denim styles are fashion-forward and fresh.

NEW LOOK

Trends

New Look divides its autumn 07 offer into six stories. In Visionary, ladylike tailoring meets hard-edged glamour. Functionality takes a softer approach with rustic plaids and layering, while King's Road uses jewel tones and prints on retro pieces. Legend and Socialite take in day-to-evening styles with embellishment and shiny fabrics. Body Conscious taps into the sporty story.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Some trends are stronger than others, so success will depend on how New Look merchandises them. Body Conscious is perhaps too daring for its value price points.

TOPSHOP

Trends

There's a dominant 1970s story at Topshop, which plays out best in the Unique collection with floor-length chunky cardigans and hooded coats sitting alongside graphic print playsuits and high-waisted denims. Maxi dresses, minis and a glam rock-style neon story also feature.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Topshop's design signature is integral to its success. For autumn 07 it has ensured this point of difference stays fresh enough to compete with its young fashion rivals. Quirky designs are prominent, with culotte-style bottoms and gold leather bombers shaping the range. Wet-look fabrics and tunics will keep customers happy.

H&M

Trends

Browns and greys are mixed with plum and burnt orange highlights in H&M's mature-looking, 1970s-inspired autumn 07 range. Key styles include a loose-legged trouser suit, a voluminous shift dress and a chunky cable knit. Heritage checks and tweeds feature on outer- wear and dresses, as do floral prints and paisleys.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

This is a grown-up look, but it is infused with a slinky and elegant sex appeal. The exaggerated cuts and refined tailoring lead to an androgynous but elegant style, making for an easy-to-wear look that UK consumers should buy into.

MAINSTREAM

BENETTON

Trends

Concentrating on its clean and cheerful European handwriting, Benetton pushes a few directional buttons with metallic Lurex and block print dresses in jewel tones. A long-line grey tunic dress and a mushroom leather jacket with bell sleeves are sure-fire winners.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Uninspiring knits, stiff coats in unyielding fabrics and crude lightweight tailoring underwhelm in terms of creative and production values. However, a scattering of more directional pieces and a strong range of accessories including high-heeled brogues and sculpted luggage might save Benetton's bacon this season.

DOROTHY PERKINS

Trends

A 1970s-inspired story looks to strapless denim mini-dresses, patchwork-effect smock dresses and single shoulder Lurex tops. A plaid story has a rustic feel with heavyweight knitted cable design dresses, three-quarter sleeve tweed coats and details that include Peter Pan collars.Graphic prints bleed onto hems and glass-effect buttons decorate a brocade coat.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Dorothy Perkins is far more trend-driven than ever, but it still remains a season or so behind its Arcadia stablemates in terms of styling. For autumn 07, its smock dresses and parkas will ignite interest.

MARKS & SPENCER

Trends

Marks & Spencer has upped the ante with its autumn fashion ranges. Metallics are used heavily in jacquard dresses and coats; dense embellishment enlivens knitwear; and leather dresses, bombers and trench coats are bang on trend. Eveningwear gets a luxurious makeover and printed silk smocks are bold and daring.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Autograph is back on top form, with silhouettes and fabrics on dresses and coats in particular really standing out. Also, with its new Exclusive line, M&S looks more luxurious than ever. Leathers and embellished silk eveningwear are the strongest.

JAEGER

Trends

Focusing on 20th century icons including Ziggy Stardust, Bianca Jagger and Wallis Simpson, Jaeger's range uses high-waisted trousers to generate flavours of the 1920s and 1930s. Wet-look trims and well executed details such as star embroidery, cubic buttons and laser cutting are thoroughly modern.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

The glamorous, grown-up feel and superb quality are just right for Jaeger's discerning clientele, while the sense of fun exemplified by its striped Lurex knit dress, a maribou trimmed confection, the cherry print used on a pussy-bow blouse and a drop-waist dress will not fail to attract new blood.

WALLIS

Trends

Heavy on metallics and vibrant colours, Wallis has moved on from last season's 1960s-inspired silhouettes into hand-knitted-style retro knits, curve-skimming Star Trek-inspired jersey dresses, 1970s-style cropped leather bomber jackets, chunky long-line knits, murky Marni-look watercolour print tops and wet-look resin-coated macs.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Dressy pieces that work for day to night are Wallis' bread and butter, so this collection, replete with pewter taffeta coats and knitted gold dresses, should do well. The cobalt parka shows a sporty edge but the heavy scarlet jersey dresses and collarless coats are too stark for Wallis clients.

BHS

Trends

Ladylike chic and 1980s-style geometric prints are the highlights of Bhs's most trend-led collection to date. Grey, tweed wide-leg trousers with a pussy-bow waist tie at £25 are paired with a fitted white shirt and ribbon tie. Structured tailoring continues on outerwear, which includes a trapeze line Peter Pan jacket in cobalt blue.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Bhs has focused - and succeeded - on upping its fashionability for autumn 07, with an on-trend collection suitable for all ages. Its more tailored styles and structured silhouettes will satisfy the older client, while bold prints, bright colours and mini-dresses will appeal to the young.

NEXT

Trends

Bold paisleys and folk-inspired smocks update the boho look at Next, while minimal metallics shimmer on dresses in charcoal and silver grey. Tailoring comes in 1940s-style silhouettes and partywear is embellished with aplomb. Hot fuchsia and polka dot prints spice up sober styles. There is an edge of quality that recalls Next's original 1980s appeal.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

While there is plenty here to tick trend boxes - from smocks, colour-clash prints and bright leggings to yoke-collared dresses and skinny jeans - the real appeal of Next's autumn collection is its delivery of fashion with added detail, exemplified by its party dresses.

PRINCIPLES

Trends

Attention has been lavished on outerwear for autumn 07 at Principles. Quilting and puffa styles with dramatic necklines take prime position. The use of fabrics such as mohair updates classic single-breasted designs. Eveningwear also takes centre stage with the Principles Nouveau collection promoting wet-look dresses for Christmas. Rich bronze and copper fabrics are crumpled and heavily embellished, creating a decadent feel.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Principles surprises by creating fashion-forward collections that have the potential to extend its customer base without alienating the faithful. Wet-look fabrics and quilting on outerwear may, however, be a step too far for many.

CONTEMPORARY

FRENCH CONNECTION

Trends

Focusing mostly on feminine coats and smock or tunic dresses, French Connection has finally found its mojo. A 1980s twist permeates the range, with draped jersey tops and mini-dresses, slashed-sleeve gilets and leather jackets ruling the roost alongside satin tulip dresses, sequinned shifts and chunky cable knits.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

French Connection puts itself back in the basics game for autumn. Denim styles include loose-fit, high-waisted styles, clamdiggers and slim fits with stitch detailing in indigo, murky grey and bright blue washes. A jersey jumpsuit ups the trend credentials, and there are updates of the embellished tunic and bell-sleeved dresses that have become ubiquitous for the retailer.

JIGSAW

Trends

Its most directional collection for seasons should push Jigsaw into the premier trend league. From metallic brocade tulip skirts to supple leather smock dresses, the retailer's strengths for autumn lie in the diversity of its offer. Long-line knits, ultra-fine cords and classic wool jackets get an interesting new twist.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

While it looks and feels new and exciting, the range still retains the trustworthy and slightly cosy essence of Jigsaw. All the tactile elements that loyal customers love are still there, only better executed. Velvet trousers and cable knit capes add a new dimension to casual country dressing, and covetable accessories will draw in new customers.

OASIS

Trends

From Miss Jean Brodie-style tartan smocks with wide kimono sleeves to spray-on purple taffeta cocktail dresses, Oasis covers a wide trend base for autumn. Figure skater-inspired flippy mini skirts and high-shine leather trench coats follow grey flannel mid-calf shorts and slouchy high-waist trousers. Knitwear is in muted tones, while colour is key on eveningwear.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Although a directional offer, there is still plenty for core Oasis customers. Knitwear is particularly strong, with poncho styles and oversized cowl necks vying for attention. High-waist Oxford bags, culottes and reworked sportswear will all drive sales, alongside the vibrant 1980s-themed evening offer. But some wide-shouldered masculine tailoring may prove to be too fashion-forward for some Oasis shoppers.

WHISTLES

Trends

Colour comes to the fore at Whistles, where pussy-bow blouses in dusty fuchsia and pleat-front shift dresses in plum silk sit alongside heavily embellished cardigans and printed chiffon dresses. Monochrome dresses with contrast Peter Pan collars have a French feel, while navy or cobalt quilted and beaded dresses are an Art Deco-inspired distraction.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

The depth of the dresses and coats offer, combined with forgiving but on-trend silhouettes, make the collection perfect for a colour confident if slightly older customer. A streamlined 1960s-style silhouette lives on in wool swing coats, with bought-in ranges from By Malene Birger, Diab'less, Odd Molly and Pink Soda Boutique adding value.

HOUSE OF FRASER

Trends

While nodding towards trends including balloon sleeves, half-belted coats, layered knitwear and retro repeat prints, House of Fraser's Linea own label has refocused on a cleaner, more stylised look. The Untold label takes inspiration from flea market finds and vintage archives for its silk dresses, ruched fine-gauge knits and tailored pieces. Knitwear in various lounging-at-home styles is also strong at Linea.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Between them, Linea and Untold have the 25- to 40-year-old market covered when it comes to occasionwear, knits and coats. At Untold, dresses priced from £75 to £100 and a wool winter coat at £169 are a bit too expensive. But Linea has its pricing architecture bang on with a 15-piece collection of little black dresses for between £60 and £120. A strong accessories offer adds value and enhances both collections.

WAREHOUSE

Trends

In an attempt to cover all bases, Warehouse's collection appears to be a jumbled mish-mash of Little Lord Fauntleroy- style velvet frock coats, box-pleated mini-skirts, drop-waist silk dresses, wet-look Lurex vests and felt wool coats. Flapper-styles, wide slouchy trousers and tartan smocks look to Marc Jacobs for inspiration.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Tired interpretations of 1980s tiered dresses are a season behind the rest of the high street. Overall, the more basic pieces have most to offer, while some of the knitwear is strong, especially a thick ribbed green dress. Likewise, colourful or graphic print dresses in simple shapes will sell well, even if some are a touch flimsy.

KAREN MILLEN

Trends

Alongside core product such as slinky dresses in heavy satin and chiffon, there are chunky knits in pale grey, flannel trousers and a circular denim skirt. Crochet dresses, a leather jacket and a slinky black jersey nod to the 1970s, while a 1980s-inspired riveted trench and asymmetrically zipped jersey dress pay homage to Princess Diana.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

A slightly pared down, less obviously branded offer represents a good move for Karen Millen. While the party and cocktail dresses are still the strongest category, the improved accessories and daywear should bolster sales.

DEBENHAMS

Trends

Debenhams has banked on leather for autumn and has pulled out all the stops with its styling. Hitting as many price points as possible, designs - many of which hint at a military story - range from £35 to £400 and include short and long biker styles, trench coats, bomber jackets and overcoats with pussy-bow neckties. Dresses remain important, with simple silhouettes allowing for voluminous sleeve details and bright colours.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

There are no surprises as Debenhams continues to focus on high-quality designer-led collections at high street prices. That said, it feels like more weight has been given over to the pricier pieces, the styling of which may tempt more directional shoppers.

CONTEMPORARY

KOOKAI

Trends

Kookai takes a streamlined approach to autumn by focusing on what it is good at. Knitwear forms the basis of the offer, with layered knits, knitted dresses and sweater coats, cardigans and even knee-high socks. Ribs, cables and chunky cables are at the fore, while fair isles and stripes also feature. Non-knitwear pieces boast an easy-to-wear yet chic appeal, in the form of classics such as biker and tweed jackets to empire-line dresses in muted or geometric prints.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

It's no secret that Kookai has struggled. To climb back into favour it has gone back to basics. The pieces are strong and the collection has improved. Merchandising will be the key to ensuring its customers return.

ALL SAINTS

Trends

The persistently anti-trend All Saints steers clear of obvious runway interpretations without looking too avant-garde. Its rock chick personality comes through via laundered leather jackets, printed T-shirts and red denim. Long cardigans feature strongly, as do structured high-waisted trousers. A simple low- back jersey dress saturated in pale gold stud-like embellishments nods to a medieval trend. More feminine pieces include satin blouses with Peter Pan collars.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Sticking to its tried-and-tested formula, the All Saints brand continues to channel its louche jerseywear identity. As a result, it is unlikely to excite new customers who prefer the catwalk-inspired looks produced elsewhere, but it will certainly keep its rock chick target base happy.

COAST

Trends

Coast ups its daywear offer with heavyweight jersey dresses, chunky knits, and coats including parkas, which have been reworked to include a forest green embroidered taffeta number and a grosgrain effect high neck design. But Coast is still very much an occasionwear specialist and it is with colour that autumn's key looks have been reinterpreted. Here a rich, jewel-inspired palette, metallics on bubble hems, large bauble embellishments and empire lines ensure a modern edge.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

The daywear offer is pitched at exactly the right customer, with a few younger styles to attract those shoppers browsing for prom or bridesmaid dresses. Influences have been taken from catwalk collections such as Giles, which should also help to pull in the more fashion-forward consumer.

REISS

Trends

An emphasis on glam eveningwear means lots of sophisticated embellishment for autumn at Reiss. The colour palette includes ivory, silver, grey, black and deep purple, with all-over sequinned mini-skirts sharing rail-space with a purple skirt covered with sequins concealed behind chiffon. Daywear works from a muted palette of nude, grey and clay with a butter-soft leather jacket including oversized buttons and a belt tie alongside wide legged grey flannel trousers.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

The Reiss customer is again spoilt for choice. The retailer's refined bridge-to-designer handwriting is flexed with confidence. Quality is a top priority across the range.

VALUE

TESCO

Trends

Dresses are the main attraction at F&F and include a 1980s-inspired monochrome style, Lurex mini sweater dress, boy- friend-style shirt dress and bright silk shifts. Knitwear plays a big part in Tesco's more casual Cherokee offer, with thick, ribbed, oversized and slouchy pieces. Denim seems bigger this season, with shirt dresses, waist- coats and a wide selection of fits on jeans.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Tesco's trend-led F&F range has a wider appeal this season, catering for a young market with short mini- dresses, but structured tailored styles target a more discerning customer. Cherokee's appeal remains broad - £12 dresses are perfect pocket-money buys.

GEORGE AT ASDA

Trends

All the main trends are represented at George, from roomy parkas in technical fabrics to metallic Lurex striped jersey dresses. Chunky knitwear, high corset-waisted jeans and tweed capelets are joined by a few 1940s-inspired tailored styles, neat satin sheath dresses and colourful wool outerwear.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Although the leopard print pieces will struggle to coax the pennies from any self-respecting Asda shopper's purse, the breezy knitted drop-waist A-line dresser and clinging jersey dresses are bang on trend, as are the bold trapeze line coats and jackets in confident shades of tomato, purple and cobalt. However, there are some curve-skimming dresses and trench coats that look too hastily constructed.

SAINSBURY'S TU

Trends

Tu has upped the ante on its fashion credentials, producing a trend-led autumn 07 collection. Among the highlights are dresses, with a mix of shifts, pinafores and unstructured styles, and jackets, which range from short, swing shapes to cropped leather styles. Also key to the collection are bold prints and luxury fabrics, illustrated by a retro floral print dress in mustard and teal, which features throughout the collection as the colour of the season.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

With its trend-led range, which it showed off at its first catwalk show, Tu has widened its appeal to cater for a trend-conscious market, as it looks to compete with the high street and distance itself from the value sector. But its offer is still well targeted for a more typical supermarket shopper, with a good selection of tailoring and basics. Prices remain competitive at £18 for cropped slimline trousers.

MATALAN

Trends

On-trend highlights at Matalan include brightly coloured short-sleeved tops and dresses, metallic detailed shirts and skirts and geometric patterned satin dresses. Wool plays a big part in the premium Et Vous offer, with cardigans and jackets dominating. Pretty satin underwear is a steal, with sets starting at £9.

RIGHT FOR THE MARKET?

Matalan looks a little confused about its target 25- to 35-year-old age group, with acid bright gilets more suited tothe teen market, while the Et Vous range has an older feel. But there are plenty of well-targeted pieces, notably the coats and jackets, which range from knee-length electric blue military styles to cropped swing tartan options.

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