Look forward: International fashion inspirations

By Viv Groskop

Things we learned from this year's international fashion shows.

Many of the fashion show looks this year will be next year's must-have items, from pastel shades to cocktail dresses and statement accessories.

1. Texture is everything

Anything textured, embroidered or sheer, rules. "One of the key trends illustrating this is broderie anglaise," says Jaeger's Belinda Earl, "as featured extensively on the Jaeger London runway and also done beautifully at Louis Vuitton in Paris."

The McQueen collection was a favourite for many, with its focus on lace, especially the distinctive lace skullcaps. (Distinctive they may be but surely most women will shrink away in horror just at the thought of these?)

2. Hairspray time for return of the Jackie O hairdo

At last a practical, desirable and achievable beauty trend. Even if it's not that original. Raf Simons at Jil Sander showed severe chignons and backcombing, topped with a faux pillbox hat complete with net veil. "This was one of my favourite trends," says Premier Model Management Carole White, the grande dame of British modelling. "Everything was quite 1960s - but in a feminine way." The clothes were futuristic Jackie: fluorescent paisley prints, 1960s shifts with sheer panels - although Simons updated the lingering Mad Men vibe with white go-go boots.

See also Miu Miu's similarly B-movie styling: part Hitchcock, part goth, part Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. Covetable, and a realistic alternative to the overtly girly looks which will be peddled ruthlessly everywhere.

3. The key theme for spring/summer? Feminine

An intensely summery version of the "ladylike" look prevailed across all the collections. Earl explains: "I feel the austere minimalist trend is tiring and there was a focus on prettiness and attention to detail, epitomising what I believe female consumers will want to wear come next spring: designs which look special and expensive. There was a more feminine direction within the strong spring/summer collections, such as Louis Vuitton, Prada and Dries Van Noten." Some took it to extremes: Marc by Marc Jacobs and Vera Wang showed peplum skirts.

If "pastel-hued spring lady" is your trend from hell, you'll have to go for the 1970s loud, sporty prints as championed by Diane von Furstenberg and Peter Som.

4. Planet Fashion is not immune from disaster

The front row tumbled to the floor at Balenciaga when a bench gave way. "It was quite funny seeing the front row ditched like that," says White. Grace Coddington and Anna Wintour of US Vogue, Salma Hayek, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Catherine Deneuve rose to their feet in an impromptu standing ovation.

Meanwhile, in a moment which could have made her career but did not quite turn into Naomi-Campbell-does-Vivienne-Westwood, 17-year-old Lindsey Wixson tripped over in her 18cm white metallic stilettoes at Versace. It was bad luck for her that she was facing the back of the stage. If, like Naomi, she'd been walking forwards it would have made front pages all over the world. Dubbed "the sweetest supermodel in the world", she tweeted: "Sprained ankle [sad emoticon]".

Nothing, however, was as humiliating as the reception of Kanye West's collection "for the ladies" in Paris. When Anna Wintour's opinion was solicited, she replied: "Ask someone else."

5. Karl Lagerfeld is still fashion's biggest showman

"You can't beat Chanel for an extravaganza, and the clothes lived up to the promise too," says Sam Baker, editor-in-chief of Red magazine. "The Grand Palais transformed into an underwater seascape and Florence singing in a conch ... that was my highlight." The appearance of Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine with Lagerfeld on the catwalk, was the headline-grabbing moment of the whole season as well as a declaration from the German maestro that trends may come and go, but Chanel is always Chanel. Pearls were the story of his show and although they weren't a feature anywhere else, the power of Kaiser Karl will mean that pearls will be a thing next spring.

6. The icecream palette

Ding-dong, the black capsule wardrobe is dead. Belinda Earl: "Soft pales stood out as the key colour trend." Heaven help us. Sun-bleached colour and - wait for it - tie-dye are also making a return. Think "muted brights". This trend is a real fusion of 1960s and 1980s influences: that ubiquitous Mad Men styling but worn by Bananarama. This cannot be a good thing, surely?

White offers context: "Spring/summer is hard for designers. Winter collections are easier because it's easier for women to dress for winter. Summer is all about legs and arms showing ... " She shudders. This, apparently, explains why the designers can go off on strange colour tangents in spring collections. Makes sense. No one would buy an orange winter coat. But maybe they can be persuaded to buy an orange summer dress? Indeed, orange was flavour of the month at DKNY and Derek Lam. It gets worse. Sam Baker warns: "Everyone will be buying yellow - sadly. Pretty unforgiving on most pasty British complexions. Maybe keep it as far away from your face as possible and start with shoes."

7. You will buy without fail: a cocktail dress

"Cocktail dresses were everywhere," says Baker. White already has a black dress on pre-order from Giles Deacon, whose eveningwear is discussed in hushed, breathy tones. (And he has now 100 per cent graduated to being referred to solely as "Giles", the highest fashion accolade.) After all the excitement and spectacle of orange and yellow tie-dye on the catwalk, back in the real world the perfect simple cocktail dress will be the high street obsession of early 2012.

8. You will buy without fail: a statement accessory

How about the sweet little diamante headband, as seen at Louis Vuitton? (And don't underestimate the significance of Kate Moss closing the Louis Vuitton show. This was one of the most admired shows of the season.) Stand by to resist enormous 1980s earrings. A special mention goes to Dolce and Gabbana's pasta chandeliers. Pat Butcher will be thrilled.

9. Good designers, bad trends

Stella McCartney showed what may turn out to be misplaced optimism (we hope) for pyjamas as daywear, including a jumpsuit version. While at Marchesa, Thakoon and Chris Benz there was a worrying outbreak of Rihanna-tribute candy-coloured hair in every shade from blue to pink. Other worrying developments: long hippy hair worn with a centre parting (everywhere) and "mullet dresses" which fan out into a fishtail, short at the front, long at the back (Balmain, Jason Wu, Narciso Rodriguez).

10. London is in trouble for 2012

As the fashion pack headed home, news broke about Milan's plans for the shows in a year's time. Italy's Camera Nazionale della Moda has announced dates which clash with London Fashion Week. From September 2012, it wants to start early and tread on London's dates.

"London is already squashed," says White. "It's infuriating and disrespectful. Before, we were arguing for a travel day for the models between New York and London. Now that's all irrelevant because it seems like this is already happening."

She adds: "The problem is that the big houses - Gucci and Prada in Milan and LVMH in Paris - have the biggest say in what's happening. This is big business and people need to take London seriously. London is still the lifeblood of fashion's creativity. If Milan go at the same time as us, we're screwed."

This new move also casts doubt on whether London Fashion Week will now attract the return of a big, homegrown name such as Stella McCartney, who currently shows in Paris. There were hopes some designers might bring their shows to England in celebration of London 2012.

"Before everyone was talking about whether Stella might come in February or September," says White. "Now no one knows whether she will come at all."

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