Let’s go bananas…

Stella McCartney S/S 11

Prada S/S 11

Fashion has adopted a fruity vibe this summer, taking inspiration from the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

The dreary palette of Autumn and Winter is replaced with a wash of colour for Spring. After all, how else can we embrace the sun and brighten up our wardrobes in our ever pouring, and economically stressed climate?

At the S/S 2011 shows, there was a fruit cocktail of tangerine, lemon, and lime, ready and waiting to quench the thirst of our winter blues with zesty infused blouses, tunics and bags at Stella McCartney, and apple and banana prints at Miu Miu and Prada. While fuchsia pinks, vixen reds and emerald greens were on display at Jil Sander, Ateliar Versace and Gucci. Dior and Vanessa Bruno even drew inspiration from tropical heritage with hoopla leaf patterns that added to the exotic vibe.

Jil Sander S/S 11

Versace S/S 11

Gucci S/S 11

Dior S/S 11

Meanwhile, footwear has attracted a similar theme with glamorous chunky heels and knee-high boots in acidic tones with a touch of tutti frutti luxe like Charlotte Olympia, Kurt Geiger and Manolo Blahnik.

Charlotte Olympia

Jodie Ball, fashion editor at Worth Global Style Network (WGSN) says: “Designers are always looking for the up-date to the perennial floral story for summer. We created a high summer capsule trend called South Pacific, inspired by the musical that mixed retro 40s and 50s pin-ups, World War 2 military drill and hula girl chic.”

Key pieces vary from kitsch and retro prints, peekaboo detailing and high-waisted shorts for a pin-up silhouette, with macramé and crochet in raffia adding texture and a different fabrication to the look.

1920s starlets Carmen Miranda and Josephine Baker, who were famous for their exuberant fruit hats and banana skirts, are key style icons for the trend. In their heyday the bombshells epitomized an optimistic spirit and energy during the Great Depression and war-stricken world between the 20s and 40s. No question, given our uncertain economic climate fashion has drawn inspiration from such characters to bring the same idealism to our wardrobes.

Carmen Miranda in her famous fruit hat

The Pantone Fashion Week report last September recorded that S/S 2011 would take consumers to foreign lands to escape the everyday challenges they face at home. Coral rose and blue curacao, are just two shades that are said to evoke thoughts of faraway locales, and oversea destinations. This conjures up feelings and memories of travel and relaxation, as a calming affect for anxiety and stress amidst a recession.

Natalie Kingham, a buyer at Matches Fashion says: “Fruit prints are very feminine and sell well. I have bought into the fruit and colour blocking trend with Stella McCartney and Charlotte Olympia because their pieces evoke the feeling of sunshine and happy days.”

Fashions favourite eccentric Anna Della Russo has also jumped on the fruit bandwagon, wearing headpieces adorned in oversized warermelons and cherries on a number of occasions. Designer, Piers Atkinson uses Alice bands decorated in fanciful foliage, studs and netting to create a quirky alternative to headwear. His S/S 2011 collection again infiltrates a fruity feeling with a 24-caret gold apple and crystal split pomegranates, perched on top of satin and suede bands.

As we edge towards summer, the high street has started to whet our appetite too. Topshop has fruit printed socks and swimwear, faded pineapple and banana print tops and leggings, while ASOS is selling apple shaped rings and sunglasses. The accessories and beauty counters have been filled with sherbet clutches and skinny waist belts, to nail varnishes and lipsticks in coral hues as well.

Pineapple cropped shirt Topshop £24

Banana print leggings Topshop £20

Disney couture Snow White red crystal apple ring £38, available at ASOS

Rhianna Mayer a fashion design student says: “I just bought a kitsch pineapple print top from Topshop, because the trend instantly makes me think of summer even when it is raining. When I put it on I can go to my favourite holiday destination, despite my lack of funds for travelling.”

Colour blocking is yet another way to add an exotic motif to your look, according to Ball: “Colour blocking definitely fits in with the palette of seasonal macro trends that we predicted two years ago. Intoxicating brights, weird flamboyant chemical shades, and acid infused levels.”

Think bold neons and fluros with bundles of gold accents to finish. The key is to clash; contrasting an orange skirt with a purple blouse and a green bag for a dramatic kaleidoscope of colour, that will add a punch of spice to your wardrobe.

Lindsey Anderson, fashion News Editor of fashion blog myfashionlife.com is also hot on the trend: “My favourite fashion houses to incorporate colour blocking were Lanvin, and Alber Elbaz. A fuchsia camisole or lemon cardigan is the perfect way to match your clothing to the sunshine season.”

There seems to be no escaping the bold fruit and colour designs that are trying to bring out the best from our British climate. So why not slip on a pair of tangerine jeans, get out that fuchsia maxi, or pick up an apple cardigan. Then layback, relax, take a sip or two from a coconut cocktail by the pool, and run your toes through the sand. I can feel the warmth of the sun on my back already.


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