Spring forward!



The spring 2014 collections provided an eye-opening mix of lively trends, with colour and bravado the essential ingredients

Photographs: Fairchild Photo Library; Getty Images

  2. Spring 2014 was a season of great inventiveness and opposites attracting – for every painterly dress splashed with bold brushstrokes, there was a minimalist option crafted with precision and subtle decoration. The arts proved a great focus, too, as designers fueled the age-old debate as to whether fashion constitutes a serious art form. Whatever your thoughts, it was hard to ignore Chanel’s masterful display in which Karl Lagerfeld created a gallery backdrop to show bold silk dresses and reinvented tweeds spliced together using the full colour spectrum. Other houses also demonstrated incredible creativity and vigour, but in the end it all comes down to how you choose to read the subplots and, ultimately, make it work for you.

Paint by numbers: images above, the art gallery setting for Chanel's bold spring '14 show held at the Grand Palais in Paris; from left, Prada, Hermès, Céline, Marni and Chanel offered up a series of artful modernist looks.


Bloom service: floral notes provided a pretty focus for Stella McCartney, left, who incorporated springtime prints on high-tech sport shapes, meantime designer Giambattista Valli worked pansies and other petal motifs into sculptural bouquets on shift dresses.

Face off: the spring runways provided plenty of inspiration and clever beauty tricks for spring. Here, two favourite looks to try at home – at Balenciaga, makeup artist Diane Kendal conjured dewy-skinned faces with natural-looking brows, highlighted cheekbones and nude lips; while at Saint Laurent a nod to the 60s called for dramatic winged eyes, matte lips and blunt bobs.

To have and to hold: top accessories combined utilitarian ideas with tough hardware and sci-fi themes. Clockwise from top left, Alexander Wang accessorised his streamlined looks with outsized envelope bags in chalky shades of white; Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing made a bold play with heavy chain neckpieces and cuffs to compliment his metal-trimmed bomber jackets; Stella McCartney's futuristic-looking sunglasses provided a modern counterpoint to her soft silhouettes; Hedi Slimane's sharp-edged bangles glamorised le smoking tuxedos at Saint Laurent, tweeds were teamed with antiqued backpacks at Chanel; and Marc Jacobs topped off tomboy denims with feathered headdresses and exotic biker boots for his final collection for Louis Vuitton. 

The working girls: during Fashion Week they demonstrate a kind of nonchalant excellence – and even break a few rules along the way. From left, Paris Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt in Balmain resort; model Natalia Vodianova in Stella McCartney; director Sofia Coppola wearing Louis Vuitton resort, and model Stella Tennant in Chanel and Céline.