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Romance Ain’t Dead: Meet Spring 16’s New London Crushes

For Spring 16 London got romantic. Think prairie dresses, frills, ruffles and flounces. We introduce the new commercial trend crushes from LFW's designers.
Romance Ain’t Dead: Meet Spring 16’s New London Crushes | EDITED

If you’re not a fan of fashion’s recent contemporary, clean-lined and sporty undertones, rejoice! London Fashion Week has resurrected a frillier version of femininity, a newer New Romantic for you to fall in love with next Spring. Here they are, the five leading romantic trends with serious commercial ambition and a truckload of swoon.

1. Girl Next Door (If Next Door Is A Little House On A Prairie)


Interests: Frolicking on hillsides, baby animals, craft pursuits, nights in with the girls
Looking For: The jet set, the festival goer, the fashion editor

She may look naive and straight-laced, but don’t underestimate the allure of the prairie dress. This one will have commercial power across the entire market. As a headline London trend, the luxury market will cash in on this shape in high summer. For the mass market, this is the ideal update to those vintage summer shapes that have been hanging around for too long. Whether in plain cotton or floral prints, with piping or sleeve detail, this garment is open to each retailer’s interpretation. If you take your femininity with a hard edge, recent street style shows sneakers are holding on strong: we can see this one paired with Stan Smiths and biker jacket. A match made in heaven.

2. The Frill Seeker


Interests: Fine wine, opera, quirky new restaurants, gallery openings
Looking For:  Someone to balance it all out

This trend sticks it to all of the sophisticated streamlined looks we’ve seen over the last few seasons. Anti-90s, these fussy and complicated forms were everywhere. It felt frivolous and good. This trend is for the skilled pattern cutters in retail: think Whistles, Topshop, Ted Baker. London’s designers ran frills down dresses and pants, slung them across shoulders and had them spilling from skirts. Tiered flounces will make for fun summer wedding dresses in metallic fabrics or raw-edged silk and the return of the peplum will refresh workwear this spring. And if all that’s a bit complicated, make like House of Holland and place a ruffled row across the front of a simple tee.

3. The English Rose


Interests: Cups of tea, baking (and consumption) of varied scones to pair with cups of tea, watching The Great British Bake Off with a cup of tea, garden parties
Looking For: Someone who likes brunch with girlfriends, won’t be a wallflower at parties and likes long sunset walks in the park

In summer, floral dresses get snapped up faster than 32-year-old solvent bachelors with full heads of hair and no kids. In high summer of 2015, nearly 63,000 floral dresses arrived online, with an average price of $79.00 and took only 33 days on average to sell out. Of those, it was bold prints which sold well – blooms the size of cups and saucers if you will. Retailers will be relieved that the luxury market gives this trend continued kudos. Under the romantic trend, wallpaper florals and staples of the English garden will do well.

4. Wears Heart On Sleeve


Interests: Medieval history, weekend romps in the country, reading the classics, nose-to-tail eating
Looking For: Someone who knows their Keats from their Ke$ha

Bishop, leg of mutton, bracelet, angel and circular flounce sleeves were seen in every proportion during London Fashion Week. This trend isn’t for everyone so retailers should proceed with caution. Sleeve volume is so polarizing that we’d really only recommend this one to the most fashion-forward segments of the market. A gently fluted sleeve or cape-like off-shoulder top may be more palatable for the mass market. Eudon Choi offered an entry level way to explore this trend: a drawstring placed on the sleeve of a trench so the wearer can determine their own volume.

5. Something For The Weekend


Interests: Cocktails, city breaks, cocktails, live music, cocktails, the d-floor
Looking For: Someone with a GSOH, who enjoys nights out more than nights in

And just when things were looking all conceptual and art-house, along came fun gal lace. A little bit Victoriana, a little bit 80s, lace has come along to give next summer’s romance some flirtation. Fine and sheer, Burberry and Preen preserved modesty with high-waisted underpinnings, while Topshop Unique went naughty with knickers embroidered to match the dress. Be it midi length, a skirted a-line or slip dress shape, lace will add edge to feminine collections – it’ll even bear a ruffle well.

And if you really can’t find true love in any of those, worry not. Both cardigans and pajama dressing make a return for Spring 2016. Cats and craziness optional.