The fashion industry, in case you were confused, celebrates the new year several months early: this spring/summer's designer collections were shown on the catwalks last September. This means we have had plenty of time to say goodbye to autumn/winter and welcome the new set of trends coming in.
And what a season it is. Here's something rather radical: after a decade (or a lifetime for the fashion lot) of black, we give a warm (if not slightly wary) welcome to the emergence of white on the runway for spring/summer 2013. There was an explosion of white luminosity across the board: at Acne, there were crisp whites paired with dark greens, intricate broderie anglaise seen at Valentino, orchestrated origami folds of duchess satin at Prada and Céline and classic cottons at Marni, Chloe and Balenciaga. Mulberry, as always, provided structure, playing on a slightly more masculine aesthetic than most.
We often struggle with white due to the "look at me" connotations associated with the colour, but this time around we have options that should open things up for even the most conservative among us. Come to think of it, it's a welcome change after a season of noisy, clashing graphic prints and overly saturated colour. In fact, I'm all for a softer, more ethereal spring. There's something wonderfully poetic about the whole thing. Look for chiffons, soft silks or sharp, crisp cottons if the whole whimsical mood is a little sickly sweet for you.
Orchestrating a wardrobe from whites can be a somewhat strange concept for most of the world while there is still white on the ground, but for those of us living a warm, seasonless existence it simply gives us a little more time to get ahead; experiment and perfect the look before it reaches full force on a worldwide scale.
Don't be deceived: it's not as easy as it all looks. Wearing one colour is often more difficult to pull off than combining colour schemes. If the whole overtly feminine thing is lost on you, try pleats or stark, masculine tailoring to create drama. If you are still scared of white trousers (I am) go for a pretty A-line dress with a nipped waist; perhaps a cop-out to some, but sometimes the fear of the unknown simply can't be put to rest.
Although this should be a given, make sure things are expertly clean, pressed and and whiter than white. Unfortunately, there is no place for busy mums here and the slightly greyish-white tone of the home-washed whites. The key is to think ethereal, not princess. Accessories are what we need to put our efforts into. Look to unique pieces of jewellery, such as strong sharp pieces of silver, but avoid anything delicate and especially anything with any kind of a sparkle.
I know I repeat this often but, for heaven's sake, girls, buy the right size if not a size bigger; white, out of all the colours out there, is unforgiving. Just cut out the size tag if it bothers you that much. The same goes for quality - make sure to invest: you are better with two or three quality pieces than you are with a wardrobe bursting with cheap impersonators. Cheaper fabrics simply won't hang properly, and the biggest mistake made when it comes to white is having it cling to unsightly lumps and bumps.
For once I will say (although admittedly, it pains me slightly to admit) nude heels will help elongate the legs and give an elegant line. And to finish off with something perhaps even more out there than wearing head to toe white: all these whites on the runway were paired with flats. Yes, that's right, you heard it here first. Flats. Bring on 2013!
Read the blog All Dressed Up for more on fashion