With all eyes keenly fixed on China and South Korea, the world of style is no exception and has been celebrating Asia, with many designers looking to the Orient for inspiration for Autumn Winter.
In many respects, New York's Metropolitan Museum and Vogue kick-started the trend when they announced that their annual costume exhibition and gala would take the theme China: Through the Looking Glass, showcasing its culture and style. On the catwalks, cherry-blossom prints, oriental florals on opulent silks, kimono draping, and silhouettes neatly clasped with obi belts were apparent all over at Marni, Maison Martin Margiella, Lanvin and Carven.
Meanwhile over at Gucci, the runway exploded with intricate and exotic botanic prints on sheer silk dresses with plunging necklines. The 70s revival hasn't been lost on this trend as demonstrated at Matthew Williamson who fused flared trousers with blossomed chiffon blouses and embellished floral skirts.
When it comes to your wardrobe, it's hard to beat the Japanese aesthetic of urban dressing for functional wear. For a quick-fix this season, complete any look with an obi belt loosely knotted around your waist.
Question: I'm celebrating/lamenting turning 40 at the end of this month. I would love some advice on finding a really nice dress and shoes to wear for a night out with my nearest and dearest. I'm a fairly slim build but as a mum-of-two, my tummy area is not what it once was. I was thinking a shade of purple might be nice. I have a wedding in October so, if possible, I would like something that I could also wear for that.
Many thanks, Orla, Dublin
Darren replies: A shade of purple called 'radiant orchid' was Pantone's official colour of the year for 2014 and it has clearly remained front of mind for many designers with shades of lilac, lavender, burgundy and violet saturating many of the 2015 catwalks. The high street has interpreted this for autumn with a palette of pretty purples and an abundance of burgundy. Personally, I've always had a fondness for the colour, regardless of trends, which has a serene yet regal quality to it. (1) Roland Mouret's 'Healey' dress (€1,525, Brown Thomas) is expensive but it's also supremely versatile - wear it for work or dressed-up occasions. This fit-and-flare style is cut from smoothing double-crepe and finished with an arched hem to the front. With a bateau neckline, half-sleeves and a buckle at the waist, this is a super flattering style for a feminine silhouette. Complement the rich plum hue with gold and/or silver accessories for the party. For a high street bargain, get your hands on (2) Zara's jacquard houndstooth dress (€39.95, Zara). Play down the prettiness of the flounce skirt by styling with a black leather biker jacket and some booties. Colour block the burgundy with (3) Massimo Dutti's bootie in split suede and scalloped edges (€135), or for something a little more dressy try (4) New Look's ankle cut-out fringe sandals (€39.99). For the wedding, contrast the dress with a sweet pale pink court heel.
Gucci print shift dress €995, Brown Thomas