How to wear... pastels
Ice-cream shades dominated the catwalks and are perfect for a spring wardrobe refresh, writes Meadhbh McGrath
After a brief snowy interlude, spring has finally sprung - and with it, an array of ice-cream hues. Pastels ruled at the Oscars this month, most spectacularly on Saoirse Ronan in a show-stopping Calvin Klein by Appointment gown. Styled with soft pink eyeshadow and draped blush, her look perfectly captured the mood of the season: fresh, modern and joyful.
On the spring catwalks, pastels took centre stage in all four fashion capitals, where shades of duck egg blue, lemon, mint and peach were piled up like a triple sundae.
Buzzy label Sies Marjan is known for chromatic harmony, and designer Sander Lak presented a gorgeous and spirited collection of silk dresses and co-ordinating pyjama sets in dreamy pink, green and lavender.
One of the standout looks at Céline featured a dusty pink blazer tucked into a pale yellow asymmetric pleated skirt, the delicate pastels tempered with a rich violet fishnet top and lace-up boots.
In a tribute to her late brother Gianni, Donatella Versace took inspiration from the 90s, offering pleated skirts, blazers with major shoulders, a trio of velvet dresses and high-waisted jeans with matching T-shirts.
Everyone fell for Victoria Beckham's glittery pastel princess pumps (find a more wallet-friendly version at Next), while the designer advocated tonal pastels, styling a parma violet suit with matching shirt - a look she recently wore out and about, straight from the catwalk.
If the thought of wearing pastels head-to-toe leaves you wincing, start small with a pair of earrings or a sleek handbag. Or take your cue from one of VB's more accessible looks: a mannish blazer in pale blue, thrown on over a plain white tee and classic straight jeans. The cut and fit of the blazer inject some androgyny into the pastel trend, dialling down the girlishness.
This season's look isn't merely pretty pastels - forget about delicate lace and frills and opt for clean lines and smart tailoring.
Keep the look modern by contrasting textures: pair a mint fisherman's knit with indigo jeans or try pastel pieces in unexpected fabrics, from corduroy suiting to a plastic mac (River Island has lilac and pink versions from April).
If it all seems too prim, give your sugary shades a hard-edged twist. Black fishnet tights add just the right touch of defiance to a pale pink dress, or toughen up a saccharine blouse with a razor-sharp mini and clunky boots.