Any colour just so long as it's bright!

Any colour just so long as it’s bright! ALEXANDRA SHULMAN breaks the fashion rules this summer with clashing accessories

  • The idea of matchy-matchy has long been a slur directed at any neat pairing of accessories, decreed as too primly suburban or a 1950s throwback 
  • Alexandra Shulman explains how this summer is a free-for-all in terms of colour
  • UK-based fashion expert says now is the time to run free with childish joy 

Fashion rules are made to be broken. The idea of matchy-matchy has long been a slur directed at any neat pairing of accessories, decreed as too primly suburban or a 1950s throwback. 

But no longer. As summer’s array of vibrant bags and shoes fills the shops, match or not — just as you please. Shoes can match bags, bags can match clothing; or, if you prefer, noisily clash. It’s a free-for-all. On the spring catwalks, Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior swapped mtore conventional tans and blacks for pop-colour bags which dangled from wrists and set off the boxy minis that dominated her show. And at Bottega Veneta, one of the most influential ­accessory houses, vivid bags and shoes in its trademark quilting and plaited intrecciato leather heralded a new phase of eye- ­catching accessories. 

Left: Dress, £51.35, warehousefashion. com; heels, £225, russellandbromley. co.uk; bag, £8, primark.com; cuff, £195, merola.co.uk. Right: Trousers, £345, and shirt, £345, serenabutelondon.com; heels, £24, asos.com; bag, £160, Stand Studio at theoutnet.com

This summer its luminous, bright green clutches are one of the statement pieces of the season. But it’s not only the luxury houses who have fallen for colour. 

The High Street and smaller independent brands have adopted the trend, too, offering a rainbow of bags, shoes and sunglasses. River Island’s turquoise padded clutch will add some pizazz to your look, either by picking up a colour in your clothes or ­jazzing up a plain white dress or suit. 

Left: Dress, £227.50, wyselondon.com; bag, £26.24, newlook.com; sunglasses, £125, cubitts.com; Sandals, £145, Iris & Ink at theoutnet.com; ring, £33, ashiana-accessories.com. Right: Satin trousers, £46.80, and red sandals, £38.35, both warehousefashion.com; bangle, £155, merola.co.uk

Stripes are in their element in summertime (think the cheerful pattern of deckchairs and regattas) and work wonderfully in a woven texture tote, which looks just as good on the beach as in town. 

Not to be left in the shade, footwear has also gone wild this summer, with an array of colour that echoes the shoes of the glam-rock 1970s. At a recent wedding I attended, the bride wore a bespoke navy flared trousersuit with towering fuchsia satin Russell & Bromley platforms. 

Left: Trousers, £25, riverisland.com; bag, £15, accessorize.com; heels, £295, russellandbromley.co.uk; watch, £209, rotarywatches.com. Right: Dress, £119, massimodutti. com; slingback heels, £49.99, zara.com; clutch bag, £11, accessorize.com

For high summer, Roman-style sandals lacing round the ankle are more sophisticated in coloured leather than traditional tan, while a coloured wedge such as the Warehouse square-toed style featured here, is a comfortable alternative to the trusty espadrille. 

You can’t let down the exuberant colour and patterns of these Missoni-inspired River Island knit trousers with a dreary pair of black heels poking out. 

The idea of matchy-matchy has long been a slur directed at any neat pairing of accessories, decreed as too primly suburban or a 1950s throwback. Alexandra Shulman explains how this summer is a free-for-all in terms of colour

No, this summer it’s time to let the colour palette run free and treat it with the ­childish joy you would a new set of multi-coloured crayons. After all, before we know it we will be heading for autumn, where the Technicolor train will more than likely come to a halt.

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