Helen Grange

Summer is beckoning, and it’s going to be a season full of evocative fashion statements that speak to our love of sports and fascination with ethereal romance, inspired by the fantasy TV series Game of Thrones.

“A strong trend for spring/summer 2015 is ‘sports luxe’, which has been prominent on Europe’s catwalks and takes sports attire to a new level,” says Nicola Cooper, fashion analyst at the trend forecasting agency Flux Trends. “So you’re seeing great fabrics and fine detailing in gymwear that creates an outfit that you can wear outside the gym as well.”

The sports luxe look is defined by cropped tops, tennis-style skirts, shorts, tracksuit pants, vest tops, T-shirts, wedge sneakers and souped-up sweatshirts and bomber jackets.

“More than the traditional gym outfit, active wear at the higher end is stylish and flexible, so you can wear it at home and go to a meeting without having to change,” says Cooper.

“More people are working from home today, so flexibility and comfort have become important. Women and men have picked up sports luxe as a wearable trend suited to their lifestyles.”

Dresses in the Kelso range, available at Edgars, are a good example of the sports luxe look. “Bold colour blocking and brights are key for the season, popped with graphic black and white for a fresh, high-energy take on this summer trend,” says Edgars trend and design manager Sandra Rogers. “Key items are body con dresses, statement handbags with sexy heels in bold black or white.”

Another dominant theme for the season, says Cooper, is “ancient ethereal” – picking up strongly from the Game of Thrones series, which features a rich array of costumes deferring to ancient royals and warriors.

“This has translated into fashion in the form of very detailed, armour-like jewellery, lots of flowing chiffon, interlacing, and braids,” says Cooper. “So you’ll see long, flowing maxi-dresses and warrior sandals, for example.

“Colours are dove greys, lilacs and soft pastels, and make-up is minimal and natural, the binary opposite to the heavy make-up trends we’ve seen in the past.”

It’s a look that whispers pure romance, and you’ll see it strongly represented in the new Sugar Blossom range at Forever New stores. The range is all softly draped silhouettes in a bouquet of floral prints that meets a palette of pale creamy pastels. Delicate lace overlays and long split sheer lengths add a fanciful touch.

At Edgars you’ll find the ancient ethereal trend embodied in rich inky blues worn with white, with minimal tile prints and luxurious embellishment, adding an ancient ethereal feel to the theme. Key items are easy printed soft pants, worn with chic white blazers, jewelled sandals and cropped tops.

Edgars also has some Dune London jewelled sandals that fit this trend, says Rogers. Other than pastels, some of the key colours are greys, pinks, blues, greens, acidic brights and graphic black and white. “As South Africans we are an optimistic and colourful country, so this range of colours allows for the diversity in our cultures and skin tones,” says Cooper. “Those who are a little colour-shy can fall back on bold monochromes.”

Denim, often with an oxidised finish, will also be key to summer’s look. Cooper says there will be subtle detailing, with lace embroidery for example.

African-inspired prints and textures are also coming through, “which goes to prove what trend analysts have been saying for quite some time – all eyes are on Africa”, says Cooper.

“Africans are seeking their own unique look and feel, though inspired by international trends, so there is a lot of room for individuality. We should cast a close eye on our designers and independent stores to see how they interpret international trends, because savvy consumers are always looking for unique items to make them stand out.”

The “sartorial style” – in other words, beautifully tailored suits, blazers and shirts – is a strong trend for men this summer.

“Sartorial style is a nod to the old-school, dapper gent. Now it’s being driven by young men rather than older men. It’s an upswing of traditional, but with a contemporary edge,” says Cooper.

This look came under the spotlight at the opening last month of the leading international men’s fashion label, Suitsupply, in the Hyde Park shopping centre. It sells superbly constructed suits made of only the best Italian fabrics. Tailoring is done on-site and while you wait, so customers can leave with a suit that fits perfectly.

Swedish brand Stenstroms, available at Stuttafords, also calls to the modern dandy. “Accessories and small, playful details that lift the whole are more important than ever,” says Stenstroms marketing manager Marie Ramberg.

“The free-thinking individualist still dares to go his own way, but with a nod to a more correct, tailored look.”