How Hongkongers can flash some cool flair on their summer break

From kimonos and ponchos to shirt dresses and chandelier earrings, get these cool looks for the beach or pool from a range of designers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 June, 2017, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 June, 2017, 6:01pm

Ditch the sarong and think outside the box when covering up this summer. Whether beach or poolside, choose from fresh silhouettes that are comfortable, versatile and above all, on-trend. Here are the top styles to invest in.

IT’S A WRAP

There was a time when robes were reserved for the bedroom, but thanks to designers such as Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino they have become a catwalk favourite. They can be worn on the beach and with the right accessories, to a cocktail party, and the one-size-fits-all shape means that they suit most body types.

Styles range from short with batwing arms (which are more traditional) to long and belted for a more dramatic look. While floral prints are a sizzling summer trend, opt for versions made from breathable fabrics such as silk, cotton or linen with fashionable details such as appliques or lace inserts.

“This season we’ve taken a kimono silhouette and updated it with thread and raffia embroidered cutouts so it can be worn as a dress or kaftan jacket,” says Prerna Chainani-Monsen, founder and creative director of Maison Monsen.

LEG UP

Don’t underestimate the power of separates. Palazzo pants may have been overshadowed by skinny styles for years, but that’s changing, thanks to designers such as Rosie Assoulin and Victoria Beckham, who have created styles ranging from slouchy and casual to polished and tailored.

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Avoid busy patterns, and go for classic styles updated with details such as tuxedo stripes which give the illusion of a longer silhouette, belts or more contemporary cuts such as the high waist. More voluminous pants may be tricky to wear, so balance them with a fitted crop top (preferably an off-the-shoulder, ruffled style). Palazzos also look great matched with a simple white button-down shirt in sheer cotton or linen.

GET SHIRTY

T-shirt dresses can look sloppy and the shirt dress is an elegant alternative. It was a big trend on the spring-summer 2017 catwalks and there are plenty of options, including styles with voluminous sleeves, cut outs and inserts in contrasting textures or fabrics.

“Oversized exaggerated shirting was a key trend for spring-summer and one that can easily translate to beachwear. We have recently launched an exclusive beach capsule collection from Palmer//Harding – the British design duo have re-imagined their signature oversized shirting styles in lightweight linen which work perfectly layered over a bikini and denim cut-offs,” says Natalie Kingham, buying director of matchesfashion.com. “Kilometre Paris is also a stand-out with holiday destination inspired designs, hand embroidered onto original 19th century dress shirts from the south of France.”

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Fabric choice is key. If you want a more polished look, opt for crisp materials such as cotton poplin and seersucker, while silk is more romantic and airy. Add a playful touch with quirky prints such as florals, paisley, stripes, polka dots or gingham.

THE MAXIMALIST

The maxi dress is a perennial favourite because it allows experimentation with a multitude of looks.

Popular silhouettes this summer include the one-shoulder and oversized styles. Many appear conservative from the front, but show off some skin from the back.

Also trending are boho-inspired flowing dresses from the likes of Vita Kin which feature contrasting

ethnic-inspired embroideries. White is the colour to invest in, or go bold with summer’s hottest colour – pink.

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Go-to brands include Kalita for its romantic yet understated silk dresses, while designer Lisa Marie Fernandez has launched a collection featuring cotton maxi dresses with multiple tiers and ruffles.

HEAD PONCHO

This rainy day essential has made it to the beach and is a chic alternative to the kaftan. This summer, it has been reinvented in airy, floaty fabrics such as silk or crepe.

“We have started experimenting with longer versions of the poncho with high slits to show off your legs. Shorter styles can also double as a nice blouse for the evening and can be paired with anything from shorts to jeans,” says designer and Tabla founder Tania Mohan.

Because the silhouette is so simple, the details shine. Choose from bold prints, deluxe fringing or threadwork to add texture and richness.

Accessorise all areas

Accessories are the fastest way to transform any coverup. Must-haves include the basket bag – structured wicker styles with handles, slouchy picnic baskets or totes that will fit all your essentials. Standouts include Cult Gaia’s architectural bamboo styles.

While the comfy sandal has endured, we prefer the minimalist slide. Its simple silhouette made from supple leather screams understated luxury.

A final word on jewellery. Necklaces can be fussy, so if you want to add some bling, earrings are the way to go.

Tassel earrings add an ethnic vibe and come in various materials and colours. H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collection also features chandelier earrings in shades of blue and white, made from sustainable materials.