THE decade of the hippy, hippy, shake is back and the fashion world has rarely had such strong directions for spring and summer. Fabrics have lost weight - clouds of chiffon and gauze are favourites. Colours include every shade of green, with splashes of tangerine. Floral prints are coming in riots of colour and the hippy theme continues with embroidery, applique, beading and patchwork prints. Skirts are stretched or split, slashed and even wrapped, but mostly long. Trousers include big, dressy flares, bell-bottoms and drawstring pyjamas. Jackets have shrunk into waistcoats, tank tops, or cropped boleros. The look includes daisy chains, hip belts and Indian-style gold decorations, supplying a dreaminess and softness to garments. But where the '70s look was typified by cheap symbols of rebellion that became a universal trend, today it approaches elitism. Hippy trademarks are appearing at couture shows. From Chanel came the bells, belts, velvet hat and long necklaces; Christian Dior's gold encrusted fabrics harked back to India, and cropped jackets, flared cuffs and undressed hair were seen at the Gianni Versace show, along with gilt daisy chains. Versace continues the theme in his spring-summer collection. Using his trademark sexy cut, bold prints and a kaleidoscope of colour, he has re-invented the '70s look with printed chiffon smocks and flares, frilled floral chiffon tops and layered skirts, and button-through floral dresses with multi-coloured polka-dot lining. But this is not a '70s revival, say the fashion experts. Remove the accessories, bell-bottoms and patterns, and you are left with supple fabrics, elegance and a longer and leaner look. The difference is one of exaggeration. Flares were never so flappy, shirts and cuffs so frothy, and prints so detailed. Couture's approval of the hippy look, is not such a drastic thing for those with small budgets. Many of us may still have moth-eaten samples at the back of our wardrobes. And there are always second-hand outlets where you can find relics of the past. In today's fashion climate they will look new. In Hongkong, you can find '70s ''retro'' gear at Chaos, shop 85, on the first floor of the Beverley Commercial Centre, Chatham Road, Kowloon. ''We have got retro '60s and '70s clothes, from hats to vintage Levis, jackets, skirts and even pre-1969 Levis,'' said owner Ms Peggy Smith, who opened the shop three years ago with partner Ms Nina Pachy. ''The shop is pretty small but we have big stock rooms full of the stuff, which we also hire out to film companies and film agencies. ''We were among the first to bring retro to Hongkong. People were very shy about wearing the hats we brought over. Now they are considered high-street fashion. ''We get all our clothes from London where retro has been around for a long time. Flares, collars and cuffs were being seen in clubland three years ago. ''The whole 'grunge' thing is a bit late. It was happening in London way back. I am a bit surprised the couture designers are continuing the theme. ''They seem to be quite late, but I guess the big designers always follow from the street, even if it is several years on.'' Model: Hannah from Models 4. Location: Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park.