American author Amy Clampitt, in her poem Nothing Stays Put, wrote: 'The strange and wonderful are too much with us.' Clampitt created these melancholy lines after a walk around Manhattan, where she had seen flowers on sale from all over the world. Saddened by the presence of Hawaiian orchids in a drab midtown greengrocer, Clampitt expressed her regret that: 'The world is a wheel' and 'all we know is motion'. Looking at the astonishing range of cross-cultural creativity in this season's fashion for women I find myself profoundly at odds with Clampitt. The speed at which ideas now circulate has given rise to a generation of designers - with an exceptionally strong representation from Asia - that is capable of extraordinary innovation and ingenuity. From colour to cut to silhouette the fashion world is in bloom even as the global economy seems withered and grey. True, some designers have surrendered to pessimism and offered us recession chic. I doubt they will do well. Those who have listened to their muse rather than the stock market have produced styles that shimmer with colour. In this edition of Style we celebrate the best and the brightest of fashion's optimists with the help of stunning photography by Baldovino Barani, Emily Laye and Nick D. The featured designers have drawn on inspirations from all over the globe. The results are 'strange and wonderful' and that's what makes them so compelling. Never forget that the first purpose of fashion is to entertain, especially when times are tough.