Island style

So there I was, riding my scooter around Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, with the hot sun on my newly tanned skin and my salty beach curls waving in the wind with my tropical chiffon dress.

I couldn't help but notice the many small makeshift fashion shops that sprinkle the road around the island. Bright sarongs and dresses hung from small wooden structures or awnings that seemed to appear around every blind corner.

I stopped at almost all of them, even though they offered much the same designs and fabrics.

In Rarotonga, the fabric patterns are mainly tropical flowers, such as hibiscus or frangipanis. Even the board shorts on the hunky island men are in the same bright prints.

On the way over on the plane, I researched upcoming trends for spring-summer and, to my delight, one among the many international and national successful fashion designers was tropical island-inspired designs.

This timed nicely with my recent holiday.

Beautiful turquoise lagoons with reefs that house colourful fish and bright coral, the red, pink and yellow tropical flowers that make the deep, dark, leafy bushcome alive with colour - they all inspire the beautiful local fashion and also the trends for spring-summer all around the world this year.

If you love this tropical trend as much as I do, then choose beautiful, floaty silk, satin or chiffon fabrics in a multitude of bright colours that emphasise your sun-kissed skin.

Coral and turquoise are two colours that suit most complexions and there will be plenty of patterns that incorporate these two colours this season. The difference that sets the new "techno-tropical" creations apart from the overdone Hawaiian-styled prints are the multitude of outrageous new photo-print patterns in bright colours. It's like wearing works of art on your body.

The prints include tropical bush scenes, with palm trees and hibiscus flowers merging into a flurry of colour and schools of tropical fish floating around hemlines, which may sound crazy and animated, but the way Trelise Cooper has designed them, they are fun and tasteful.

As for the shapes, you will find the bikini-loving halterneck is making a comeback and the flattering wraparound styles, which gather at the waist or side, are on trend.

And our favourite, kimono sleeves to keep the sun off the shoulders or to hide an untoned upper arm, will still be in fashion for the coming seasons.

The hemline is maxi or just touching the knees. Of course, wearing this style is all about what you put with it to complete the look.

The shoes to match this style are a bright, bold, solid colour, with nude platforms or, for a dressier look, a soft, pointed-toe stiletto.

If you can't get away to a tropical adventure this year, you can always bring the island to you with island-inspired pieces that bring the tropics right here to Nelson-Tasman.

Be sure to wear them at sunset. Go out with the girls for a tropical cocktail to really do it in island style.


Best dressed

The Nelson Mail is launching a search for the Nelson region's best-dressed professionals. More than $4000 in prizes are up for grabs: $2000-plus packages each for the best-dressed male and female. Two panels of local judges will choose the winners, but before that happens, we need the entrants.

People can nominate co-workers, friends or even family members for the rest of this month. From September 1, photos of the nominees will be posted on Public voting will decide the top five men and women entrants, with the judging panels doing the rest.

Only one nomination per person is needed, along with a suitably sharp high-resolution photo of them in their work clothes. For more details, see