Monday, March 21, 2011

Paprika Designs Some Striking Summer Dresses

Paprika blouseThere is a fashion design boutique in the United Kingdom that only a few people in the United States have heard about. But much like Los Angeles sometimes offers counterculture to more sophisticated New York fashions, this design boutique and others like it outside London are picking up a better vibe than the catwalks.

In short, several independent British designers are working to create more unconventional styles, fusing vintage techniques and modern styles together. By doing so — adding more fun and flow to fashion — they're making Armani's vision from a few years ago a little more functional and well within reach.

Paprika, which was founded in 2008, provides the example. This design boutique pored over some of the latest designs and then added some throwback techniques into the mix. And much like Vintage Havana did with its spring line, Paprika designers seem to have a good sense for what people want — simple summer dresses with just enough detail to make them stunning, immediately eye catching.

Paprika Throws Back Summer Fashions.

There are two summer dress styles that turn heads. At least I think so. With the warmer weather in Los Angeles, I saw one of the designs this weekend and assumed it was vintage. It wasn't. It was shipped overseas from Paprika.

Paprika Frill DressRelaxed Casual With Detail. Picking up on the demand for more relaxed fits, Paprika has several dresses that flow. While simplifying the design with a form-fitting jersey top and scoop neck, the summer dress has a chiffon frill skirt with detail that adds textures instead of patterns to make it work. Matched with a leather jacket in spring, it looks sharp while remaining casual. (94% poly, 6% elastane, about $47 U.S.)

And much like the understated ruffles add dimension to the frill dress, Paprika also has a laser petal dress that captures the same look with more color options. The detail work includes a petal design from the shoulders and down along the neckline. It also comes in on the bottom, negating any hint of a hemline. It ties above the waist. (100% poly, about $55 U.S.) Available colors include beige, white, cream, and black (coral is already sold out).

Form Fitted With Simplicity. Paprika still captures the look with its knot front jersey dress. The detail work includes small horizontal pleats at the hips. But what makes the dress stand out is the neckline and sleeves, with one side sleeveless and the other pleated, creating the illusion of a wrap. (95% viscone/5% elastane, about $35 U.S.)

If you want something with more color, Paprika also has a simple form-fitted floral cup dress. Inspired by the Sixties, the design places the cut where it matters most. While it's difficult to see in the pictures, there is a front panel that adds shape to the dress. (100% cotton, about $47 U.S.)

Paprika also carries almost two dozen tops (top) that include some of the same design principles. Several are cut long enough to wear as a day dress or be matched with short shorts and skirts or pants.

While Paprika has a long delivery window — up to five weeks for international orders (considerably less time in the U.K.) — the wait is worth it. Since Paprika is still somewhat new to the United States, there isn't much chance of running into someone wearing the same dress or top at a summer concert or weekend lunch.

Paprika Summer Dresses Stun At 7.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

There isn't anything not to like about Paprika. Do keep in mind that like many U.K. boutiques, there are some order limitations. This one limits orders to three items or less, and less than £150 (about $250 U.S.). Shipping is handled by Royal Mail, which requires a signature. On mainland U.K., check for special free shipping offers.

You can order Paprika designs right from Paprika, connecting direct from the links above or by visiting their new in section. The store has a 14-day return policy, provided you're responsible for anything you might return.
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