Last year we saw the revival of the ’80s, and this spring will recall a more bohemian vibe from the ’70s. Runway shows have displayed a mature approach to the free and casual style of the decade, with flowers and fresh colors adorning almost every look. To convey the liberated feel that’s synonymous with the decade, sheer fabrics and safari styles have been incorporated into designers’ themes. But variety remains key: classic pantsuits with high waists are as fashionable as neon mini-dresses.

Bright Colors

The Spring 2008 runway shows reflect the sunny outlook of a “Candyland” of fashion, with bright colors popping up everywhere you look. Designer Phillip Lim (of 3.1 Phillip Lim) had models walking down the runway in jackets and dresses in contrasting tropical colors ranging from melon to turquoise. Similarly, designer Diane von Furstenberg chose jewel tones, like sapphire and emerald, to transform blouses and skirts paired with neutrals to create balance. Design company Etro’s runway showed equally colorful inspiration: The standard for achieving a bohemian look – with layers upon layers – was updated by pairing bright dresses with even brighter jackets.

Sheer Fabrics

Christian Dior’s Spring 2008 Ready-to-Wear collection ranged from menswear-inspired pieces to ultra feminine dresses. Regardless of the particular style, sheer fabrics were used for button-down shirts, tunics and sundresses to soften each silhouette. Vivienne Westwood took this trend to the extreme by draping her models in fishnet and tulle. The combination resulted in mermaid-esque models looking like they’d been caught in fishing nets. Sheer fabrics allow for an imaginative and playful tone that few other textures can mimic.

Off the Shoulder

Think of this as a modernist take on the toga: Whether tied at the shoulder or held together with stoned brooches – which were the accessory on spring runways – this trend is the epitome of effortless style. Easy to capture on the shoestring budget of any college student, mainstream stores (like Victoria Secret) have built several pieces using this shape. An off-the-shoulder look allows for flexibility with the rest of an outfit because it won’t necessarily overpower other style elements like bold colors or patterns. And if chosen carefully, the right shoulder cut can be paired with almost any waist-down shape.

Safari Inspired

Designer Zac Posen’s runway show told the story of a young woman who began her day on the sidewalks of New York City and was transported to a safari in Africa. Posen included shirtdresses in khaki tones along with button-downs paired with cargo shorts. For a slightly different take on the casual safari look, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz brought the spirit of animal life into his clothing. Feathers adorned many of his dresses, with one sporting a fully-feathered bodice. The voluminous train of his longer dresses gave models a fluid, feline walk that translates to a sexy stroll. Both designers accessorized their looks with chunky beaded necklaces constructed mostly from wood and leather belts with prominent buckles.

High Waist/Wide Leg

This style continues into the spring and summer seasons and can be worn either dressy or casual. Several looks coming down Dior’s runway had pants in this style, ranging in fabric and color, paired with racer-back tanks and suspenders (a combination that we’ll most likely see Fall 2008, too). Dolce & Gabbana created pants in materials like faux crocodile and denim with the silhouette, shifting from the heavier wool fabrics we usually see during winter months.

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