Photography by Jean-Claude Lussier; (runway).

Talk about a time warp! This season, being fashion forward is all about reinterpreting iconic looks from decades past. From 1920s flappers to 1960s Carnaby Street queens, designers mined almost every era to fabulous effect.

Fashion trends: The 1920s
Anna Sui f/w 2012

Perhaps in anticipation of Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming adaption of The Great Gatsby, designers like Ralph Lauren, Aquilano.Rimondi and Anna Sui all gave in to the charms of the flapper for fall. Peppering their collections with 1920s references – seen in drop-waist dresses lavished with audacious sequins and finished with Art Deco-inspired jewellery. The look was one of the most unapologetically glamorous of the season but what’s even better is that it’s an even bigger trend for next spring.

Style tips: If graphic deco prints or dresses are too costume-like for you, opt instead for a few accessories. A jade-embellished belt, glittery vintage brooch or felt bucket hat are roaring pieces that could outshine any flapper.

Fashion trends: The 1940s
Marc by Marc Jacobs f/w 2012

Adrian lives! The costume designer who made an icon of Joan Crawford and a virtue of out-to-there shoulder pads would have approved of this season’s productions. Miu Miu, Etro, and Marc by Marc Jacobs whipped up 1940s tailleurs to do an MGM star proud, while Roland Mouret, Prabal Gurung, and Victoria Beckham focused on long, languorous looks for impossibly glamorous evenings.

Style tips: Bring the vintage vibe into the 21st century by pairing a sharp-shouldered crepe dress with more contemporary statement heels. As seen at Miu Miu, glittery trompe l’oeil booties add a big dose of modern glamour.

Fashion trends: The 1950s
Rag & Bone f/w 2012

As Marc Jacobs, Jason Wu and Monique L’huillier demonstrated, the real real housewives wore curve hugging, hourglass silhouettes. The ladylike blouses, below-the-knee pencil skirt and pretty lace party frocks were front and centre on the catwalks while hallmarks of the era like those Sonia Rykiel and Rag & Bone varsity jackets added a more relaxed take on the trend.

Style tips: Forego the transparent peekaboo skirts like those at Louis Vuitton and Givenchy and try the always-flattering pencil skirt instead. It’s a style that is beyond sexy and works for every body type.

More style tips from decades past on the next page…

Fashion trends: The 1960s
Prada f/w 2012

The early 1960s were a favourite reference point on many of the fall runways as an abundance of mod-themed looks came down the catwalks. Burberry Prorsum’s A-line shifts, Blumarine’s go-go boots and Prada’s oversized paillettes and Mondrian prints were swinging fashion style statements while Jean Paul Gaultier and Bottega Veneta’s Thomas Maier added bouffant hairdos to match. These are perfect looks to celebrate the return of Mad Men.

Style tips: Take inspiration from modern-day Mod poster child Alexa Chung in a skirt with an abbreviated hemline and a Peter-Pan collared blouse, but skip the ‘60s accessories to avoid looking overtly retro.

Fashion trends: The 1970s

Gucci f/w 2012

Fashion’s current fascination with the “youthquake” years didn’t extend to every designer. As a continuation from last season’s early Yves Saint Laurent-inspired years, labels like Gucci, Chloe and Marc by Marc Jacobs were influenced by the 1970s, trading in the Studio 54-worthy harem pants and lean jumpsuits for rich camel coats, pussy bow blouses, sporty velvet and corduroy blazers and extreme flare jeans.

Style tips: This trend is, blessedly, an ode to the decade’s daywear, but keep in mind that accessories can make or break the outfit. Reach for easy add-ons like a gorgeous cape, buttery leather shoulder bag, floppy fedora and suede knee-high boots to start a seventies-inspired love story.

Fashion trends: The 1980s

D&G f/w 2012

It’s the decade that fashion won’t forget. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana led the revival with an unapologetic dose of nostalgia featuring slogan tees, oversized sweaters, leggings and neon everything for their D&G line. The duo gave their Dolce & Gabbana collection a further dose of eighties glam via nightclub minidresses in fully spangled glory. And leave it to Donatella Versace to put a gloss on the era with this season’s seen-them-everywhere scarf prints. Proof that girls just wanna have fun.

Style tips: Could there be anything cooler than metallic leather jeans? Balmain’s gilded versions have a tough-luxe vibe. Just be sure to pair them with a simple t-shirt for a looks that more rock and roll and less OTT.

Fashion trends: The 1990s

Alexander Wang f/w 2012

The decade that brought you 90210 the first time around is having a moment, which means that bias-cut slip dresses, plaid shirts and tough Docs were back on the runways. Alexander Wang, Altuzarra and Vena Cava, New York’s new generation of designers, paid homage by harnessing nouveau grunge while more established brands like Celine and Jil Sander took a no-frills approach with simple shapes and spare accessories.

Style tips: Do like Kate Moss did back when she was with Johnny Depp and throw on an urban parka over an evening gown. Even though she now goes by Mrs. Hince, we guarantee it’s a look La Moss will be repeating this season.

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