Welcome to the dollhouse

Models wearing candy coloured outfits all available from Ted Baker. See PA Feature FASHION Candyland. Photo: PA Photo/Handout
Models wearing candy coloured outfits all available from Ted Baker. See PA Feature FASHION Candyland. Photo: PA Photo/Handout

While the sexy Seventies and haute-boho looks ruled on many a spring/summer catwalk, elsewhere, an altogether softer trend was gathering pace.

Giambattista Valli’s couture offering was awash with pretty pastel tones and tulle, at Fendi there was a flourish of feathery frocks, and the typically tongue-in-cheek Moschino show saw a parade of twirling Barbie girls.

So it’s really up to you how far you want to go with the kook-factor. Keep it neat with candy coloured daywear separates, or doll yourself up with cutesy shoes and a dinky bag too.

However you want to play it, take your pick and mix from these sweet pieces...


The perfect no-fuss foundation for the dollhouse look is a pastel-hued, vintage inspired dress - think of it like a flawlessly frosted cake waiting to be decorated.

If the shade is edible - mint, lemon, pistachio, peach - you know you’re on the right track.

As for silhouette, mid-century shapes are best. A Sixties shift is great for day, but be wary of high-necked styles if you’re larger on top, while a Fifties prom style will accentuate (or fake) hourglass curves.


For a two-piece alternative, a full or circle skirt is your best bet, but steer clear of light, swishy fabrics.

Look for brocade or scuba skirts that hold their structure and pair well with silk tees or fitted blouses in equally icy shades.

Approach print with caution too - florals should be bold not chintzy, or the overall effect can look cluttered.

To elevate the look for evening, a high-waisted tulle skirt looks exquisite with a boxy crop top and a smattering of chunky costume jewels.


Top your retro dress or skirt with a jacket in a tonal or contrasting colour, but keep it on the pastel spectrum - powder pink and lemon yellow are ideal.

With a prom dress, you’ll want a sharp cropped jacket whose hem falls no lower than your waist, but a longer frock coat works well with a fitted shift.

If that sounds like something the Queen would wear, well, it is, but the key to bringing this look up to date is all in the accessories...


Mini bags are big news this season, the trend for taking much-loved designer handbags and shrinking them to miniature proportions having filtered down to the high street.

These dainty darlings may not be practical, but they’re an excellent accompaniment to the baby-doll trend, particularly the acid bright grab bags with shiny metallic detailing.

Think juicy hues like lime, tangerine or fuchsia to add a modern edge your icy ensemble.


Socks and sandals may be a no-no for summer, but socks and court shoes are another matter.

Update the Fifties bobby sock look by pairing pointed-toe courts with lace, crochet or gingham trims, but don’t go higher than ankle height, or you’re into Lolita territory.

As for the courts, don’t be afraid to clash prints. Add interest with scallop edging, spots, stripes, or even dark or neon florals to break up the expanse of pastel on your top half.


Raise a toast to Damsel In A Dress’ Bellini dress, the clear winner on the TV BAFTAs red carpet, as seen on both Konnie Huq (in royal blue) and Mary Berry. The Great British Bake Off presenter had her raspberry pink gown customised with half-length sleeves, but you can pair the sleeveless dress with their pretty shrug.


The Victoriana look - think high collars and lots of English lace - is set to be huge for autumn.