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4 Ways Dries Van Noten and Other Designers Make Everything Old N

Fashion designers have always looked to the past for inspiration. Here is a look at the history behind some of this spring's top trends as exemplified by such labels as Dries Van Noten, Celine and Ann Demeulemeester.

Spring Trend #1: Drop-waisted dresses

Hearkens back to: the Roaring Twenties. Flappers, Prohibition, the Charleston.

Last enjoyed a resurgence: in the 1990s, as part of the Grunge fashion scene.

Featured in the following spring 2012 collections: Chloe, Dries Van Noten, Irish designer Sharon Wauchob.

How do today's designers make this trend their own? Dries Van Noten adds sparkling city lights to the short poufy skirt of one spaghetti strap cocktail dress in black silk. (Digital imaging is another one of this spring's big trends. It has also been embraced by Dries Van Noten's compatriot Ann Demeulemeester.)

Spring Trend #2: Peplums

Hearkens back to: Ancient Greece. Some say that the word "peplum" comes from the Greek word "peplos," which was a tube-like tunic worn by women that folded over at the waistline, creating an extra layer of draping. Peplums were also popular in the 19th century, when they were essentially an overskirt. They also enjoyed a resurgence in the 1940s, where they gave a curvy, feminine shape to suits.

Last enjoyed a resurgence: in the late 80s, where they were most often seen on dresses.

Featured in the following spring 2012 collections: Dries Van Noten, Givenchy, Celine, Alexander McQueen, Chanel (by Karl Lagerfeld), Jason Wu, Thakoon.

How do today's designers make this trend their own? Dries Van Noten's peplum trousers turned heads during Paris's Fashion Week. Celine channeled the peplum shape by using a belt to cinch out fabric. Also by Celine: a flowing peplum top in all white. Ann Demeulemeester featured peplum jackets. Vera Wang added detachable peplums in a swirl of neon to many of her all-white dresses (neon and diaphanous whites are both big spring trends in themselves).

Spring Trend #3: Art Deco designs

Hearkens back to: The geometric patterns favoured by flappers during the Roaring Twenties.

Featured in the following spring 2012 collections: Lacoste, Alexander Wang, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten.

How do today's designers make this trend their own? Ann Demeulemeester applied art deco designs to the torso of men's tuxedo suits in white. Dries Van Noten used patterns inspired by different traditions, but as though viewed through a unifying art deco lens. Many designers used intricate beadwork to express this geometric trend.

Spring Trend #4: Neon

Hearkens back to: The 1980s. Some may remember neon Vuarnet surf and skatewear.

Featured in the following spring 2012 collections: Nanette Lepore, Rag & Bone, Celine

How do today's designers make this trend their own? Celine uses neon in combination with another big spring trend - colour blocking - on totes and bags.