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Ever-changing spring

Spring is a season of equals and opposites, not just meteorologically speaking. The spring 2012 fashion runways teased trend spotters, showing pajamalike pastels one day and body-hugging neoprene dresses the next. Cropped tops bared midriffs. Peplums concealed insecurities. Still, from the extremes, a few themes emerged.

Shape shifting:

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New shapes and silhouettes are the biggest news, said Kristina O'Neill, executive editor of Harper's Bazaar.

One of O'Neill's favorite spring trends is the peplum, as a kicky flounce along the hem of a jacket, or around the waist like a belt, as seen at

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and

Jason Wu

. "The peplum is a figure forgiver; it cleverly covers your curvier bits but in a structured, flattering way." O'Neill said.

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Jackets — twisted or tweaked — are required for the fashion-forward.

Dries Van Noten

and

3.1 Phillip Lim

skipped the sleeves. And whether big-shouldered at

Balenciaga

or off-the-shoulder at

Donna Karan

, some of these new shapes rocked us like the '80s.

Prints churning:

That

Chanel

adage about taking one thing off before you walk out the door? Forget it for spring, at least when it comes to prints and patterns. "It's more like, put one more thing on," O'Neill said. "Mixing prints that you already have will be an easy way to get in on the print and color explosion."

The bolder may look to

Mary Katrantzou

's colorful graphic designs and the snake appliques at

Lanvin

, said Holli Rogers, fashion director at Net-a-Porter.com.

Scoops of sorbet:

"For every collection that scrambled patterns and textures, there was another that had whisper colors," O'Neill said, pointing to

Givenchy

's pale pinks.

Carolina Herrera

served mint green,

Hussein Chalayan

lemon.

Rogers liked 3.1 Phillip Lim's slouchy tailored separates in soft sorbet shades. "Print pastels were also important and strongest at

Christopher Kane

and

Diane von Furstenberg

," Rogers said.

Gatsby nights:

On cue with the upcoming "Great Gatsby" movie, eveningwear bears signatures of the art deco era — slinky bias cuts and chevron beading among them. "

Gucci

offered a strong and sexy take on the trend while

Ralph Lauren

went for dreamy romanticism," Rogers said.

Surf and turf:

Rogers liked the point-break references, from

Altuzarra

's fitted neoprene dresses to print swimwear from Lisa Marie Fernandez. "I love Christian Louboutin's new fluoro neoprene shoes — both comfortable and supercool," she said. Sporty details scored elsewhere, in an

Akris

green number reminiscent of

Adidas

Stan Smiths, a tracksuit from

Alexander Wang

, and Rag & Bone's aqua parachute pants

Starring accessories:

Yellow is the new neutral, according to

Neiman Marcus

, safest to try in shoes and sandals, or with camels and khakis. "Yellow is a challenging color, so wear it with other neutrals or with denim, or white, creams and navies," O'Neill suggested.

Pumps with a thin ankle strap are back. For an "art shoe," the one fashion lovers are talking about is

Prada

's Flame, O'Neill said. "It's one of those shoes that would have everyone at your dinner party talking."

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