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Pattern mashup: how to pull off decoupage prints

A model walks the runway at the Proenza Schouler Spring 2013 fashion show on September 12, 2012 in New York City

Peter Michael Dills/Getty Images

It was just a matter of time before decoupage, a decorative cut-and-paste technique, made its way from craft fairs to high-fashion runways. This summer, it has finally happened, with designers giving the look an haute spin, placing strips and swaths of contrasting prints on everything from skirts to dresses to jackets. Here's how to piece it together, so to speak.

1) For an office setting, opt for one decoupage-style piece rather than a whole outfit. A skirt is the most versatile, because you can tone down the vivacity of the print with a simple white knit or blouse.

2) Proenza Schouler's spring 2013 show (pictured above) was a masterclass in patchwork. Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez pieced together textile collages out of photo prints, bright leather and animal skins for their show-stopping dresses. Follow their lead and let your fabrics speak for themselves, without fussy jewellery or accessories.

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3) Even if you are going light on the accessories, you can still have fun with those you do wear. A colourful shoe (we prefer pastels) offers the right amount of playfulness without compromising your authority in the boardroom.

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