columnfinal.jpgGemma Cartwright writes...

Looking at Summer stuff in November should be depressing, but to be honest, it's a nice change not to be looking at party dresses, party dresses and more party dresses. That's why this season we've thrown ourselves headfirst into the press day madness. All the big brands have had their Spring / Summer previews over the last couple of weeks, so the CQ girls have been treated to sneaky peeks of everything from the latest shoes from Kickers to New Look's bargain take on Balmain (purple, ruffly, very Gemma Arterton).

And what do we have to report? Well, you'd better start developing a taste for stonewashed denim, because it's back. Along with the rest of the 80s and 90s. ARGH!

We'll be bringing you proper sneak peeks and galleries as soon as we get the images, but until then, here are a few of our top tips. Make a mental list if you're already planning your Summer wardrobe (really?!) ...

River Island had some amazing little floral dresses, chiffon swimwear cover-ups and voluminous dresses. Their influences ranged from Lanvin to Amy Winehouse, and there was a distinct lack of 'sequinned shit' (as someone once described the majority of their merchandise to me circa 2001). They also had outstanding shoes as always...keep your eyes peeled for the brogues and sandals and the peep toe / cutout boots.

New Look have been looking to Chanel, Cavalli, Balmain and Dolce & Gabbana. There was a strong nautical story (again, I know!) with added bling, and some great little dresses and jumpsuits. But really it was the accessories that stood out. Floral wayfarer sunglasses, knee-high strappy gladiator boots and Luella-esque pink and purple shoes with hearts on the toes joined the usual flat sandals and platforms.

At Matalan all eyes were on the new, younger range Be Beau which we previewed last week. Inspirations included Sass and Bide, Luella and Marc Jacobs. Also, put a note in your diary to visit early next year to snap up just about every pair of shoes they do - the Burberry and Balenciaga style sandals for less than £20 are a must have purchase!

Marks and Spencer continue to move up and up as far as well-cut, timeless fashion is concerned. I wasn't so keen on the swimwear but there were some amazing pieces of clothing. Both Isabelle and I fell for a silk top with cutout detail around the neckline, and there was a great black and white dress too. The bags were strong, too - think big croc overnighters in bright colours like green and red.

La Senza are doing high-waisted bikini briefs. For this, I love them. They also have all kinds of neon going on, which will no doubt be on show with racer-back vests throughout the Summer. Still, if you're going to show off your undies, you may as well have something cool to show off. continue to expand their stock of new labels. Not content with snagging Peaches Geldof for PPQ (will. not. buy. and. give. that.girl. any. more. publicity...) they've now got Berman Black by one of my faves, Sara Berman. Meanwhile, rivals have also got some new names. Joining their ranks will be Hurwundeki and Mini Market, among others.

Footwear wise, Schuh will be bringing us some really great leather sandals, while Kickers are branching out into more feminine territory with some lovely leather shoes with almond toes and slim heels that are miles away from the chunky platforms that I wore at 15! Kangaroos go girly with concealed wedges with pocket detail and velcro strap Mary-janes. Office detracted from the actual footwear with synchronised swimmers in Dorothy shoes in the pool of the Haymarket hotel. If you did look around though, you'd see a lot of brights / 80s influences, tassels & moccassins, Wonder Woman-looking flats, Marc Jacobs inspired hearts and stars on heels, glamazon gladiators with studs, embroidery and beading, and those good old Flora Pom-Poms, no doubt!

Plus, don't forget we've got pics of what's to come from Miss Selfridge.and Topshop, just to whet your appetite even more!