Does the success of Master Chef have more to answer to than a generation of wannabe gastronomes? Scattered through the spring 2012 runways were references to aprons – those little pieces of fabric that have such connotations of wholesome vintage housewifery through to kitchen complexity, not to mention other traditional and folk references in between. From apron back dresses to apron-like wrap skirts, find out how apron styles are influencing fashion in 2012 after the break. To stay up to date with all fashion trend updates be sure to subscribe to our newsletter or RSS feed. Click the thumbnails for full pictures About the trend Aprons have, throughout history, served two main functions: being protective, and being decorative. Of the latter it was between the 16th and 18th centuries that aprons of fine fabrics were worn over skirts as a decorative feature, often embroidered and tied at the waist. Bibbed aprons were (and still are) most often worn to protect whatever’s underneath them. In 2012 the apron again has something of a revival, popping up across runways in various forms. There are two main aesthetics of the apron in 2012: crisp and elegant, and effortlessly simple. No example of the first style shines brighter than Chado Ralph Rucci’s immaculate white apron pictured at the top of this post. With a curved hem and neatly stitched pockets, and set against a shimmering white plunge-neck shirt and skinny pants, it has an evening formality that could serve you an a la carte dinner. Fendi’s spring 2012 apron dresses are bibbed, frilled, and unwaveringly feminine, from pastel blue cotton to sheer black organza. Bibbed apron dress on the Fendi S/S ’12 runway. When they’re not keeping a strict structure and elegant formality, apron dresses are kicking back with an almost bohemian freedom. For this look we get dresses and tops that have apron backs with tie-up strings, softly unstructured pinafores, and wrap-around apron skirts. Jeremy Laing’s collection of slouching, draping, apron-style pieces epitomise a modern approach to apron cuts in 2012. Apron details at Jeremy Laing and Fendi, S/S ’12. Apron dresses and skirts: how to wear them Less thematic and more based on form and cut, how you wear an apron-inspired piece obviously depends on the piece’s style. That said, there are plenty of other trends that will compliment this one in 2012: Use an apron skirt or apron dress as the foundation of a ’50s or ’60s vintage-inspired look. While an apron dress with a cinched in waist lends itself to a ladylike mid 20th century feel, an unstructured piece loosely tied can float with a jazz age 1920s revival. Go for sheer fabric if you want to contrast the sweetness of an apron style with a sexier edge. For more inspiration from the runways on how to wear apron style pieces, visit the gallery above.