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Flowers of Fashion



From uniform patterns of petals to chaotic collections of botanical blossoms, floral prints are still parading the catwalk with high street trends snapping at the heels.

Floral prints are bursting throughout the high street; spring-summer 2010 was a season of romantic gestures and 80s flamboyance with shoulder pads, Madonna-esque layering, loosely fitting jumpsuits and, of course, bold prints. But the ever-consistent trend of flouncing florals shows no sign of fading in 2011. With the 70s hippy making a comeback, it seems florals will be with us for another season.

Magazines are on fire and store rails are stacking up ready for the new releases of the spring summer collections. This is always the most exciting time of year when the catwalks have been scrutinized, the trend predictions made and the waiting endured until the season is released upon us and a shopping spree is in order.

High street stores such as Topshop, Next and Warehouse are spilling floral prints from their windows and rails; and even a quick glance at the new collections of clothing online shows promise of a very blossoming season.

Floral trends were popular in Jane Austen’s Georgian era, the gowns of both wealthy and, particularly, ordinary women featured floral patterns. Exotic floral was one style of interior decorating in Austen’s day.  Florals were encouraged further by the ‘Arts and Crafts movement’ and William Morris’ innovative designs of nature-inspired interior decoration and crafts. Flowers and chintz were also popular in Victorian England: emulated in modern designs such as those by Laura Ashley.

Betty Jackson’s 2010 spring summer collection was enveloped with soft floral fabrics. Delicately thin layers and feminine ruffles in pale pastels are a diversion from her iconic geometric glamour and block colours of black and neutral tones. She’s known for her practical sophistication and empowering masculinity, and she demonstrates this in her 2011 collection by using harsher prints in subtle colours teamed with practical work wear. Carolina Herrera presented an exotic collection of colour at the New York fashion week 2011. The Korean-inspired garments were printed with flowers and hummingbirds in celebration of nature’s summer. The Venezuelan-born designer embraces floral prints this year accessorising with straw hats, 70s style sunglasses and elegant heels. Even Givenchy’s straight-cut masculine Resort collection invited a little botany in this year in a sheer transparent “cut-out” dress.

American actress and style icon Michelle Williams sported a daisy print dress designed by the luxurious Valentino on the red carpet, echoing Twiggy with her 1960s style haircut and bold printed taupe. Christina Aguilera was seen on the same carpet with a Zuhair Murad lace dress sewn into precise patterns of floral, undeniably chosen to emulate the design of her “Royal Desire” fragrance. Floral prints have also been worn this year by fashion icons such as Chloë Sevigny, Kate Moss and Lily Cole. If these girls are anything to follow, verdant prints speak glamour and élan with a delicate subtlety.



Even with florals being a stable style choice, their popularity can make them predictable. Don’t overdo prints daily- but don’t be afraid to be extravagant from time to time. If you want to wear florals without running the risk of looking too ‘girly’, try teaming a floral sundress with military boots and a leather belt. For summer- delicate floral prints with a floppy straw hat will always be a winner. Whether relaxing on the beach or shopping with the girls, florals are a pleasant way of looking summery and casual. For a more subtle floral, another high street favourite is flowery accessories- patterned tights or a corsage. To really make a statement, try bold, large prints. However if you’re of a petite size, large prints can make you appear smaller and so for the not-so-tall, it’s advisable to stick to more delicate patterns. Don’t mix prints either- stick to one garment or one pattern; else you’ll end up looking like a Magic Eye picture. Flowered patterns are even poking their nose into men’s fashion- printed shirts and decorative ties can be seen in high street stores such as Topman, Firetrap and Ted Baker. Keep floral hints very subtle with men. Again don’t mix prints, and wear a plain tie with a printed shirt if at all. If you as a man are brave enough to dare the daisies- you’ll have to look like you know what you’re doing with the look and so carefully consider your whole outfit. A subtly floral printed shirt could keep you up with the trend.

Brighten up your summer with ditsy prints, bold botany or harmonized hibiscus. Don’t be afraid to explore the gardens of fashion; and don’t take your style too seriously. Have fun with it!





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