It’s pretty much impossible to say no to floral print in the modern world. We furnish our homes with it and, increasingly, we dress ourselves in it, dark moody blooms for autumn/winter and lighter, brighter colour combinations for spring/summer.
And this spring/summer 2019 sees the high street stores blooming riotously yet again with dresses, jackets, shirts and trousers all covered – all over – in floral print. It’s a sight that, frankly, still makes some of us feel more than a little nervous. Once upon a time, we would enter fashion shops and department stores fervently hoping that we would not have to lay eyes on any item of clothing or accessory adorned with printed flowers. Especially not on polyester. Chintzy, wishy-washy flowers? Keep them for the garden or the park, or in a vase, certainly not adorning our outfits. So old fashioned and unflattering, like something something your Great-Aunt Ivy might wear, probably as a matching two-piece of puffy blouse and static-ridden, elasticated waist skirt, both in the same insipid pastel-toned floral print. I mean, who wants to look like a pair of curtains? Anyway, that was how some of us reasoned, back in the day.
But a lot has happened since the days of chintz. Floral print is officially very much a fashion thing, so if you, like me, have any residual aversion or intolerance to it, it’s time to be brave and attempt to overcome those fears
Floral print has become a fashion designer’s mode of expression, a language, a striking and evocative way of elevating a garment or an outfit. This year saw the catwalks obsessed with floral print to the extent that they can, and often should, now be worn all-over, either match-matchy (Great-Aunt Ivy would love it) or mis-matched to clash.
From the catwalks through to the high street, the trends to look out for are neon, sporty surfer-style floral prints right through to delicate tapestry and embroidered brocades. Versace took neat floral prints and then layered and mixed them in primary brights contrasting with softer jade and lilac shades – a key way to wear florals this summer is mashed-up and eclectic. Look for prints that also feature spots and stripes, or simply create your own print symphony.
Balenciaga offered bold print-splattered dresses, while at Louis Vuitton, creative director Nicolas Ghesquière gave us dungarees in peachy roses against a metallic background. It’s all about juxtaposition, teaming tough silhouettes with delicate floral prints. Try Topshop for starters.
Look out too for blown-up florals in colour-block shades (seen at Valentino). If you’re nervy about head-to-toe florals, go for one key separate, perhaps a silk shirt, with a striking floral print, to wear with white or black jeans or trouser suit – wearable, flattering and appropriate for special occasions as well as more casual affairs.
A shout-out for Leeds-based fashion brand Joe Browns, which has made its name through its inspired use of print. Florals are a speciality and it has a lovely collection of dresses and other pieces on offer right now (incidentally, Joe Browns also has a home collection including bedding featuring floral print – well worth a look).
Meanwhile, Halifax-based designer Kevan Jon makes exquisite and clever use of floral print in a way that could never be described as wishy-washy. The dress featured here is a perfect example, and a showstopper for the races, weddings and posh garden parties.
Accessories are an easy way to key into the trend and there are plenty of floral print shoes and bags about. Wear to pep up a one-tone outfit or as an interesting mismatch for a floral dress or suit. Give it a go.