Fashion: Bloom’s Day and a riot of print

Olivia Palermo arriving for the Burberry Prorsum February show in London.
  Hannah McKay/PA Wire
Olivia Palermo arriving for the Burberry Prorsum February show in London. Hannah McKay/PA Wire
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There’s a riotous yet statement-like approach to floral print for spring and summer. Stephanie Smith has advice on how to wear and what to look out for.

There’s a floral revolution going on, in case you hadn’t noticed.

Joy Louche Luxe Chance dress, �79, from Joy.

Joy Louche Luxe Chance dress, �79, from Joy.

What this means is that floral print now refuses to be classified or contained in a box, perhaps marked “tea dresses”, and instead demands to be taken seriously.

Perhaps the biggest trend in floral print is the hyper-real bloom takeover, which sees beautiful, powerful, almost lawless flowers and various herbiage homing in on fashion pieces from frocks to tops to trousers and jackets and shirts.

It’s a bit like Day of the Triffids, or the Little Shop of Horrors, huge plants making themselves known, refusing to be ignored and packing quite a statement punch.

There’s an organic theme to prints for this spring and summer, which extends beyond floral print to cover mesmerising stylised interpretations inspired by the water and sea world, the jungle and all sorts of vegetation. They work mostly in mono and greys, soft pinks and nudes and other gentle, lilting colours, and are often to be found on floating chiffony and silky fabrics, all of which means they are just perfect for layering. Look out for a light and floaty longline jacket in a wafting florar organic print to wear over pretty much anything, because it will take you pretty much anywhere.

Karen Millen floral print clutch bag, �99, at Karen Millen and John Lewis.

Karen Millen floral print clutch bag, �99, at Karen Millen and John Lewis.

There’s a sporty edge to floral print too for this spring and summer, so think about how you can team it with sports separates, for example, wearing a floral-print top (halter neck is good, and sleeveless, or try a floral print blouse) with tracksuit bottoms. It looks coolest when you go old-school in red or blue running tracksuit bottoms, with white stripes down the outer leg. Add white sneakers and you’re good to go, and bear in mind this does work quite well with chintzy, sprigged, pretty floral prints in pastel colours – the culture clash with the brash utility nature of the trackies seems to give both pieces a new lift. Experiment also with wearing a trackie top with a floral print dress or blouse, and take a look in the back of your wardrobe and in charity shops and vintage stores for floral print shirts and blouses that might do the trick, with minimal outlay.

It’s not all ethereal, wafty floral prints, far from it. Named blooms make quite a feature, from orchids to hibiscus, plus plenty that I couldn’t begin to name. Often these are blown up and set against a rich plain backdrop (dark blue, or deep orange, or white) so that just a handful of big, luscious blooms feature on the dress or jacket. It’s strking and actually quite flattering. This approach works well on proper dresses, such as prom-style ones, and also tunic dresses and louche PJ-style trouser suits.

A rather intriguing approach to floral print for this spring and summer comes in the form of matching and clashing. Now, here you can find pieces already print-clashed, for example, a dress with a shirt style top half in one floral print, and a tiered or pleated skirt in another floral print, or a shirt with floral print sleeves that correspond with, but don’t match, the body.

It’s a look you can put together yourself, by mixing and matching tops, skirts, trousers and jackets in a variety of prints. You don’t need to pay too much attention to what works with what, but if in doubt, it helps if there is one colour that runs through the lot, even if it features quite minimally. This is a trend that continues to autumn/winter.

Floral tunic dress, �36, Red Herring at Debenhams.

Floral tunic dress, �36, Red Herring at Debenhams.

This applies to bags and shoes too, of course – another way in which you can have a great deal of fun with florals this season. Experiment with your LBD or with a white tunic or prom dress, or actually, with anything you like.

Twitter: @yorkshirefashQ

Embroidered cotton-blend Stella McCartney dress, �2,020, at Harvey Nichols.

Embroidered cotton-blend Stella McCartney dress, �2,020, at Harvey Nichols.

19 August 2017......  Sarah Yates in period costume at the vintage fair at Lotherton Hall.  Picture Tony Johnson.

Vintage fair at Lotherton Hall draws colourful crowd for weekend of events