Flowers in winter? Tiny buds and full blooms in vivid shades of poppy, rose, sunflower, iris and lush foliage green, all set against a decidedly stark and sombre backdrop of black, or navy, or deep burgundy. So wrong, yet somehow so right.
Winter florals is a trend that refuses to die back. For several years now, it has revived and re-emerged, perhaps modified a little, certainly evolved from previous seasons, but there it is again, bursting forth with renewed growth and vigour.
Floral prints are no longer synonymous with the light, cheerful or romantic looks of summer fashion.
Autumn/winter brings us bewitching blooms, exotic and slightly unsettling for all their familiarity, like walking into your home or a place you know well and finding that everything remains the same and in its place, but all the walls have been painted black.
On the international catwalks, Preen and Gucci gave us dark, brooding blooms, while Elie Saab offered ethereal, barely there, oversized flower heads on swirling, floating chiffons. Erdem paired a lace cream floral top with pink full skirt in a floral damask, here using heavier fabrics to give wintry substance to lighter shades.
Giambattista Valli continued the theme of a black backdrop with intriguing floral applique – a fabric that has been popular for a couple of seasons now and much copied on the High Street. It has the advantage of being flattering and easy to wear, but with a vibrant pattern – something that makes winter florals appealing even to those who feel wary of lighter, summery flower prints.
Isabel Marant showed plum floral midi skirts and dresses teamed with knee-high, ultra-slouchy, brown suede and leather boots – a key look for autumn/winter 2017 and one that can be put together inexpensively from the High Street and supermarkets.
The floral maxi dress offers interesting options for the season, and so makes a great wardrobe investment. Team with boots for day, then style up for evening with chic heels and an updo.
Perhaps the most versatile winter floral piece – and one you can keep in your wardrobe forever – is the long kimono-style jacket. Wear it simply over a plain, one-colour black or navy or burgundy dress, or matching knit and trousers. Or throw on over your jeans and a white/black shirt or tee for weekends. Or you could go in for a bit of floral pattern clashing and wear over a floral print dress or top for a harmonious cacophony of colour and pattern.
The matching floral trouser suit is very much a thing for this season, and the richer and bolder the better. Check out the one shown here from Primark, which will hit stores on November 6 – a bargain price for pieces that can be worn together or separately, creating lots of different wardrobe ensembles.
As ever, the quickest and easier way to key into the winter florals trend is via accessories. This season brings us boots, shoes, bags and scarves galore, to add just a touch of moody blooms to your outfit with an eye-catching statement piece.
An accessory is also an effective way of trying out some print clashing, so experiment with a variety of bloom patterning. A pair of floral brocade block heel boots would work well with a floral print trouser suit, for example.
In other news, Harvey Nichols Leeds turns 21 this month and is celebrating the fact on Thursday with a special shopping evening, featuring offers, lives music, serious shopping and lots of treats, plus photo booths and a free bottle of Champagne for those who spend more than £75. See HarveyNichols.com for more details.