Fashion: Print works (which means don’t let it wear you)

Jillian Welch Design in Harrogate makes fabulous use of print.
Jillian Welch Design in Harrogate makes fabulous use of print.
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Wear your art this spring by choosing graphic and painterly prints to create statement pieces. Fashion Editor Stephanie Smith has tips on how to pull it off.

Question: When is a print too bold, too bright, just too darned wild to wear?

Oscar del la Renta Spring/Summer 2018 show in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Oscar del la Renta Spring/Summer 2018 show in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Answer: Never, never, never – as long as you know how to work it for maximum impact without compromising your style or yourself (which basically means you wear the print, and not the other way around).

Bold, statement print is the new season’s most impactful look, and it’s suitable for all times of day, place and occasion. Any time, any place, anywhere you want to go.

“I just love interesting prints and always look for a way to bring them into everyday fashion,” says Yorkshire designer Jillian Welch, whose shop, design and dressmaking studio is in Harrogate. For this season, she has coats, jackets, dresses and separates in a gallery of wild prints including ones featuring cars, arty magazine covers and leopard print (featuring beautiful leopard faces, not just the print itself).

She adds: “Sometimes, they are a bit out there, but often I am surprised how well they lend themselves to the female form. A lot of the coats and jackets I make end up being the main event – really useful for people who prefer to live in trousers, but want to make a statement.”

Printed coat, �150, by Jillian Welch, Westmoreland Street in Harrogate and http://www.jillianwelch.co.uk/. Picture by Tracy Kidd.

Printed coat, �150, by Jillian Welch, Westmoreland Street in Harrogate and http://www.jillianwelch.co.uk/. Picture by Tracy Kidd.

And therein lies one of the major secrets behind making bold print work. Take one key piece in an utterly unignorable print – a jacket, coat, shirt, skirt or a pair of trousers – and build the rest of your look around it with sleek but restrained pieces in white, black, nude or a more muted shade picked out from the print itself.

For a look even more difficult to ignore, try picking out a bold shade from the print to match (try near-match, too – it can look really interesting) via your other separates and accessories. So, a multi-colour printed satin frock coat, which includes red in the print, teamed with red capri trousers, shoes, bag and maybe hat is always going to turn heads in a crowd, say, at the races or a wedding.

Which are the prints to know about for spring/summer 2018 and beyond? Well, there are wide stripes to mix in all directions and shades, there are oversize polka dots, clashing checks and a paradise of florals, but today we’re talking artist-inspired.

There’s an eclectic modern art theme, featuring graphic prints with a distinctive Cubist, Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist influence. Think of Mondrian’s primary colour blocks, Pollock’s paint splashes and Picasso’s energetic black lines, creating form and meaning out of chaos.

Kin by John Lewis magnified print dress, �79, at John Lewis.

Kin by John Lewis magnified print dress, �79, at John Lewis.

Look for shades of bright blue, bright red, varying shades of green and pink, cobalt and lots of yellow, often played out against a backdrop of white and/or with unifying block, splodges or lines of black, including scribble prints for an urban graphic element (perfect for athleisure).

For a calmer, less streetwise but no less striking appeal, there are painterly blurred watercolour washes – ideal for creating mesmerising midi and maxi dresses, and oversized scarves.

Tropical florals continue for the summer, this year refreshed with a native edge, so naive bright flowers and leaves against white, while there’s also a luxe metallic treatment. Havana is a major influence for high summer, featuring fruits, palms, animal prints and exotic blooms.

*The University of Leeds School of Design is looking for men and women to model at its BA Fashion Design catwalk show on June 14 in Leeds. Drop in at one of the casting sessions in Clothworkers Central Building on April 18, 25 and May 2 at 4pm. Female models should be 5ft 8in and above, size 8-12, males should be 5ft 10in and above, chest 38-42, waist 32-34. For more details, email sd14br@leeds.ac.uk.

Print scarf, �29.50, Oliver Bonas.

Print scarf, �29.50, Oliver Bonas.

* Jillian Welch is at Westmoreland Street in Harrogate and here: http://www.jillianwelch.co.uk/

* There’s more fashion and beauty ideas and tips here: https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/lifestyle/fashion and here: https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/lifestyle/fashion and you can find and share fashion & beauty news and events here: https://www.facebook.com/YorkshireFashion/

Print PJ style shirt, �55, at Oliver Bonas.

Print PJ style shirt, �55, at Oliver Bonas.

Foil floral print trousers, �36 at JD Williams.

Foil floral print trousers, �36 at JD Williams.

Car print jacket and skirt from Jillian Welch Design in Harrogate

Car print jacket and skirt from Jillian Welch Design in Harrogate

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