As a very wise yet fictional editor of Runway magazine once pointed out, floral pieces for spring are hardly original. But as with all recurring trends, there must be a reason why it is so popular, and the reason for this trend's refusal to go away is pretty obvious. Spring is when new life comes forth - lambs, chicks, ducklings, green leaves and of course flowers. But we also tend to feel that we ourselves have some form of new life, hence the idea of spring cleaning and the success of people who decide to give up something for lent (I've given up meat, that's why I had so much bacon on pancake day).
Apply the feelings associated with Spring to fashion and it makes sense that designers want to show clean whites, bright colours and fresh blooms. That's not to say that all florals are good, some of them are completely awful! It can often depend on the size of the print, the colour scheme and the fabric, all of which vary from season to season. Even if you have an acceptable piece, how do you avoid look boring or even granny-like? Well, my answer to that, as ever, is a list! Follow these tips if you want to go manic for botanics, but would like to avoid a floral faux-pas.
|Christian Dior's garden in Granville|
1. Clash - It's a risky move, but if you play it right and mix your prints, you can achieve a look that shows off both your sartorial expertise and sunny disposition. The trick to pulling it off is not to pair prints which are both loud - let one do the talking and one sit in the background nodding. Also avoid prints which are too similar, as it could end up looking like they deliberately match and you don't want to look like this do you?
2. Choose carefully - Before you buy anything with any sort of print on, always make sure you try it on. A loud daisy print may look cute on the hanger, but without checking, you have no idea if it's going to emphasise your tummy to a less than flattering extent. Look out for things you would normally steer clear of - particular silhouettes, colours which don't work on your skin tone etc. Just because it's disguised with lilies doesn't mean it will look any better than it normally does.
3. Don't overkill - Clashing two prints is probably enough, but the same can be said for the mixing of florals with other features. It's generally seen as part of the romantic trend, so mixing in too many other aspects of that (frills, bows, pastels, feathers etc.) can leave you with the appearance of a children's birthday cake. If you are really worried about this effect, start with some floral accessories, a scarf, a ring, something small which will help you work your way in. Another way to avoid it is to wear florals with tough pieces which completely contrast with their femininity: a biker jacket, black boots, a skull ring...
|Something I'm working on for Art-don't worry it's not finished yet|
4. If all else fails, top and tail - I've heard Gok swear by it many a time. Basically this is a styling technique where you wear something on top e.g. a red beret and match it with something on the bottom of the same colour e.g. red shoes. This makes whatever you do in the middle OK (within reason). This works best for patterns if you pick out a colour in the print and use that.
To put some of my theories to the test, I wore the outfit you see above to a play on Saturday night. Technically one piece is floral and the other is a kind of leaf print, but I think the fundamentals remain the same. However, no matter what I wore, I don't think it was possible to look as pretty as Henry - pictured below on the left with my friend Vicki - who made for a beautiful Miranda Lionheart in the play, Theatre of Blood. He certainly knows how to work a floral dress (and, surprisingly, how to walk in heels).