After a long cold winter of chunky knits and heavy coats, springtime bursts into full bloom with a new selection of feminine florals. Year on year, botanical prints work their way into our wardrobes, whether it’s in the form of a floaty Valentino floral maxi dress or flower appliqué Fendi trainers. Historical trends suggest this summer staple is here to stay.
“Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.”
The cutting comments of fictional Editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly capture the challenge of bringing a new take to such an enduring trend. It’s certainly true that floral print is by no means revolutionary. Nonetheless, designers established and up-and-coming take them on time and again, working tirelessly to keep them as fresh as a spritz of Daisy.
Botanical prints are a summer holiday stalwart, and look just as elegant accessorising a Vespa in Rome as adorning a sunlounger on Koh Samui. Dolce & Gabbana is renowned for painterly florals in saturated tones, working new blooms into their majolica prints each season. The label's AW16 collection also features lightweight separates with a vibrant banana leaf print.
Petal print bikinis are perfect for poolside lounging. Ralph Lauren Polo's glorious technicolour take on florals feature playful ruffles around the waistband, while Moschino appears to have drawn inspiration from the sun-soaked 1960s classic film Endless Summer, with retro high-waisted two-pieces.
New York-based swimwear brand Onia has stylish and contemporary one-pieces, with bold graphic prints on a plain base colour. For a more subtle nod to the trend, La Perla offers tastefully understated swimwear with monochromatic floral inserts. A pair of flowery espadrilles by Stella McCartney are the perfect accompaniment.
When it’s time to head to the beach bar, look to a Lolita-style vintage summer dress with ruffles and ruching, such as Giamba’s tiered mini-dress with a vibrant pink floral design. Alternatively, a colourful kaftan like Ingie Paris’ floor-length floral print design is a fantastic option.
Whether you’re dining at a harbour-side Hamptons seafood restaurant or sipping a mint julep on a Mykonos-anchored yacht, the gold-toned setting sun brings out the best of botanical prints. The palm-lined promenade in St. Tropez is the ideal setting for a sheer floral maxi dress, as seen in Valentino's romantic pre-SS17 collection. It features colourful flowers embroidered on a backdrop of nudes and muted blues.
For a dramatic edge, Adele’s Dolce & Gabbana dress in the ‘Send My Love’ music video demonstrates full-on floral elegance. Her printed maxi gown is taken from the label’s SS16 collection and features long sleeves, a full-length flowing skirt and an embellished fitted bodice.
Coach's SS16 show mixed clashing botanical prints, with leather accents adding a rock 'n' roll edge. Alternatively, vibrant block colours with contrasting botanical details create a sleek effect. Emanuel Ungaro has a fitted one-shoulder red mini-dress with textured appliquéd flower details in black, red and nude.
From a morning strolling around Central Park to an afternoon boating on the Serpentine, pretty floral dresses are the perfect accompaniment to a leafy setting. Summer dresses can be given a tough urban finish with a pair of floral biker boots, such as Saint Laurent’s black leather versions with buckled ankle straps and delicate flower prints. Alternatively, high-waisted Citizens of Humanity jeans can be brightened up with a floral print Valentino bomber jacket, zipped over a plain white cropped T-shirt.
Botanicals look just as good in the office as they do in the great outdoors. Walk into work feeling as vibrant as a Rebel Rebel bouquet in quirky florals from House of Holland. The label puts an irreverent spin on the timeless trend with insect and cactus illustrations. For something a little more structured, Marni has oversized sleeveless trouser suits with clean lines and a large leaf print in block colours.
Gucci’s pre-SS17 catwalk showcased botanicals at their most feminine. The fashion house sent models out in floral midi-skirts and matching printed jackets with cropped sleeves and ruffled collars.
While best known for their summery feel, florals work in the cooler months too. Weave some horticulture into your winter wardrobe with flowery knits: Stella McCartney’s cardigans and pullovers feature long sleeves adorned with oversized floral patterns. Equally, Italian label Blumarine perfects the look with all-over botanical prints. Designer Anna Molinari makes use of asymmetrical hemlines and cropped three-quarter length sleeves to produce innovative florals you might just describe as groundbreaking.