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Flowers from the Past

Author: Estel Vilaseca

Section: NOTES

Date: 11.2011

Flowers form the past I DressLab.com

There’s no room for doubt that flowers are the prevailing trend for next season. If I had to choose the item that best sums up this ode to petals and colours, I’d pick Christopher Kane‘s raincoat-dress {1}. With appliqué, laminated flowers distributed randomly over a soft, semi transparent, grey gauze, it’s a good summary of the work this English designer has been developing over the last few years.

For Spring/Summer last year {2}, flowers emerged from the patterns in colourful, fluorescent, leather garments that remind us of sky tablecloths from the seventies, and dresses whose details were inspired by oriental aesthetics. Six months earlier {3} he had carried out one of his most brilliant and dark collections filled with rich floral embroidery over strict mourning clothes with small touches of patent leather reminiscent of S&M aesthetics.

For Spring 2010 {4}, he brought us his first flowers, in an exercise not too far from the idea we would like two years later. A lover of the aesthetics stemming from English ladies’ housework, Kane is probably one of the most visionary current designers, capable of serving us with a compact and coherent collection with something different to say each and every new season. It seems unthinkable, or maybe just a mere anecdote, that he is one of the only designers (Alaïa would be the other) with no website.

Flowers form the past I DressLab.com

In a retrospective exercise, not entirely free of certain malice, I decided to go in search of flowers in previous seasons to this coming summer 2012. Where did the seed of this trend lie? Is it a one-off event or are flowers a recurring theme? Are trends cyclical, less persistent than we thought? So with patience and curiosity I set about exploring.

The first season I came across was the one we are wearing, and that even though our minds are elsewhere, is now on sale in the shops – Autumn/Winter 2011-2012. Among the flowery propositions from Paul Smith, Jonathan Saunders, or Miu Miu, we can highlight Erdem‘s picturesque flowers {1} …and the thing is flowers aren’t just a trend for this English brand, but its DNA.

The Canadian designer Erdem Moralioglu has picked them as a recurring theme in six of his last collections, and though it might seem impossible, has not bored us yet. Inspired in Liberty’s English tradition and the richness of impressionist painters such as Monet, Erdem filled the catwalk with flowers in Spring/Summer 2011 {2}, in Spring/Summer 2010 {3}, in Autumn/Winter 2009 {4}, in Spring/Summer 2009 {5} and in Autumn/Winter 2008 {6}. In Spring/Summer 2008 flowers don’t deserve to be picked out, and you can really appreciate a ‘before and after’ from that Autumn/Winter 2008 of long dresses that look like canvases.

Flowers from the past I DressLab.com

Oddly enough it’s at Spring/Summer 2008 where my flower and fashion seeking adventure came to an end. There I found one of the most beautiful collections that ever walked along Balenciaga‘s catwalk {8}. And the very Nicolas Ghesquière states to that effect on Style.com: “ I’m exploring a new territory, with references of the house. (…). I had done prints before, but I had never turned to flowers”, so Ghesquière exploited floral prints to their maximum over voluminous silhouettes reminding us of American football players’ protection. And it’s from that moment on that flowers began to be considered as an interesting source of inspiration again.

In Autumn/Winter 2009 {7} Prada brought them to mind in a collection full of floral lace, which would also set trends throughout the coming seasons. In Spring/Summer 2009 we are drawn to the Japanese-inspired floral prints from Basso&Broke {6} and in Autumn/Winter 2009-2010 Dries Van Noten {5} gave us a fragmented version in black and white of a dress we would see mutate across consecutive seasons. In Summer 2010, Takoon {4} marked one of their best collections and in Winter 2010-2011 Rodarte {3} presented us a delicious corpse bride wrapped in dried roses. This summer just gone Raf Simmons sent a single pattern down the catwalk for Jil Sander {2} filled with colour blocks. This winter, Akris catches our eye {1} with a blown-up and hyper-realist version of an orchid.

 

Text_ Estel Vilaseca

 

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