With petals aplenty and bouquets galore, the autumn/winter 2012 collections were a-bloom with darkly romantic florals that were at once powerfully feminine and yet also felt very new.
What’s new about florals, you say? Well, they’re traditionally the go-to print for spring and summer collections, when flowers seem more appropriate to the eye. This season, though, designers have said ‘to hell with appropriate’ and given us collections that are positively in bloom.
At Erdem, where florals are never really off the agenda, the designer gave us hothouse hues of fuchsia and violet, growing over neat shift dresses. There were vines and creepers that grew over frocks with matching jackets, and petal-strewn shoes to match. Floral-print blouses were worn over skivvies in the same pattern and tucked-in to matching pencil skirts. His show was a veritable botanical riot.
Dolce & Gabbana put a home-spun twist on the look, with a riff on traditional Sicilian embroidery (Sicily is a frequent source of inspiration for the duo), that came with needle-work roses applied over black or white lace. There, too, shoes were given a dose of petal power. And little lace socks had more roses embroidered on them.
There were posies at both Bottega Veneta and McQ. Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta presented his in velvet devoré and toughened up the look with over-the-elbow black leather gloves. This same styling device was employed by Sarah Burton at the first ever McQ catwalk show in London, where the gloves accompanied nipped-in-at-the-waist dresses that were covered in tight clusters of bright blossoms appliquéd on black tulle.
On gloves: Christopher Bailey at Burberry added studded versions to his floral creations, and styled the ensembles with ribbed woollen tights and lace-up ankle boots.
So, how to make such a summery motif look right in the colder months?
Knee-high boots are big news again this autumn, and they look especially sharp when worn with a pencil skirt that reaches just below the top of the boots, as seen at Yves Saint Laurent, where Stefano Pilati took a darker stance on the trend, with funereal calla lillies embossed on to black leather.
Christophe Lemaire, at Hermes, paired floral tights with a contrasting floral dress for an all-over garden party. Meanwhile Alice Temperley put her girls in sheer black tights and black ankle boots; the lower denier making for a gentler effect than opaques.
Go all-out with head-to-toe blooms like they did at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, or just dip your toe into the garden bed with flowers on your shoes, handbag, or jewellery. After all, some people are allergic to pollen.