The Devil Wears Prada is a treasure trove of quotable lines, but one of my all-time favourites is delivered by magazine editor Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep) in a meeting to discuss the next season’s trends. Tentatively, a minion suggests florals are having a moment. “Florals? For spring?” replies Miranda, with languid sarcasm. “Groundbreaking.”
So when our shopping editor Tara Morris declared that flower prints were indeed a major new-season trend, I hesitated. But in fact, the burst of patterned pieces now online and in store are as far from a Laura Ashley chintz as it’s possible to be. Imagine a seven-year-old drawing a bunch of flowers and then colouring them in with fluoro texter, and you’ve got the idea.
“These are graphic, playful prints,” says Tara. “There’s every animal print you can imagine, and some beautiful scarf prints, and florals with a retro feel. They’re really bold and fun.”
These florals are as far from Laura Ashley chintz as it’s possible to get
Many of the prints do feel distinctly retro. Zara’s pleated skirt has a ’70s-slash-Marni vibe (in the nut brown tone that’s still lingering from last winter’s collections), while Stella McCartney’s blouse, with its fantastical dancing figures, has the vibrant pop of ’80s Hermes scarf.
These prints are attention-grabbing on their own, but one notable trend this season is to wear two or more prints in one outfit – or one garment. UK designer Mary Katrantzou pioneered this look back in the mists of time (2009) with a debut collection of artfully panelled dresses that propelled her into the spotlight. But while she has built a high-end following over the years, it has taken mid-range brands such as Scandinavian label Ganni and the UK’s Rixo to bring the look into the mainstream. Rixo and Lee Mathews in particular have cornered the market in bold prints – last year, you couldn’t set foot in a wedding without seeing at least one guest in a flowing Rixo wrap or a two-tone spliced Lee Mathews dress (if you weren’t wearing one yourself).
If you’re planning to add a patterned piece to your wardrobe – whether it’s new or picked up at your local op shop (often happy hunting grounds for prints) – Tara recommends keeping your other accessories low-key, with the exception of an earring. “A big earring in gold, silver of black would look perfect with any of these prints,” she adds.