How to Blend in This Spring: Our Favourite Floral Fashion

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Artwork by Noni Braithwaite

From Gucci's chintzy wallpapers to Prada's diner oilcloths, we examine the inspirations behind the best prints on offer for S/S17

There’s an unusal modern phenomenon which enshrouds the onset of spring; where once upon a time you could happen upon a heaving branch of wisteria and simply stop to take a sniff, or, stood at the bus stop, a shower of cherry blossom petals might inject a bounce into your step, today these occasions simply cannot go undocumented. This year you’ll likely have witnessed more blossom on your Instagram feed than IRL. Such a communal celebration of natural beauty should hardly be downtrodden by social media snobbery, however – and this sentiment is shared with many in the fashion world. As if to preface our newest fixation, designers offered an array of overblown, clashing and repeat florals for S/S17. We’ve drawn together a little list of those that will lift spirits this season.  

Demna Gvasalia’s designs for Balenciaga never cease to unravel one’s expectations. Here, his natty floral print, reminiscent of nanny’s curtains, is left somewhat unhinged by an effervescent application of acid bright hues. With pleats from the neck down, this glowing gown fits the current Balenciaga shape code: either swampingly oversized, or achingly skintight. Of course the former applies here – but don’t forget the lurid spandex boots, bringing garish granny prints into fetishwear territory, making them all the more desirable in the age of the good taste/bad taste dance.

Clare Waight Keller’s trademark romantic summer dressing took a turn for the retro at Chloé S/S17. Nodding to well-worn bedsheets of the 70s variety, these cumbersome swathes of cotton enable that seductive play between sensual skin-flashing and covering up. Floral they are, but saccharine they are not – this brand of bohemia comes complete with flowing sailor pants and crisp cottons.    

Boys can wear kitschy wallpaper flowers too, especially deep in the corners of Alessandro Michele’s pink, velvet banquette-lined nightclub. Anything goes Chez Michele – not least foil curtain tiered gowns, silk baseball suits and fur coats emblazoned with Black Metal typography. This pleated satin dresscoat is positively conservative: the perfect backdrop for a painterly yellow rose repeat, and is best worn to tea at your great aunt’s. With any luck you’ll disappear into the plastic-coated sofa and can take a disco nap.    

Belying her penchant for 60s and 70s florals ripe from an American diner oilcloth, Mrs Prada employed her favourite clunky floral to off-key Brady Bunch effect. In breezily elegant silhouettes, with high cheongsam necks and floating marabou trims, this commonplace daisy takes on an altogether new meaning when built in to Mrs Prada’s trademark mode of ugly chic: that which never fails to appear modern and beautiful.

Simone Rocha
A lopsided patchwork of floral embroidered mesh, this dress comes by way of a sighting of a Jackie Nickerson photograph. From a series on agricultural workers in Africa, the inspirational picture in question features a person swaddled in plastic, stood in a field afoot a loose pink blossom tree. Consequently, Simone Rocha explored this visual clash of the manmade and the natural for S/S17. The results were a punky, plastic-edged slant on spring florals, perfect for those with a penchant for petals but an allergy to syrupy sweetness.