Flowers are part of the arsenal of cosmetics, because flowers are part of the infrastructure of nature. As one of the earth’s most bountiful expressions of symmetry, color and flowing grace, the flower will obviously play a part in the wardrobe of any fashion aficionado. The question is how and when to use it.
Famed designer Oscar de la Renta is among the most notable fashion professionals to make widespread use of the floral motif in his work. A great deal of his inspiration is captured in the book The Style, Inspiration, and Life of Oscar de la Renta, published in 2014 by Assouline. This is a must read for anyone who is looking for a unique way to incorporate flower power into a fashion sense.
Led by examples like de la Renta, flowers have become one of the most ever present motifs in all of fashion. You are likely to have at least one floral piece of clothing hanging in the closet. Again – the question is if you are using it correctly! One of the latest high fashion forays into flowers was manifested through the Tory Burch Fall/Winter 2018 Collection. Launched during New York Fashion Week, the Burch show included 14,000 pink carnations, Pina Bausch and “flower flash” video to drive the point home.
We have many examples today of how to mix floral patterns with other designs, but this was not always the case. It is always good to understand a history of how a particular motif came to be included in more mainstream fashion – knowing how it was used (and the mistakes that were made with it in the past) will help you make the right decisions about the how to use the motif today.
In fashion generations before, flowers actually held a much deeper meaning beyond their surface level aesthetic. The origin of their use in fabrics rests in Asia, where flowers are a vital part of culture as well as fashion to this day.
In Japan, the chrysanthemum was used in kimonos because of its slender, long petals. The flower radiated in the same way as the sun, and these ancient cultures began to associate the flower with the sun accordingly. It became a royal symbol as well, and eventually found its way into a number of surface design techniques.
The Chinese also made use of flowers, weaving them into detailed, colorful embroideries and textiles. The lotus flower was made famous in this way, and began to represent purity to the culture. The Ottoman culture took a great deal of inspiration from the Chinese, especially in their woven velvets. In this way, the fashion spread to other parts of the world.
Ancient cultures in India also used flowers heavily in floral designs, which they then traded to Europeans. Chintz, a bucolic print, was used in the 17th century for many aspects of early American and European fashion.
I give you all of this history to say this – flowers are among the most versatile weapons you have in your fashion arsenal. They can be used to make an arrangement more ornate or feminize a masculine outfit, depending on how they are used. As an example, wearing a floral with a denim or corduroy item gives you that perfect mix of feminine and tough that turns heads – especially if you judiciously throw some leather or suede into the mix!
Flowers are naturally geometric as well. If you are looking to add symmetry to your design that does not come across as overly robotic, a floral cosmetic or motif may be just the thing that you are looking for.
Here are some ideas on how to wear the flower prints. Enjoy and take in some flower power that you can use!
Street Style: Day Eight Paris Fashion Week – Pinterest