LOVE and WARdrobe

Flower Dressing

Fashion calls to Mother Nature as an alternative to power dressing as 3D flowers entwine through Spring/Summer 2009 catwalks.

With the rough seas of economic gloom, design houses like Chanel and Louis Vuitton decided to shelter from the crash with a survival kit consisting of shoulder pads and the two-piece suit. But not all are resorting to the fierce and sharp construction of the eighties depression-fighting armour; Thatcher may, arguably, have been female but it’s feminine florals that look set to save the world from the recession in the noughties.

As the crocuses manifest, so must a new season in the fashion world. The autumn coats fall from the trees, and we begin to unwrap from the winter wonderland of layering. Spring breeds new life; so what better to represent the season than to sprinkle garments with florals? If the last two seasons are anything to go by; it’s a winning formula. But this Spring/Summer promises a revamp as the oversized, 3D floral embellishment is the budding star of the floral-adornment world.

Chanel’s love of garmenting designs with camellias set the precedent for the fashion for florals. Flowers may sound girly and feminine; but don’t be fooled; the over-sizing simulates a dominating presence which in turn spurts a new sense of optimism. The delicate connotations of florals being overthrown by being overblown shows that the frail state of the economy too can be tackled.

Some designers even used the embellishment to disregard any fiscal issues at all; in fact, Dolce and Gabbana emblazoned ball dresses reflect the grandeur of wealth. Trench mini-dresses contrast with dramatic ball full-length gowns fit for a Queen, each studded with clusters of plastic roses. These cascade from the neckline to the hem, mirroring a vine growing up a wall. The floral necklines evoke notions of a lei, despite the muted tones of the dresses and flowers differing dramatically from the typical Hawaiian palette. The baby-tones of the cloud-blue fabric with the white and blusher pink roses reinforce the feeling of the new life that spring brings. However, the models’ hair were embossed with black floral hair slides, creating an austere thorn to an otherwise pretty motif.

Moschino adds a futuristic edge to the 3D flower with their use of block colours, sheer fabrics and bouffant hair; echoing the abstract scale of bows and flowers. Roses spring from the waistline of a mint green jumpsuit, plunging the eye line to the waist, whilst others surge down the back of a monochrome floor-length dress. Adding a twist to the embellishment, Moschino even showed a fairy-like tiered empire-line dress, using the satin of the dress to create rosettes, echoing flowers, on the shoulders. This creates a twist on the shoulder pad; using the swirl in fabric to create the illusion of a stiffened shoulder.

Jenny Packham uses the 3D flower enhancement to create a whimsical sense of romance. Renowned for wedding dresses, it’s no wonder the rose is used with its traditional connotation of love. Roses festoon the hemlines and delicate scooped necklines of the bubblegum pink delicate sheer dresses, reiterating last season’s romantic inclination.

In direct contrast to Jenny Packham’s dreamy collection, Matthew Williamson used flowers to dramatic effect, appliquéing gothic-black mini skirts and bustier dresses with sheer purple and black flowers and studded metal belts. This enables the flower to be used in a sharper manner; questioning the traditional use of the flower as a symbol of fragility.

Junya Watanabe uses the 3D flower to cultural effect by using bouquets of mixed and vibrant-coloured flowers as hats, wrapped in cherry-red gingham turbans and worn with denim tiered skirts and paisley shirts; conjuring an African feel.

Although flowers are usually used when thinking about conserving nature; it seems the designers have thrown petals in the face of adversity in the only manner we could ever wish for in such economically depressing time; beautifully, theatrically and with no expense spared.