Fashion & Style: Flower Power ; in Spring, Fashion Designers Naturally Turn to All Things Floral. but This Year's Crop Is Not for Shrinking Violets, Writes Susannah Frankel
Frankel, Susannah, The Independent (London, England)
Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons loves the dense carpets of vibrantly coloured flowers in London's parks at this time of year. Although her label is not famous for such apparently light-hearted concerns, the designer claims always to have liked "strong flowers", as she puts it. She does prefer more long-lived trees, however. Unsurprisingly, this season's Comme des Garcons floral print is more special than most: a thoroughly modern take, if you will, on a time- honoured theme.
"I wanted to get a depth to it," Kawakubo explains, "so there are three completely different prints, layered one on top of the other, creating an effect almost like a shadow." The end result, executed on an inkjet printer, is unusually vivid - there are more than 30 colours in one garment - and hugely time-consuming to produce. "There was a picture of flowers. A painting of flowers. And a picture of jewellery," Kawakubo says. Embellishment treated in unorthodox ways is, once again, an integral part of the story.
Alexander McQueen's approach to florals was equally laborious. The faded William Morris-inspired poppy print that features in his current collection started life as a watercolour, if you please, lovingly painted in his Islington studio. It was perhaps most memorable peeping out from beneath a tarnished silver sequin overlay - a brilliantly potent symbol of faded grandeur if ever there was one. Elsewhere, this designer came up with patchwork flowers, crafted in tiny pieces of gingham and lace, which lent a romantic make-do-and-mend quality to the whole that seems relevant just now.
Of course, fashion's love affair with all things floral is nothing new: waxy orchids, rambling roses, fragrant honeysuckle and sunny marigolds are all gorgeous symbols of vitality for designers. Small wonder, then, that they have long embellished feminine and, indeed, masculine dress. More than a few of fashion's big names are by now associated with a single flower. Christian Dior's bloom of choice was lily of the valley - he once devoted an entire collection to the flower. Diorissimo is a fragrant tribute to its late namesake's preference. Coco Chanel famously favoured the white camellia, and Karl Lagerfeld continues to reference that particular flower each and every season. For spring/summer, it was splashed in sacrilegious fuchsia across ruffled dresses, camisoles, tiny …
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Publication information: Article title: Fashion & Style: Flower Power ; in Spring, Fashion Designers Naturally Turn to All Things Floral. but This Year's Crop Is Not for Shrinking Violets, Writes Susannah Frankel. Contributors: Frankel, Susannah - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: May 6, 2004. Page number: 12. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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