A Budding Romance: Floral Designs in Fashion & Jewelry – Part 1

Springtime flowers lift the spirits, and this season, floral designs appear particularly lush and lovely, a visual delight.  The trend began in earnest with the resort collections that appeared in the fall, with the November 2011 issue of Marie Claire noting, “In an effort to stave off the coming winter, designers looked forward to an early spring. Spotted among every resort collection from Kenzo to Carolina Herrera: flower beds of mums, morning glories, peonies, and petunias.”

As the April 4, 2011 issue of People notes, the newest floral designs  are “not your grandma’s flowers: these buds are bold and graphic.” Designer Tracy Reese, interviewed by People, recommends mixing florals with “something boyish like a denim jacket.” She also suggests that chains or studded accessories also “offset the sugary, sweet look of a floral print.”

InStyle magazine, in its March 2011 issue, identifies two distinctive approaches to spring’s floral designs in fashions: “The first is floridly romantic, blossoming in profusion . . . an impressionistic view of the English countryside. The other is deeply rooted in the aestheticism of the East. Like an ebony lacquered screen inlaid with mother-of-pearl, its dark background frames stylized prints of oversize blooms.” InStyle goes on to say, “Whether they’re pretty pastels or intense  brights, florals don’t need a lot of accessories. Floppy hats, lightweight cardigans, and open-toe shoes enhance the mood of floaty garden party dresses, while vivid patterns resonate in more structured silhouettes.” InStyle does not suggest that jewelry be eliminated or even minimized; however, the magazine voices its view of the ideal jewelry designs: “skip colored gemstones, which distract the eye from the dazzling jewel tones.”

InStyle seems to stand alone in its preferred muted palette for the jewelry that accompanies floral fashions. Other magazines do not attempt to avoid color. For instance, the May 2011 issue of Harper’s Bazaar includes the stylist’s tip, “Pair your precious prints with boho-inspired jewelry and rich staples in earthy shades.” The magazine pictures a gingko leaf bracelet from Tory Burch and brightly hued pendant necklaces from Jan Michaels.

Lavish floral designs are accompanied by largely unidentified jewelry in this fashion spread in the March 2011 issue of Vogue. The John Galliano silk blouse and pants with tulle jacket are accessorized with a striking circle-link necklace that looks to have detail of bright colors. A Chanel smock dress is worn with what appears to be several chunky rings. The Louis Vuitton wrap dress with sequined belt is worn with a David Webb gold chain with a platinum, diamond and jade pendant; what appears to be a second necklace is not identified. 

The April 2011 issue of Allure concurs: “No more tiny, dainty, sweet—new floral prints go big and bold.” Along with bold floral print dresses, tops, jackets, handbags and shoes, Allure features a gold plate necklace with glass pearls and beads from Miriam Haskell and a necklace of leather, silk, crystals and velvet from On U Jewelry.

 “Not much of a girlie girl? Take a toned-down approach,” as with this large-scale Impressionist-style print on a dress from Simply Vera Vera Wang pictured in the April 2011 issue of Real Simple. The dress is accompanied with what appear to be floral earrings from Bounkit, and a geometrical ring from Marlyn Schiff.

Here’s an ad for Oscar de la Renta from the April 2011 issue of Town & Country. The large scale and eye-catching color of the earrings work beautifully with the bold floral print of the dress and matching clutch.

Adding masculine elements to a design as inherently feminine as flowers is a frequent strategy of stylists. However, if you are at heart a real girlie girl, don’t feel compelled to send conflicting signals. Here’s Ashley Judd pictured in the April 18, 2011 issue of People wearing a dress with a neckline of three-dimensional flowers along with delicate drop earrings featuring a bow motif. Notice that her dress is a solid neutral color. In this case, color tempers the sweetness of the look. 

A profusion of floral jewelry designs, much of it as colorful as the clothing styles seen above, graces the pages of magazines this spring. Many more of these lush designs follow in Part 2 of this post.

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