Summer styles in full bloom

Summer Florals

As the fabulous Anna Wintour-inspired character Miranda Priestly sarcastically snorts in The Devil Wears Prada, “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” Yet althought the concept of flowers for Spring and Summer trends is nearly trite with symbols of rebirth, growth, renewal, blah blah blah, designers these days are finding a way to bring an unexpected twist to floral designs on the runaway, making them–dare I say it–groundbreaking. These certainly aren’t your grandmother’s florals.

Check out Ossie Clarke’s take on florals for the Spring/Summer 2009 runway show, where the floral print is large, isolated, and on a full-length, long-sleeved caftan. Even the cut of the dress is unusual for the season, yet sheer fabric and a bold indigo color pair surprisingly well with the more edgy, less delicate, mustard, chocolate, and ivory organic matter splashed insouciantly down the bottom center of the piece. But while some designers are changing the size and color of florals to refresh their look, others are adding a third dimension to provide texture and interest to the pattern oft-associated with septuagenarians. Elie Saab has attached handcrafted rosettes to many of his dresses and gowns, which are otherwise simple and classically cut. While his color palette is mostly demure–Saab draws from nontraditional pastels like muted seafoam and dusty rose–the flowers, with diameters to rival the length of a legal pad, are anything but.

To keep your posy-printed getups from looking frumpy, keep the rest of your look a bit more wild, with bright accessories or supertall or otherwise impractical shoes. Speaking of, take a look at the intricately carved wooden Italian shoes, featuring chunky heels with etched with flowers. Despite their folksy whittled appearance, these Miu Miu shoes are more fit for a after-work happy hour than the Appalachian Trail.

While a staid bun with a poufy-sleeved floral pattern is too stuffy, you can still rock the conservative yet sexy floral look: the unusual flowery peplum by New Look is not only casual enough for everyday, but also provides a reasonably priced way to get in on this hot revised trend. You could even pair it with a brightly colored cropped cardigan for a flirty fall look.

Another approach couture clothiers have taken to keep the flowers fresh? Supersaturating the colors offers a postmodern spin to an otherwise wholesome 1950s sundress. Alternatively, surprising cuts, like supershort skirts on high-cut necklines and longer sleeves or thistight bodices atop ballooning skirts are another way to take a dress from tea party to cocktail hour. Take a look at Badgley Mischka’s saucy version, a ruffled halter dress which features technicolor flowers in fuchsia, cerulean, and tangerine. Neon-white picket fence not included.

So look for these luxurious floral pieces in boutiques and high-end department stores. Far from boring, these newer styles with bolder colors, cuts, textures, and shapes are the freshest way to renew your closet.

As written for

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