Florals for summer may not sound like the most groundbreaking idea, however there are designers who raise the bar, interpreting the romance and bohemian sophistication of the season into the most alluring prints. Preen by Thornton Bregazzi combines a palette of striking colors with garden-inspired patchwork and textured embellishments. Dolce and Gabbana literally pin flowers on top of a striped dress, creating a walking inspiration board. Alexander McQueen takes center stage with a collection of old-school ballroom dresses, in which the skirt cage is draped with flowers made from tulle, paired with an exquisite, revamped gardening hat. If the idea of feminine florals and bright hues is too bold for your taste, Bottega Veneta and Chanel worked the trend with more conservative colors: blurred grays, blacks, and whites. A slightly gothic garden.
Iconic flower child Drew Barrymore is well known for staying true to character in her personal style. She chooses classic bohemian looks, and then goes a step further—adding glam rock touches such as platform sandals or a faded concert tee. Even in her current wardrobe of custom Chanel, she looks free-spirited and at ease.  Nicole Richie seems to have dibs on the maxi dressqp80p59y31NUQSOOVWNPOVRPPOU.  She says she is inspired by the relaxed fashion of the Woodstock-era with a touch of contemporary sophistication.  Kirsten Dunst wears Rodarte’s romantic prairie dresses with embellished headbands on the Cannes carpet, emanating darkly dreamy downtown cool. And always chic Diane Kruger pairs a Stella McCartney floral t-shirt with a black tuxedo vest. On these women, flowers never look ironic, just sweet AND modernist.
Flowers have a strong presence in the visual arts and literature, as well as fashion. The 1943 film, Meshes of the Afternoon, was a surrealistic, fictional short made by Maya Deren. Although fantasy-like, it hinted at the turmoil of her relationship with her husband and creative collaborator. Included are haunting, memorable images- one being a flower placed by an outstretched arm upon a winding road.  In literature, Alice Munro incorporates flowers into haunting short stories. Thoreau and Emerson used flowers as symbols in their works, equating northeastern blossoms with ethereal, transcendent gifts of nature.
Dutch artist, Judith Leyster, painted a striped Tulip specimen in 1643; pictures of tulips were regarded as cheap substitutes for the real deal, as bulbs had become undesirably expensive.  Monet created canvas-sized replicas of the pond of water lilies he grew at Giverny. Georgia O’Keeffe painted close-ups of orange and red flowers with no background distraction, so that the eye is allowed to focus on the dark centers, or hearts of the specimens.  She stated, “If I could paint the flower exactly as I see it no one would see what I see because I would paint it small like the flower is small.  So I said to myself—I’ll paint it big… and they will be surprised.” Andy Warhol found himself inspired from the daisies of the 50s to the Japanese Ikebana prints of the 70s.  His most famous series of flower paintings begun in 1964 and was based on a photograph of a hibiscus blossom, which has since been printed in different colors for the last twenty-years.  More recently, Takashi Murakami presented animated flowers mixed with manga-styled skulls in his signature ultra-flat, distorted kawaii aesthetic – smiling flowers gone hyper cute, hyper commercial. Jim Dine sketches intricate, naturalistic renditions of tulips and sunflowers, while Wes Lang draws roses with tattoos and pin-ups--creating a vision that is innocent and fetishistic.
The flowers that organically grow in nature, or the ones that we cultivate in our own homes inspire our moods, from season to season. As a gray day sunlamp alternative, plant snapdragons or English daisies to surround yourself with pops of color. Park landscapists constantly cycle floral arrangements—wintry berry bearing trees to daffodils and garden roses. We do the same in our apparel: a scarfr098drvjpn8FBD99GH8A9DEAADA blooming brightly around the neck, a field of wild flowers doubling as a skirt a touch of garden bloom on a necklacee466snrflj4B7955CD4666CE79E accents an otherwise somber assemble.  By incorporating the spirit of flora into your look, adorning oneself with blossoming beauty, nature becomes the ultimate style.
~Susan Brickell
June 2013