Fashion: Flower power!

Updated on Jul 30, 2022 12:14 PM IST
Floral prints may keep evolving but they will never go out of fashion. Here are some fun ways to style it
It is believed that floral prints originated in eastern countries and then travelled to the western world; Styling by Tanya Aggarwal; Art direction: Amit Malik; Make-up by Rekha Das; Hair by Rahul; Models: Abha and Jhanvi (Purple Thoughts Modelling Agency); On Jhanvi (left): Dress by Ritu Kumar; Cape by Yavi; Shoes by H&M; Earrings by Street Style Store; On Abha: Jumpsuit by House of Fett; Shirt by Yavi; Earrings by Amama (Vidushi Gupta)
It is believed that floral prints originated in eastern countries and then travelled to the western world; Styling by Tanya Aggarwal; Art direction: Amit Malik; Make-up by Rekha Das; Hair by Rahul; Models: Abha and Jhanvi (Purple Thoughts Modelling Agency); On Jhanvi (left): Dress by Ritu Kumar; Cape by Yavi; Shoes by H&M; Earrings by Street Style Store; On Abha: Jumpsuit by House of Fett; Shirt by Yavi; Earrings by Amama (Vidushi Gupta)
ByApla Shrivastava

Whether daisy prints on a summer dress, busy chintz or delicate Chinese peonies on a swishy skirt, floral prints have their own visual language. According to fashion designer Shahin Mannan, they give coded messages about the wearer’s traditions, cultural origin and spiritual beliefs.

It is believed that floral prints originated in eastern countries and then travelled to the western world. Peonies were the first documented flower that adorned Chinese silk textiles representing wealth and honour. The Japanese loved embellishing their kimonos by printing or embroidering chrysanthemums or cherry blossoms on them. “Indian signature print chintz originated in the 16th century on the Coromandel Coast. Kalamkari artists’ chintz were shipped to the West, and now it is called European chintz,” states fashion designer Karan Torani.

Floral prints sure have travelled a long way, even finding mention in pop culture—who can forget the iconic Miranda Priestly asking, “Florals? For spring? Grounbreaking.” Luckily, these eight looks would pass even Miranda’s critical checks. Read on to find out how you can easily add some flower power to your wardrobe without looking “too girly” and bloom this season!

Japanese cherry blossoms

The best way to wear this print is in a matching set or with bright block colours; Jumpsuit by Faballey; Jacket by Forever New; Earrings and ring by Amama; Shoes by Zara (Vidushi Gupta)
The best way to wear this print is in a matching set or with bright block colours; Jumpsuit by Faballey; Jacket by Forever New; Earrings and ring by Amama; Shoes by Zara (Vidushi Gupta)

A prominent feature of the woodblock prints of Japanese artists reached the fashion industry when Monsieur Dior, in 1953, designed the Jardin Japonais collection. The iconic Japanese blooming cherry blossom flower represents beauty and life, and death.

Make it your own

1. Jumpsuits are, without a doubt, a statement piece. Pick a casual jumpsuit with cherry-blossom prints that is relaxed and comfortable.

2. Layering can give the outfit a new dimension. Experiment with blazers or shrugs.

3. Accessories create a secondary focus point in this look, so stick to the simple.

Designer’s take

Meghna Goyal.
Meghna Goyal.

“Graphic or bold botanical florals are taking over right now—large-scale, ’70s-inspired florals in bright, bold colours. The best way to wear this print is in a matching set. You can also wear this print with bright block colours, which is a huge trend,” says fashion designer Meghna Goyal.

Dainty daisies from Europe

Styling print-on-print ensembles enables bold mixing of colours and patterns; Crop-top and pants set by Nautanky; Shorts by Marks & Spencer; Shoes by Charles and Keith; Earrings by Street Style Store (Vidushi Gupta)
Styling print-on-print ensembles enables bold mixing of colours and patterns; Crop-top and pants set by Nautanky; Shorts by Marks & Spencer; Shoes by Charles and Keith; Earrings by Street Style Store (Vidushi Gupta)

Shakespeare’s metaphor to describe Ophelia’s purity in Hamlet was the daisy, thus making these synonymous with a pure, wholesome quality. Most silk brocades in the 18th century Europe used daisy motifs, but legendary fabric artist William Morris revolutionised the daisy prints.

Make it your own

This was the first Morris & Co. wallpaper pattern put into production in 1864
This was the first Morris & Co. wallpaper pattern put into production in 1864

1. Make a bold statement. Try different floral patterns like daisies or even lotuses.

2. Break the monotony with solid blue denim shorts or a skirt over it.

3. Match your stilettos to your shorts to finish the look.

Designer’s take

Shivan & Narresh
Shivan & Narresh

“With the onset of maximalism in dressing, we see eccentric prints finding their way into every wardrobe. Styling print-on-print ensembles enables bold mixing of colours and patterns, giving the audience a neo-contemporary blend reflective of true modern India,” says fashion designer duo Shivan & Narresh.

The wearable Van Goghs

Have one solid colour binding the look. This colour also needs to reflect in the garment and accessories; Dress by Forever New; Shirt by Nautanky; Shoes by Charles and Keith; Earrings by Street Style Store (Vidushi Gupta)
Have one solid colour binding the look. This colour also needs to reflect in the garment and accessories; Dress by Forever New; Shirt by Nautanky; Shoes by Charles and Keith; Earrings by Street Style Store (Vidushi Gupta)

Rodarte’s The Wearable Van Goghs collection brought the sunflower print into fashion in 2012; Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall Winter 2022 has made this fashionable sunflower print mandatory in every fashionista’s wardrobe.

Make it your own

Shraddha Kapoor wore a D&G sunflower dress to promote her movie on The Kapil Sharma Show
Shraddha Kapoor wore a D&G sunflower dress to promote her movie on The Kapil Sharma Show

1. Layer your sunflower shirt under a solid sheath dress.

2. Complement the look with the season’s favourite platform sandals, preferably with a matching print.

3. Glam up the look with bold floral earrings.

Designer’s take

Pallavi Singhee
Pallavi Singhee

“The most effective way to wear prints together is to have one solid colour as the predominant colour binding the look. This colour needs to reflect in the garment and accessories. Also, introducing that solid, predominant colour helps the look come together,” advises fashion designer Pallavi Singhee.

The Opulent poppy print

This gives the indian audience the ease to try western silhouettes with ease; Cape, long shirt and pants by Pero; Shorts by Marks & Spencer; Wedges by Melissa; Earrings by Soulful by Percy Visaria (Vidushi Gupta)
This gives the indian audience the ease to try western silhouettes with ease; Cape, long shirt and pants by Pero; Shorts by Marks & Spencer; Wedges by Melissa; Earrings by Soulful by Percy Visaria (Vidushi Gupta)

The stylised version of the opium poppy flower is often seen in Mughal art, particularly during Emperor Jehangir’s reign. The versions of the poppy flower appear on Kashmiri shawls, on carpets, embroidered and block printed on apparel, and of course, famously on the walls of the gorgeous Taj Mahal. 

Make it your own

1. Sport an oversized long coat in florals, plaids, patterns or an engineered print with plaid patterns along with trousers and a short kurti.

2. Step out of your comfort zone and mix the two bold tones—red and pink—together. 

3. Monsoon slippers with this look will instantly make you a (practical) monsoon diva.

Designer’s take

“We can see the lines blurring between Indian and western silhouettes, giving the Indian audience the ease to try western styles with equal comfort,” says fashion designer duo Shivan & Narresh.

The Indian-Egyptian Lotus

This works for persons who are a little larger because it diverts attention away from problematic areas; Dress by Marks & Spencer; Jacket by Shahin Manan; Shoes by Fila; Earrings by Shein (stylist’s own) (Vidushi Gupta)
This works for persons who are a little larger because it diverts attention away from problematic areas; Dress by Marks & Spencer; Jacket by Shahin Manan; Shoes by Fila; Earrings by Shein (stylist’s own) (Vidushi Gupta)

The lotus and its bud motif can be seen in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and, closer to home, the lotus is considered almost divine. Most famous Indian textiles like Kantha, Kasuti, Chamba Rumals, Picchvai, Gujarati embroidery, and woven textiles like Ikat and Paithani, employ the lotus as their central motif, full of spiritual meaning and significance.

Make it your own

1. Take inspiration from fashion designers Christian Dior or Rodarte Capucci, who have recreated the lotus in dress form or check out Indian designer Rohit Bal’s lotus-inspired masterpieces.

2. Layer your athleisure outfit with this statement cape.

3. Complete the look with any sporty footwear of your choice.

Designer’s take

Karan Torani
Karan Torani

“Dramatic placement of a print employing an Indian floral pattern, such as a bold lotus rose or hibiscus, works effectively for persons who are a little larger because it diverts attention away from any problematic areas,” explains fashion designer Karan Torani.

American sunflowers

Fall-Winter 2022 will see many florals in shades of pink; Top and pants set by Shahin Manan; Jacket draped as skirt by Yavi; Shoes by Rosso Brunello; Earrings by Street Style Store (Vidushi Gupta)
Fall-Winter 2022 will see many florals in shades of pink; Top and pants set by Shahin Manan; Jacket draped as skirt by Yavi; Shoes by Rosso Brunello; Earrings by Street Style Store (Vidushi Gupta)

The intelligent Inca tribe from America made sunflowers the symbol of their God, but sunflowers rose to artistic status in Oscar Wilde’s aesthetic movement. Then came the sunflower as a motif in decorative art. Eventually, Van Gogh imparted new heights of meaning and popularity with his series of sunflower paintings. 

Make it your own

1. If you love pants and skirts, try them together. Try to pull it off with a dress—or a skirt—over the pants.

2. The design principles to follow are smart layering, playing with textures, and paying extra attention to colour palettes and prints.

3. This is a bit offbeat; balance it with regular jewellery and footwear.

Designer’s take

Nikita Tandon
Nikita Tandon

“Fall-Winter 2022 will see many florals in shades of pink. The prints will be in a less conventional, gutsier colour palette. Silhouette trend could be high-waist skirts, wide-leg pants and maxi dresses with fringes,” predicts fashion designer Nikita Tandon.

Indienne Toile peinte befriends Victorian roses 

Intricate designs, abstract tribal nuances or ethnic motifs on Indian drapes, always make bold statements; On Jhanvi (left):Saree by Shanti Banaras; Shoes by Rosso Brunello; Earrings and bracelet by Amama; On Abha: Saree by Archana Jaju; Shoes by Rosso Brunello; Earrings by Amama (Vidushi Gupta)
Intricate designs, abstract tribal nuances or ethnic motifs on Indian drapes, always make bold statements; On Jhanvi (left):Saree by Shanti Banaras; Shoes by Rosso Brunello; Earrings and bracelet by Amama; On Abha: Saree by Archana Jaju; Shoes by Rosso Brunello; Earrings by Amama (Vidushi Gupta)

‘Indienne toile peinte’ is the French term for Indian fabric with hand-painted floral prints, where the flowers and leaves come in many variations—stylised and imaginary—inspired by the Indian flora. 

Traditionally roses symbolised purity and innocence in young women.

Deepika Padukone wore pink and red roses in Sabyasachi’s Dil-Guldasta lehenga as one of her wedding outfits
Deepika Padukone wore pink and red roses in Sabyasachi’s Dil-Guldasta lehenga as one of her wedding outfits

Make it your own

1. Flaunt your curves in a classic Nivi drape. 

2. Wear it with a halter neck or deep, sleeveless blouse. The choice of blouse plays a pivotal role in this look. 

3. Be minimal with your jewellery. Let the print speak volumes.

Designer’s take

“Sarees have traditionally been associated with sophistication and sensuality. Whether intricate designs, abstract tribal nuances or ethnic motifs on Indian drapes, it evokes cultural nostalgia and makes a bold statement,” muses fashion designer Karan Torani.

From HT Brunch, July 30, 2022

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