Springtime fashion just wouldn’t be the same without a heavy injection of floral patterns. And despite the seasonally uncharacteristic check and geometrical patterns that graced the SS14 catwalks, florals are still well and truly the season’s dominant print. The collections by Oscar de la Renta, Alberta Ferretti and Christopher Kane were by far my favourite collections; all three designers employing botanical motifs but with such different effects.
Oscar de la Renta, in my opinion, is the reigning designer of feminine glamour. And his SS14 line was, of course, no exception. The show started with a palette of black, white and houndstooth print; pencil skirts, longline jackets and an emphasis on collars and oversized lapels. But the collection soon evolved into frothy dresses, pops of colour and models swathed in wild flowers.
Fitted bodices, full skirts, and in some cases, a clash of polka dots with floral prints seemed to be a nod to fifties glamour while the brocaded embellishments on some of the dresses were reminiscent of the intricacies of medieval tapestry work.
Accentuating the femininity of his floral line, Oscar de la Renta used statement necklaces and chandelier earrings in a mixture of jewelled and neon tones. Hair was pulled back into tight plaits, sometimes adorned with a single flower, further highlighting the neck lines and décolletage of each of the models. Skin was glowing; eyes bronzed and cheeks and lips tainted in peachy tones.
Christopher Kane takes us back to school with this collection; floral patterns are uniquely presented to us in diagram form, a stylish reminder of the very unglamorous days in biology class spent labelling the cross-sections of various plants.
The line varies between sheer chiffon dresses, androgynous cut suits with petal-shaped cut outs and chunky sweatshirts embossed with ‘flower’ and ‘petal’ in statement lettering.Photosynthesis and plant reproduction were the elements of Kane’s inspiration, and arguably the most eye-catching pieces were the ones that featured textbook-esque plant dissections.
Alberta Ferretti’s collection was perhaps my favourite out of the three. The line is unbelievably fresh; white mouselline, floral embellishments and coral accents. Ferretti is said to have used the South of Italy as inspiration; sunshine, sea and colour and what she calls the ‘positive energy and the joy of living’.
The collection had a base palette of black and white, heavily adorned with floral patterns and brightly coloured ribbons. There are a few pieces almost verging on neon; the colour beautifully intricated in the embellishments of other garments. In some cases the floral embroidery appeared to be embossed onto the models skin; detail that can’t help but evoke the image of Millais’ Ophelia or Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
And for those reluctant of wearing such conspicuous colours, like me, Ferretti also showcased a small range of delicate black pieces in the form of skirts, full length dresses and loose-fitting tops. Sheer mouselline, eyelash lacing, and intricate and subtle crochet detailing makes this part of the collection undeniably sensual and aching to be draped on sun-kissed skin.
Ferretti created a line for SS14 with pieces that evoke both fresh evening glamour and gypsy day-wear. Tiered skirts, crochet and florals appliquéd against black fabrics are a reminder of old Italy, the sheer white tops and short skater-skirt dresses are perfect for Summer in the city, and the floor sweeping gowns dripping with embroidered flowers could not be more perfect for Spring/Summer night time glamour.
Loose plaits allowed delicate pieces of hair to softly frame each model’s face. Pale lips, dewy skin with the lightest touch of bronze around the eyes and cheekbones seemed to be the only highlight; meaning the focus was well and truly on Ferretti’s sartorial inventions.
*For more beautiful pictures from backstage at Oscar de la Renta check out Rachel Scroggins at The Greyest Ghost.