Dark florals, a key trend taking root for for SS14: Prada, Dries Van Noten, AMI, House of Hackney,
Not all fashion trends make it from designer’s studio to shop rail, but dark florals will be blooming this summer, bringing a touch of art history to sportswear.
Last summer I noted the rise of dark florals as a menswear theme for this coming spring/summer, and now the look is taking root in men’s stores, from high-end designer to the high street. At Prada the style is a dark take on the tropical foliage associated with the Hawaiian shirt, a kind of aloha noir, while the botanical prints of Parisian label Ami are straight out of exquisitely illustrated horticultural books. Closer to home, London-based House of Hackney offer prints that are equally lush, especially as seen in their actual flower-shop fronted east London outlet.
High-street brand River Island has also produced its own take on the aloha noir feel and the current range includes prints verging on floral tapestry. For the most refined take of all, take a look at Dries Van Noten’s current collection featuring overdyed flower prints, the rococo details pointing to research for his upcoming career retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
What makes this direction different from the all-over digital print trend that has only just receded? Well, in the best examples, a certain sombreness of tone in the prints themselves. There is nothing cheerful or brash about these flowers. Think painterly blooms full of brooding detail reminiscent of Flemish masters such as Jan Brueghel the Elder, rather than the neat, small-scale prints of traditional men’s summer shirts. It is as if in a post-Goldfinch world, the desire to wear clothing celebrating decorative art history suddenly makes sense.
Something else saving you from looking like you’re wearing chintz curtains is that the trend is being fused with sportswear – sweatshirts in particular, where details such as ribbing on cuffs and waistbands offsets the floweriness, reining it in to something more wearable. Yes, a big floral print makes a bold statement, but when framed in an easy-going, familiar shape such as a sweatshirt, bomber jacket or simple T-shirt it is made less challenging, especially when presented with plain contrast sleeves or finishing. It is infinitely more modern than that English summer party staple, the floral shirt, and is a more streamlined alternative to the classic Hawaiian. There is a long history of men wearing flowers and horticultural prints, and this is a refreshing update on that story.
All images supplied by the brands below, except Prada and Dries van Noten courtesy of Style.com.