‘There’s a new wave of florals: funked-up, full-of-attitude dresses that are the kind of thing a surfer babe might sling on to knock back a martini, or three’
We all know about the floral tea dress. But what about the floral martini dress? Once upon a time, the floral print was the mild-mannered lapsang drinker of fashion, used mainly on dresses designed for that purpose. Wearers of said dresses were the kind of women whose idea of cutting loose was a second slice of battenberg.
Well, this season there’s a new wave of florals: funked-up, full-of-attitude dresses that are the kind of thing a surfer babe might sling on to knock back a martini, or three. The prints tend towards the tropical, and the colours are hot, hot, hot. Think Hawaii rather than Hidcote, not surprisingly. Think surfer shorts transmogrified into something very chic indeed. (Now that is surprising.)
On the catwalk at Marni, epic yellow blooms and green foliage were scattered over dresses and separates (the cream Capucine dress is £910 and a blue skirt version £540; matchesfashion.com). But it was London Fashion Week that proved the most fertile ground. We are a nation of garden lovers, after all. Not that the fabulous chiffon mash-ups of flowers and straight lines at Preen by Thornton & Bregazzi looked like any English garden I have ever seen. (The Sachin skirt is £905 from net-a-porter.com.)
Erdem, who made his name with a singular reinvention of all that blooms, delivered his most urban jungle ever this season. His collared stretch-crepe dress offsets the curvaceousness and colour of flowers with a modern geometric edge (£1,035; net-a-porter.com).
My favourite new florals on the high street are from Anthropologie. The Verna mididress is particularly of the moment, with its mix of red and pink poppies with black and white stripes (£138; anthropologie.com). The Kamala features a handful of giant blue orchids on white (£148), and the full-skirted Brasilia, which contrasts a large, brushstroke-y floral rendered in coral and blue, is just plain lovely (£158).
If the full-on herbaceous border approach is a bit too much, take a leaf out of the model Sasha Luss’s book and wear a colourful flowery scarf with a plain outfit. There’s a Pierre Hardy stunner reduced to £168 on thecorner.com, and French Connection has a pretty one for £40 (frenchconnection.com).
I will be investing in a gorgeous Armani Jeans cream cardigan which boasts not just flora but fauna, in the form of hummingbirds (£215; flannels.com). Now, where’s that martini?