versus daffodils, heartsease and phlox. Think orchids versus sweet peas. Little Shop of Horrors versus a traditional English country garden. I am talking about flowers that thrive in hot, humid climes; flowers that attract spectacularly large insects, in bright, faintly grotesque color combinations. Punchy and proud, not namby-pamby and meek.
For Power Print inspiration, look to Kate Bosworth. Now there is someone who can clash a tropical print with aplomb. Ditto Diane Kruger and Dree Hemingway – blond hair, blue eyes and a dash of preppiness are great counterpoints for this look. Having said that, exotic brunette beauties such as Vogue Australia’s Christine Centenera and DJ Leigh Lezark were also made for botanicals.
If you are the sort who can carry off a Bermuda short (and not everyone is), Marc Jacobs designed the perfect low-slung pair, printed with a leafy black and white floral, which I would wear with a silk Equipment shirt and a delicate
black heel. Or try Jonathan Saunders’ burgundy and navy pair – rather fabulous in my opinion.
In that vein, culottes are another chic way to showcase Power Prints. The lush green and white patterned pair by Mother of Pearl, ex-surfer-girl Maia Norman’s label, was inspired by the artist Mat Collishaw’s vivid Insecticide photographs. If the sound of all this color-clashing is scaring you, remember: the Power Print also works well in monochrome. A safe risk, if you will. There are certain designers who have always encouraged head-to-toe, just-the-right-side-of-flashy Power Prints, Etro and Dolce & Gabbana being the masters. Note how they work with classic shapes, letting the prints take all the risks.
If I am going to carry off Power
“Not DITSY sprigs: SS14 is about big, BOLD tropical prints, a bit like an ALOHA shirt”
Prints, I need to err on the side of caution. How? Via a super-flattering pencil skirt. (Though if I had the sort of derrière that looks fabulous in tailored pants, that is what I would go for first.) My favorite is by Oscar de la Renta – a striking black and white style that hits below the knee and will work beautifully with a white T-shirt and Birkenstocks or pool slides, which are now perfectly acceptable to wear for evening, thank goodness.
There is also a super-stylish one by Marni (in midnight blue and white – do you sense a theme?) that I can see myself wearing with the aforementioned silk shirt from Equipment and a pair of diamond hoops from Diane Kordas.
Of course, if you are going to go all out with your print, it is probably best to play it down on the accessories front. If my £400 worth of tulips are all white, for instance, there will be 50 different flavors of jelly bean in the bowl. If the tulips are multi-colored, it will be vanilla, coconut and cream soda all the way. Taste is all about balance, after all.
Sleek, clean-cut pieces will keep florals in focus.
Big botanical motifs make a strong style statement.
Board shorts are evening appropriate with sleek sandals.