How to wear... rose prints
The dominant motif of the season sees florals take on a dark, glamorous edge for autumn-winter. This is not a trend for wallflowers, writes Meadhbh McGrath
Summer and florals go hand in hand, but that doesn't mean you have to pack them away in September. In fact, the most prominent motif in the autumn-winter collections this year is a rose print, ensuring moody florals will dominate the shops and our wardrobes throughout the chillier months.
The main distinction between summer and winter florals is in the base colours, which tend to be lighter and brighter for warmer temperatures, and darker and deeper in the cooler seasons.
On the catwalks, designers favoured black backdrops for their prints, such as at Prada, where models sporting Wednesday Addams-style plaits showcased Frankenstein-inspired creations to an orchestral version of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance'.
There were striking rose prints on knitted midi dresses, fitted silk dresses with embroidered floral sashes and wool skirts with 3D flower details, worn with mohair jumpers, crisp button-down shirts and combat boots. Prada brought a utilitarian edge to the delicate floral, with a look that emphasised feminine power.
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So too did Simone Rocha, who explored sexuality and intimacy in a collection filled with dark romanticism and modelled by a multi-generational cast. Her closing look featured a graphic interpretation of rose prints in a bubble-hem dress and longline coat, teamed with a crystal headband.
Alexander McQueen's take on the rose print was similarly graphic, but with an abstract blurred finish: members of the design team each drew a flower, then cut up the sketches and constructed collages with the scraps to create a striking new print, which was then rendered in beautiful duchess satin dresses with sweetheart necklines, ruffled skirts or long rounded sleeves.
Anna Wintour opted for a short-sleeved version with tiers of ruffles for the 'Oscars of fashion', the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards, this summer, although she swapped the lace-up knee boots and punk jewellery from the catwalk look for a pair of sandals and her signature shades.
At the Emmys last month, Kendall Jenner wore a gown by Richard Quinn, the London designer whose parents hail from Meath and Donegal. Jenner's look, a dramatic rose print gown over a high-neck latex bodysuit, was fresh off the spring-summer catwalk, but Quinn has made the digitally printed blooms a trademark of his collections.
For autumn-winter, he proposed a subversive take on the traditional English rose, with overblown prints spilling over cape-effect coats, moody tones on party-ready puffball-sleeved minis and vibrant florals intricately beaded on to column gowns.
It makes for a fabulous and fresh vision of modern elegance, and one that requires quite a bit of daring to pull off.
The 2019 version of glam noir is particularly effective for evening, as illustrated by Lily Rose Depp at a premiere earlier this month in Chanel. The angular silhouette, with its low neckline and wrap-style shape, offers an interesting contrast with the pink florals, while the sparkling earrings bring a feminine touch.
Such juxtapositions are key to making the rose print feel now, by finding a balance between ultra-femme and something a little darker and more unexpected. Toughen up a floral skirt with an oversized knit and boots that mean business, or pair a rosy knit with masculine corduroy trousers and trainers.
If you prefer a more ladylike look, go for a pair of this season's Mary Janes and a printed dress - just make sure to choose one with a flash of blood red.