Insider's Guide: Trompe l'oeil
The art of adding prints and patterns to clothing to create an optical illusion prevailed at last seasons catwalks. Fake perfume bottles, fake corsets and fake tuxedo prints we're spotted on everything from tights and leggings to t-shirts and chiffon dresses at everywhere from McQueen to Marc Jacobs as the catwalks rediscovered their playful side.
We asked our fashion insiders about this return to fashion taking itself less seriously:
Corina Gaffey, fashion editor of Stellar and Kiss Magazine:
Cute and quirky, this trend shows off the playful side of fashion.
Trompe l’oeil literally translates as ‘trick of the eye’ and is fun fashion at its best. This season the trend is being used in a big way by designers for creating deceptive sophistication and ironic detailing.
Whilst the look is brave, it's more wearable than first impressions might suggest, from the kitschy twists and turns at Marc by Marc Jacobs through to the more serious and sophisticated trompe l'oeil creations by the newest darling of the fashion world, Mary Katrantzou. Everyone seems to be getting in on the act.
As the look is about quirky detailing and making a real statement some of the younger celebs have taken up the trend but not everyone has caught the bug. Lilly Allen and Pixie Geldof have been spotted in the fantastic Pretty Polly suspender tights and Alexa Chung cottoned on quickly to this seasons witty Marc Jacobs creations.
If you're looking to rock the look bring in some simple, chic basics, like ading a trompe l’oeil t-shirt with some jeans. If you need glamour look for the beauty route in Chanel’s fantastic temporary trompe tattoos. This is definitely a look for the festivals, I think you'll see it everywhere this summer - especially the wellingtons.
Ever since it was pioneered by Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli in the 30's the look seems to disappear and resurface when you least expect it. Spotted on the catwalks of Victoria Beckham and Moschino for Autumn/Winter 2010 I think we'll be seeing this for a while yet, on the highstreet retailers like Karen Millen, Oasis and Accessorize have some really good pieces. My advice would be to have fun and wear it bold.
Roxanne Parker stylist:
Trompe L'oeil is perfect for adding quirkiness to your outfit. It's cute, whimsical and intelligent when it's done well. Wearing a comfortable cotton shift but giving the illusion of a structured boned corset is a great statement and trompe has been the latest look for power dressers like Beyonce and Jessica Simpson. There is more than a touch of Daliesque surrealism about this seasons newer collections and the look is that real fusion between art and fashion.
The catwalks brought us Sonia Rykiel pearl necklace T's and I loved the colourful mens waistcoats by Paul Smith, but that is the catwalk! My advice is to go slow, it might not look it, but this is anything but flippant. Pare down the accessories and let the motif do the talking.
Dark fabrics work best for the look overall. It might seem like trompe l'oeil is all about throwing it on, but it's harder than it looks and even the best dressed celebrities have gotten this mixed up - Cheryl Cole's attempt at comining a navy trompe l’oeil Givenchy dress with a pair of acid wash red jeans springs immediately to mind. Give some thought to your shape and what areas the print details will accentuate, and the trend, along with a bit of body confidence, should work for you.
With tromp l’oeil around since the 30’s and popping up time and time again I think this one has a while longer to run. If you're really looking to hunt this trend down, try Havana Boutique in Donnybrook for some iconic perfume bottle prints by Mary Katranzou, or break the bank with some playful fake shoulder tops from Philip Lim 3.1.