I decided that, rather than churning out what every corner of the fashion press has already heralded with respect to the pre-fall profferings, I’d observe the trends, in the broader sense of the word from the Parisian couture shows. An indulgent tradition that consolidates fashion’s aspirational qualities into a heritage-rich legacy, I’m aware that couture isn’t what you’d automatically associate with on-trend features for distilling to high-street level. However, I did notice a recurring theme: a recurring floral theme. Sure, florals, in themselves, are nothing new as a fashion trend; the past handful of years have seen them interpreted in acid brights and oversized motifs. Charles Edward Jerningham wrote, in The Maxims of Marmaduke: “The flowers of fashion have but fickle friends; they are the freak of the moment, much prized today, the more despised tomorrow.” Permutations on types of flower and colour schemes have been explored extensively, to the point now that trends and seasons, if anything, are distinguished by the way florals are incarnated. The demure hues of the Spring 2014 florals, for example, could have plausibly heralded the wave of feminism that would take centre stage that year; rather than occupying negative spaces, the graphic nature of the palette could be interpreted as a call to recognise the fragile beauty of femininity.
And so, the scene is set for the Paris couture shows’ take on flowers. Appropriately, for an area where much media fanfare is given to the overwhelming volume of craftsmanship involved, flowers took on a three-dimensional form – not in any way resembling the Paco Rabanne-esque metallised interpretation by Miu Miu, back in 2010 but with tireless layering, opulent embellishment and texture-rich appliqué, causing flowers to burst out of the fabric or fade fluidly into swathes of chiffon. Alexis Mabille layered peonies and pansies, in embroidery and three-dimensional appliqué, onto lace and sheer fabric; Chanel’s flowers, made from opulent clusters of embellishment, emerged from geometric three-dimensional patterns and were veiled by diaphanous material; at Dior, printed PVC rain jackets and chiffon were draped over chunky floral lace and tattoo prints and at Giambattista Valli, flowers were formed from mixed appliqué on chiffon and clusters on lace.
I think I need to accept that this aesthetic assault on the senses might be a bit much to inspire any sort of viable DIY project. However, I feel I need to ‘park’ it as a thought within the wider context of inspiration. Between the graphic prints, three-dimensional embellishment and illusions through layering of fabrics, I’ve seen a few things I’d like to think I’ll see more of, even if it falls to me to make it happen.