Petal power is the look of summer

Floral prints are everywhere this season. But there is a skill in putting all the elements of a floral outfit together

 

4_WEBWhere better to photograph fashion’s spring foliage than among the lush floral displays in the Victorian splendour of the Dublin Flower and Fruit Market, where Duffy’s has been selling flowers and plants since 1900.

Stylist Catherine Condell joined forces with photographer Sarah Doyle to capture their colour and variety and the perennial allure of petal power in whatever form it takes. Like assembling a bouquet, there’s a skill in putting all the elements together stylishly.

It’s not necessary to know the common garden varieties from ranunculus to roses, but top fashion designers this season set the agenda with floral prints that took their inspiration from a wide horticultural spectrum from peonies and daffodils to more exotic tropical flowers such as heliconia and bird of paradise.

3_WEBCéline led the way with a romantic and sumptuous dark print of tulips and gentians, Michael Kors chose bright garden roses and daffodils and Saint Laurent techno botanics in day-glo pinks and electric blues. Others such as Dolce & Gabbana and Alexander McQueen trained their flowers over bags and other accessories.

The way to wear florals depends on the size and colour of the prints. Conventional wisdom dictates that large patterns make you look larger while smaller ones do the opposite. Modern florals and digital prints, however, tend to be bolder and more dynamic than the bland and outdated Laura Ashley sprigs and tendrils, and look best when used with restraint rather than top-to-toe as Condell shows here.

8_WEBBritish designers such as Erdem, king of the floral print, and Preen, demonstrate how dense and dark floral shirts can be offset with plain matelot trousers, or a cheeky polka dot skirt.

The Coast skirt works because the oversize print is pale and teamed with a blouse in a similar light tone.

Best of all is the sharp navy jacket, belted over a floral embroidered full floral skirt from Michael Kors. “The combination should look casual rather than contrived,” says Condell, whose quirky hats and accessories add a final springtime flourish.

Photography: Sarah Doyle, assisted by Cait Fahey. Styling: Catherine Condell, assisted by Grace Browne Model: Katie Standen Make up and hair: Zoe Clark, assisted by Aushra Lauren Shot on location at the Dublin Flower Market, Mary’s Lane, Dublin 7, with special thanks to Joseph M Duffy & Sons

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