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The Fashion Of Flowers

The perennial icons of fashion, whether literal or abstract, interpretation or inspiration, in some shape or form, florals are the evergreen trend, in perpetual bloom across runways around the globe. And, as Harrods springs into life with Pop-Up Flowers and the start of the summer season, we talked to some of our favourite designers about the power of flowers and just what it is about the natural world which captures their imaginations…

The breadth of colour and form seen in nature is truly spectacular and unique in a remarkably intelligent way. I think that is why so many designers seek to recreate the beauty and drama of the botanical world each Spring,” explains designer Roksanda Ilincic. Adored by fashion fans for her mastery of colour, powerful prints and dream-like dresses, for the designer’s personal taste in flowers, less is actually so much more: “If I could only choose to enjoy one flower,” she explains; “It would be the white hydrangea - pure and bold in its delicateness.”

A designer renowned for kaleidoscopic prints and laid-back glamour, for Matthew Williamson; “Nature is always my starting point for a collection.” He adds; “Florals are so diverse - they can be romantic and feminine or exotic and mysterious. That's why I find myself returning to them season after season as a motif." And if he were to handpick his perfect bouquet; “The more naturalistic the better,” he says, “I like bouquets which feel like they haven't been sculpted for hours on end but have a certain hand-done, rustic charm. My favourite blooms would be English roses, peonies and anemones in hot house hues."

From the high-drama and bold palettes of the tropics, to the more ethereal and bucolic side of the botanical world, a designer well-loved for her stunning floral interpretations adorned on the most-stunning of wedding and eveningwear, British designer Jenny Packham reveals; “I am often inspired by flowers – their colour, delicacy and form. This season's collection owes much to flowers and features hand sewn silk organza buds, crystal motifs and graphic oversized palm prints.” Gracing her floral arrangements at home, are, she adds: “For Spring I love blousy Austin Roses and ranunculus mixed with fresh tulips from the garden.”

And, explaining how the intricacies of the natural world inspire artisan quality and attention to detail for the season ahead at Temperley London, designer Alice Temperley reveals; “The very beautiful floral embroidery in our AW15 show was inspired by a small piece of vintage embroidery which dates from the 1920s. It was found on travels to Como, Italy last year.” The collection, she adds, features; “True investment pieces and heirlooms for the future. The work is truly artisan, ornate and wearable in easy silhouettes.”

With florals clearly running through the veins of British designers, if there’s one who seems to draw daily inspiration from the somewhat humble daffodil, it’s shoe designer Rupert Sanderson."Every Rupert Sanderson shoe is named after a daffodil,” he explains. “I realised it would be a great source of inspiration to give all my shoes names after a beautiful and infinitely varied flower,” he adds. 

But if there’s one flower that really sits at the heart of the English aesthetic, it has to be the traditional English Rose. An inspiration for designer Stella McCartney with the creation of her eponymous and iconic scent, Stella, she shares: “I grew up on an organic farm In England, garden smells were part of my childhood, particularly the old English rose. I can't walk past a rose without smelling it.”

So whether you’re a full-on floribunda fan or err on the more subtle silhouette side of the trend, take inspiration from these wildly varied designers and shop our edit of their key pieces below…

Discover all things Pop-Up Flowers and get inspired for your summer events with The Season style guide

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