I have to admit, when the whole bohemian craze first popped back into fashion, I was reluctant to jump on the bandwagon – until I saw the Ukranian spin on the trend.
Fashion notes: Bohemian chic done the white way
Open the web browser on your phone or computer, and type in www.netaporter.com. Go to the designers’ tab, scroll down until you reach “March11” and click. Take in all of the fabulous elements, from the embroidered puff sleeves to the quirky tassel-ended ropes hanging from the necklines. These are the styles you need to invest in this season – minus the flashy, in-your-face shades.
I have to admit, when the whole bohemian craze first popped back into fashion a few seasons ago, I was reluctant to jump on the bandwagon – that is, until I saw the Ukranian spin on the trend, inspired by the traditional Vyshyvanka dress. Leandra Medine of Man Repeller and Anna Dello Russo of Vogue Japan were seen sporting dresses by the Ukranian label Vita Kin while at fashion weeks last year, and the trend blew up from there. Now, there are even cheap knock-offs available online.
While the reds, blues and other vibrant colours may appeal to some customers, the kind that captured my heart were the white designs, decorated with relatively subtle embroidery – though the clothes themselves can hardly be deemed subtle, with balloon-like sleeves and tasselled accompaniments. Seeing these beautiful pieces made me pro boho, so I’ll pass on this advice to you: embrace it – as long as you're dealing with white tones. Whether your boho attire carries influences that are Ukranian or Victorian, invest in whites, creams and light beiges. Below is an image you simply can’t turn down: the floor-length dress shown on the runway by Alberta Feretti for spring/summer. Sheer fabrics were mixed with intricately cut laces, unique necklines and feminine draping.
For more edge, look to Louis Vuitton. For its spring/summer show, the brand used ruffling techniques to add drama and charisma to crisp whites. Outfits were made street-chic with the addition of black ankle boots and masculine vests.
Because the climate is still mild right now in the Emirates, we can give our lightweight looks some extra layers. If you’re anxiously waiting for the perfect weather to wear your little white boho dress, stall no longer: pair it with soft, grey, over-the-knee socks and a debonair leather jacket, and you’re set to step outside.
Don’t buy into the bohemian trend with garish colours that you’re unlikely to wear more than once. Look for classic whites that are brought to life with a little bit of print or embroidery, and be creative with your layering.
I realise that variations on this trend can often not feel “pretty” enough. Bell sleeves, lace-up necks and earthy tones, while not masculine, aren’t the most feminine of elements either, and because of that seeming lack of femininity, it took me a while to get on board, too. But every once in a while, a designer comes along and revolutionises a look, taking its conventional air and modifying it ever so slightly so that it then exudes an entirely different attitude.
For spring/summer, we saw Etro’s usual bohemian influences on the runway. But one look in particular showed a cream-coloured eyelet dress and embellished belt that seemed to nail the whole boho vibe. The inclusion of a gold embroidered bomber jacket, lace-up ballerina flats and ribbon choker necklace had me sold. This was boho-chic meets modern ballerina, and the combination worked wonderfully.
It goes to show that with the addition of some unexpected layers and accessories, you can take any trend and give it some of your own character and personality.