x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

It's bloom time for designers

There's no better way for women to feel feminine than with a generous helping of designer florals for spring/summer 2010.

Donna Karan's petal prints resembled graffiti.
Donna Karan's petal prints resembled graffiti.

With the sun finally making a long-awaited appearance, the seasonal transition from summer to autumn was briefly suspended as florals bloomed as prints and accessories in all their feminine glory on New York's streets and catwalks. Apparently, even September showers bring out the flowers. Pundits have argued that due to the recession, designers are hedging their bets, favouring sellable clothes rather than designing with razzmatazz whimsy and avant-garde flair. Many women love to feel feminine anyway, and there's really no better (or more classic) way to do so than with a generous helping of florals for spring/summer 2010. One need look no further than the streets to see New York suddenly bloom into a bouquet of colours and flowery embellishments.

Taste-making pretty young things paired leather jackets with flirty skirts covered in petals or vintagey dresses that evoked a timeless femininity - of particular note was the blue number that Theodora Richards wore at the opening of the Boom Boom Room party in the Standard Hotel. Kirsten Dunst also wore a dress in the same spirit at Alexander Wang's fete, which in true rebellious style was held at a petrol station. Among the bloggers who are currently causing a media sensation - both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have profiled these eager fashion beavers this week - The Glamourai's Kelly Framel has been spotted wearing a brave amalgamation of silk coats and short skirts printed with copious amounts of florals in varying sizes. She's even accessorising with chic ribbons folded like petals with luscious jewels emblazoned on them.

Rather than relying on the cliché of prettifying petals, Donna Karan, by contrast, opted for a decidedly gritty effect in her DKNY collection that's more akin to the arty graffiti found in New York's Alphabet City than a country garden. Titled City in Bloom, the collection included scribbly silver contour lines of petals on black trousers, pink outlines on easy warm weather throw-on sweater dresses, and glittery abstract versions embroidered on loose tops and cardigans, recalling items that the Golden Girls would have worn.

It's common knowledge that Karan knows how to compliment a woman's body, and in her eponymous label's outing of flattering silhouettes, she manipulated fabrics to accentuate just that. Her first look was a wrap jacket that hugs the torso, but its hem structurally resembled a gardenia. While Karan's working woman will be sated with her utterly wearable pieces come spring, members of the ladies-who-lunch set will by pleased with Lela Rose and Tuleh. Bryan Bradley for Tuleh sent pretty blouses such as white cotton tops with panels that had intricate floral cutouts, and a beige bell sleeve blouse with two rose fabric brooches perfect for those summer soirées in the Hamptons. While Lela Rose used abstract petals in neon metallic in a zippered jacket, shorts and an elegant cocktail dress.

Thakoon, on the other hand, didn't veer from the feel-good effect that flowers can have on clothes. His brand of American sportswear - an editorial favourite of US Vogue - yielded drippy blossom patchworks in green and blue and floral shift dresses with piping. These details were certainly not aesthetically groundbreaking, but the genius of Thakoon lies in his ability to make women stylistically noticeable, but not so over-designed that the wearer's personality is overshadowed.

This type of versatility explains why Michelle Obama has become a repeat wearer of his designs, a distinction Thakoon shares with Derek Lam. In his colourful outing, Lam offered up a botanical sampling of different species of flowers found in high-waisted silk skirts, dress and jacket silk sets, and sweet-looking satin numbers. Lam's accessories - such as the winsome heels with straps that knot into petal shapes and a clutch with tan leather accents - will prove irresistible pieces for ladies looking to add a dash of sweetness to their wardrobes.

Known for her whimsical take on femininity, Erin Fetherston paraded models in airy chiffon dresses with cherry blossom prints, sequinned shorts and dresses in faint pink, which were capped off by refined accessories such as chiffon gloves and white sun hats. If Fetherston designs for the girls with a whole lot of imagination, then Diane von Furstenberg, the inventor of the wrap dress, is the woman for practical chicness. She used daisies and marigolds to create a garden explosion in a series of swingy day frocks in her textural and wildly colourful bohemian collection.