Flowers In Fashion - By Lily's Florist

Flowers in Fashion

Ever wondered how floral-printed textile became a huge part of the fashion industry?

Who could forget the floral swing dresses of the 50s?  There are the flower power daisies of the psychedelic 60s hippie fashion, too. Flower children of the 70s sported flower crowns which are now making a comeback. The year 2015 was actually the year of shabby chic floral themes and botanic prints. Well, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t celebrate the refreshing beauty of flowers through fashion.

In fact, the natural charm of flowers influenced fashion beginning from the ancient times.  Apparently, flower fabrics originated in Asia.

Expensive Floral Silks of Japan and China

The silk kimono fabric of Japan featured chrysanthemums. Flower designs were printed using different techniques including shibori stitch-resist, e-gasuri dyeing and katazome rice paste printing.

In China, flower embroidery became the prevalent technique. Bold and bright flower designs were woven to create stunning brocades. The peony is the primarily fashion flower of choice in China. It is commonly paired with the phoenix to represent wealth and honor. Another common flower motif is the lotus flower which is a valuable symbol in Buddhism. During the Tang dynasty in China, floral silks were the fashion statement.

The Eurasian Beauty of Floral Ottoman Fabric

The Classic Ottoman fabric from Turkey that features stylized floral designs was also inspired by Chinese examples. Carnations, pomegranate fruit, and peony blossoms were the primary prints found on Ottoman textile.

Large and Bright Floral Patterns of the Luxurious Indian Chintz

The floral fabrics of India are also worth mentioning as their textiles feature ornate floral designs. The fabric chintz is a handmade printed textile used in Indian home décor. It is the chintz that bridged the gap between the east and west. Chintz-cottons were introduced to Europe in the 17th century.

Flower Power in Europe

Floral fabrics from Turkey and India were sold at very high prices and only the rich in Europe could afford them. Italian merchants were the first to bring Ottoman textile to Europe. Italian weavers, incidentally, were also the first to copy these luxurious fabrics. Dutch and British merchants exported the Chintz from India and in 1759, British textile manufacturers were able to reproduce chintzes at cheaper prices.

During the 18th century in Europe, silk brocades decorated with flowers became a popular fashion trend. Daisies, carnations and roses were the European’s choice of flowers. After the Victoria era, the sunflower bloomed in the textile industry. Sunflowers were then incorporated into fabrics and even into tiles and wallpapers.

During the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, textile production increased exponentially hence the increase of availability of machine-printed chintzes. Pieces that could only be produced by a master craftsman could now be replicated easily by a machine.  This is when women’s day dresses in chintz fabric became popular thanks to the mass-produced low-cost chintz textile.

It’s also important to note that it was only during the 19th century when European artists showed interest in using Asian floral motifs in fashion fabrics. You can see Art Nouveau style clothing in Japanese floral designs. It was only during this time, after a thousand years, that flower prints from Japan and China fully invaded the Western fashion scene.

Flower Crowns & Modern Floral and Botanic Prints

With the classic beauty of flowers, there’s no question that the floral print trend will remain a staple. At present, floral prints are now offered with a future-forward appeal. Have you seen those watercolour-like prints on light fabrics? How about dahlia flowers or peonies on black backgrounds? We’ve seen plenty of floral printed trousers and floral chiffon tops in the past year. Style stars, celebrities, and fashion bloggers were also spotted wearing flowers crowns to create that “boho-meets-edgy city” look.

Fashion designers have now found thousands of ways to incorporate flowers into our wardrobes. Flowers provide not just visual pleasure but also internal harmony. Maybe it’s because of its colour, or form, or simply because this product of nature exudes that natural grace and elegance. Some of the ladies who wore flower crowns for fashion say that such small accessory make them feel like a goddess, hence affecting their perspective of how beautiful they see themselves. It is undeniable that flowers are beautiful and us people are naturally drawn to all things pretty.

In this digital age, flower in fashion provides us the opportunity to somehow reconnect with nature too and that’s a good thing, right? So expect that clothing in floral prints and flower-themed accessories will continue to be an iconic part of fashion - from the fun and bright hibiscus blossoms on a Hawaiian shirt to the elegant floral prints of Hermes’ mulberry silk scarves.  No matter the season, the flower motif is here to stay and designers will continue to be inspired by its effortless, innate, and raw beauty.
 
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