Monday, 11 March 2013

I Am The Spring

Boden dress styled in the first instance with a second hand hat and pair of wedge heels, and in the second with shorts from a charity shop, a necklace made by Maya, my favourite ankle boots and a Persephone book. 

What does a love of florals say about a person? Possibly nothing of great significance beyond a penchant for petals and colourful patterns. But it remains a universal symbol, worn by everyone from Grace Kelly to (apparently) the suffragettes; a print of continuing endurance – encompassing everything from the smallest of sprigs to the largest of abstract splashes.
Florals can appear passive at times – sweet, charming, out of reach of mud and grass stains. Indeed, the prevalence of roses and daisies on fifties' day dresses may suggest that they are purely the domain of the pretty. However, just as there is something in the region of 250,000 varieties of flowering plant in the world, so the floral print has more forms than one could wear in a lifetime. The bold, red splash of poppies; the embroidered intricacy of multicoloured chrysanthemums; the monochrome restraint of grey and white blossom scattered across a skirt. The realistic rubs fabrics with the outlandish. Flick through any book on vintage trends and there will be a profusion of flowers, from the imposing shapes on a thirties evening coat to the busy fabric of a Laura Ashley smock.
The interlinked history of florals and fashion may stretch back to when the first flower was tucked behind an ear, but achieved popularity in the 20th Century. As methods of printing became cheaper and more effective, the concept of leisure grew large in society – leading to a spate of tea dresses rippling with flowers during the 50s. Brands such as Horrocks are now famous for their functional floral creations, whilst designers such as Hubert de Givenchy, Cristobel Balenciaga and Christian Dior often took the structure, colour and effect of flowers as inspiration for the cut and pattern of their clothes.
At the moment the current SS13 collections are blooming, with Prada, Erdem (inevitably), Moschino, Zac Posen and the inimitable Corrie Nielsen, among others, making use of the floral motif. There’s a hardy endurance there. The love of flowers on clothing is deep-rooted, popping up as a trend every few seasons like newly sprung seedlings. Sometimes what follows is an article in a publication on the ‘perfect’ floral dress, as though there is a single, elusive one out there – hanging expectantly as it waits for a warm body to give it shape.
I’ve been lucky enough to find several. One is a vintage 70s dress cut tight to the torso and covered with rounded blue and brown flowers. Another is a 60s gold cocktail dress with blue roses stretched across the surface. A third is a black mini-dress covered in pink and orange petals, belted at the waist and flared slightly at the hem. I wore it to the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank in London on Friday to celebrate International Women’s Day. I was a feminist in a floral dress and it felt good.

But the latest floral addition is this Boden beauty, chosen to celebrate Stylist offering a £500 giveaway to one fortunate reader. It was difficult to pick from the selection of Boden dresses on offer, but from the knee length dresses this print dress (Riviera shirt dress in Steel Flower Pop) has a special resonance. It reminded me of a Brettles housecoat I became smitten with several years ago: light pink linen with deep pink, almost crimson flowers, it was the kind of item one would want to lounge around in drinking cocktails and having informal dinner parties. Perhaps this says as much about my aspirations as my preferred aesthetics, but similarly here the wide skirt, lilac cotton and shirt dress design brings with it plenty of potential. The neat pattern encourages thoughts of picnics and afternoon tea, lounging in the grass or stretching legs across the lawn on warm, summer evenings as the light fades. It is a dress of idealism, as well as a practical item to wear repeatedly once spring hits its stride. 


Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

You look wonderful in florals!
I sometimes think I should grow up and get away from girly clothes. But you are right, florals are also classic, worn by gorgeous movie stars from the past :)

AVY said...

That's a very cute dress.


Lucys Lounge said...

this dress is gorgeous. the photos and settings is great. lucyx

Helen Le Caplain said...

Gorgeous dress and, as ever, pics - you look lovely :)

Closet Fashionista said...

Ooh I love both ways you styled the dress! You made a great choice in picking that one. Clever to make it like a coat for the second look too :)
I'm not usually a fan of floral prints on myself but I'm slowly gaining a collection somehow, ha ha. It's great howmany different kinds there are too, so you don't have to look totally girly

P.S. I saw British Vogue in one of our bookstores this weekend and found your article! Woo! :D

Pamela RG said...

Very pretty floral dress. Spring is coming soon!

daisychain said...

I have a lot of love for Boden at the moment having ignored them for years. This is a stunning dress and oh so perfect on you x

Sacramento Amate said...

I love Boden. I have a skirt by them that I cannot live without, so I can just imagen how that dress mus make you feel, my gorgeous Rosalind.
You know I am all for flowers.

Asya said...

I'm really impressed with this outfit, of course in a good way! You're amazing :)

Lots of love,

vintagevixenarts said...

So happy you are The Spring Miss Roz, because it look's lovely in your neck of the wood's! The Midwest is longing for the fresh green chute's of spring,and to put away our coat's,and have some breezy,pretty springy fashion's like your's! xox

Frocktasia said...

What a fabulous frock, it looks gorgeous on you...xXx

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

Hello again :) Just stopped by to say that I just added a blog roll to Take only Memories and included your wonderful blog :) xx

LS said...

Hi Rosalind - I saw Boden re-tweet your blog link and came over to have a look. The Riviera dress looks superb on you, I haven't really given this colourway a second look. I buy and wear a lot of Boden so love seeing other bloggers take on their clothes. I'm going to try the dress-as-a-coat thing you have going on there with my a/w12 green Riviera, I'll be sure to link back here if it's successful and I post it up :-)


Marta said...

That dress is perfect! You look gorgeous. Lovely photos!


This is a soothing, and charming floral print. I am a fan of flowers in general, which is why Erdem is always a favourite.
I love your storybook-like images as well. Superb styling! :)/Madison

Vix said...

It's funny, I wouldn't have said I was much of a floral fan but I've just looked at my wardrobe and eaten my words. When I'm charity shopping I'm generally more drawn to colour and abstract patterns and often don't examine the print until I've laundered it.
That dress looks fab on you, you've changed my conception of Boden being a label for Yummy Mummies. xxx

Emalina said...

Like Vix I've always been put off by the yummy mummyishness of Boden, and there's a army of women in the West who seem to wear nothing but Boden sensible skirts, but it's clearly worth scratching the surface when there are beautiful dresses like yours on offer. It suits you beautifully, and I love those colours against the dark moody blue of the sky in your photos. Personally, I am a floralaholic, can't get enough of the prints!

The Foolish Aesthete said...

I think every girl has a floral stage sometime. Even if she also has a tomboy stage (like I did). I love the photo of you clambering on the rocks in the floral dress. That's exactly the kind of thing I wanted to combine as a kid -- intrepid activity with feminine skirts! (Maybe I just read too much Laura Ingalls Wilder back then.)

Speaking of florals, spring is a-bloom here. I took a walk and saw a huge magnolia tree pink with flowers. So I got home and pulled on some trousers with huge, fuchsia flowers on them.

By the way, I was going through the mail the other day and saw a magazine flyer from H&M. I was so thrilled to find your photo there! You've certainly become one of the most photographed bloggers out there - and for good reason. Really happy for you!

- J xxx

Willow said...

That is an absolutely delectable dress, perfect for spring and styled wonderfully in both outfits - fabulous as a dress and a coat! When I saw this post I new I must mention the shoes, those ankle boots are gorgeous, and I you've taken those simple wedges, rather mundane looking (which I'd usually not give a second glance) and then paired them with the grey tights in that ensemble. It looks wonderful.

I love floral prints, but I think I only have about two floral dresses (which I bought a while ago and are now too small for me and I don't particularly like very much.) Those floral dresses you've described sound beautiful, especially the one you wore to the International Women's Day celebration. That would have been wonderful.

Brilliant post and photos as always, I love that fourth one, you look a lot like your mum there. I hope you enjoy this spring! Looking forward to some more of your spring outfits. x

P.S. I loved your post about "Who Made Your Pants?" on Oxfam, what a brilliant company. Definitely considering buying a couple pairs in the future.

Lauren said...

This is so pure and artistic! I feel like I've spent a day at the museum pondering over genius output! You have a gift!

-Lauren at adorn la femme

t said...

Nice silhouette!

Fashionistable said...

I like the 2 looks one garment idea. Shows versatility. I never knew that florals were associated with the suffragettes. They always show them in plain colours in historical dramas. Xxxx

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