Prints are taking over the autumn/winter 20 runways and show no sign of slowing down as the cruise and spring seasons approach.
If we know one thing about the rules of fashion, it’s that they were made to be broken. While it used to be considered the ultimate fashion faux pax to pair prints, patterns, textures or colours that don’t match, for this season and beyond, high-fashion designers are throwing the rule book out the window and embracing head-to-toe prints that will inject some fun back into our seasonal wardrobes. Designed to beat the doom and gloom that 2020 has brought to so many, a whole host of both AW20 and cruise 2021 collections have resorted to working with playful prints as a means for escape, toying with everything from feminine florals, animal prints and bohemian-inspired paisleys to tribal motifs and dizzying optical prints.
Evident on the catwalks of Miu Miu, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Giambattista Valli, to name a few, for the winter season, the trend is to match top-to-toe prints for a more fluid ensemble, including tartans, florals and retro stripes. When it comes to this season’s larger-than-life cruise collections, however, anything goes. “Rules and regulations should have no place in fashion and there should be no limits with it,” agrees Lamia Dahmash, private client stylist at Farfetch. “I’m personally a big fan of prints and I feel like this is something one should experiment with – fashion is meant to be fun and experimental, so if you want to mix prints, do it. I don’t believe in limits.”
Featuring look upon look of head-to-toe prints and mashups of two or more rolled into a single ensemble, it’s clear that clashing no longer needs to be co-ordinated, and mixing random patterns has also been given the green light for 2021. Case in point: Alessandro Michele’s looks from Gucci’s Epilogue resort 2021 collection mixed vibrant colours with funky patterns, diving into the archives to unearth Ken Scott’s botanical prints to decorate silk headscarves and suits. To some, the kaleidoscopic mixture of clashing prints and fabrics may seem discordant, yet to those in the know, these combinations were simply fabulous.
Elsewhere, Valentino had us going dotty over its little and large polka prints, while Balenciaga also got in on the act with neon shapes in colour-clashing combos. When questioned on the most popular prints for the season, Lamia points to these dynamic plaids, florals and polka dots as the styles du jour. “A pattern we saw all over AW20 and resort 21 collections was plaid, which I believe is a timeless print to invest in your wardrobe,” she tells MOJEH. “Floral prints are definitely on trend every season, appearing in lighter, more flowy silhouettes in cruise 2021 collections, and in darker, more structured styles in AW20. As for polka dots, these are by far one of the easiest trends to adapt into your wardrobe.”
Think you can’t pull off this smorgasbord of patterns? “I believe any woman can wear this trend,” enthuses Lamia. “Prints are not always crazy and daring – they can also be subtle too. The trick is not to overdo it. If you’re not used to wearing prints, pair the print with basic accessories for a more wearable approach.” As such, a nude pair of heels or a simple black leather clutch should be your go-to if you’re feeling a little too loud in your ensemble.
Be it top-to-toe, clashing, or just a little touch here or there, how you wear your prints is entirely personal, but there’s no denying the joy they can bring to your outfit during a time when spirits have never needed lifting more. “Outfit choices are made to match mood and as a form of self-expression,” concludes Lamia. “Every time I wear any kind of print, it brightens my mood and it’s a great way to spice up a plain outfit. This is the most festive time of the year, so by adding some prints into your outfit you’ll realise how quickly your mood changes.” We couldn’t agree more.
- Words by Naomi Chadderton