((Fashion feature for The Sunday Times Style supplement))
((HEADER)) A Year of Romance
2019 was a year for romance and over the top fashion. Searches for floral dresses, fluffy tulle pieces, pearl hair slides and those ridiculous micro bags that could barely fit a lipstick in increased this spring/summer. This act of playing with proportions was a global hit and the search for that perfectly mini handbag increased by 50% over summer. The question is why were these dreamy, romantic pieces such a favourite, and continue to be, in an age where the height of romance is a couple of uncomfortable exchanges with a travelling millennial over Tinder, looking for some fun in the capital for a couple of weeks.
Floral looks are not something new, think 70’s peace-lovin’ hippies in folksy paisley prints or your Nans curtains which are probably circa a similar era- whatever, these flower power looks made a resurgence this year. At Louis Vuitton, creative director Nicolas Ghesquière kicked it off with a line of flourishing floral looks- including a pair of dungarees (another 70s winner) plastered with a washed-out peachy print of roses set against a silvery backdrop. The look sounds a lot girlier than it looked, Ghesquière paired the structured silhouette with a Joan of Arc-esque top, perfect to fight against that rush hour army of office workers, and a pair of black lace-up boots, giving the look an overall result of more punk than pleasantly pretty. So, it’s all about juxtaposition- much like Tinder, a dating site where the majority aren’t on there for that romantic happily ever after we are supposedly meant to be after. Contrastingly, some designers are still holding onto this idea of happily ever after, seeking and trying at tug our heart strings by producing uber-feminine pieces. Pierpaolo Piccioli’s bloomy vision at Valentino championed floaty silhouettes with maximised florals in block colour shades. These dresses may be the stuff of prom dreams but they also have a retro feel and echo those spring/summers of the 70s all the way through to the 90s. Thrift stores and vintage shops are your best friend when it comes to finding the perfect floral piece, just tread carefully on how you style these pieces up, it’s all about finding the balance- you don’t want to look like a Disney princess look-alike that we’ve all snapped a picture with as a child, right? Take inspiration from influencers and bloggers like Molly McFarlane and Lucy Kummer who have nailed the epitome of modern romance, pairing pieces with trainers or calf boots that give these floral looks a fresh lease of life.
It was love at first site when Kendall Jenner rocked up to Cannes in that monstrous, bubble gum pink tulle gown and we all wanted a slice of that fluffy tulle pie of dreams. This iconic dress was from Giambattista Valli’s collaboration with H&M, which sold out in hours. The site crashed within the first few minutes of its launch, due to the high influx of traffic, leaving shoppers furious- so other designers and stores were left with the task of producing something similar to the likes of the Giambattista Valli collaboration with H&M in order to fulfil this love affair we all had with tulle. Instagram explore was awash with tulle midi skirts in blush tones and they were coupled with grungy leather jackets and chunky boots- again establishing that balance, nothing too mushy here please. It was Instagram stores though that seemed to be playing cupid when it came to producing that perfect tulle piece, the likes of Lily Lulu Fashion, the brand behind those tulle midi skirts literally every influencer and blogger had a fling with, and That’s Sew Maisie who produces all her own tulle creations. Speaking to Maisie, she agreed that tulle looks are “harder to find on the high-street” and the tulle pieces that are “don’t have the fuller look” that she thinks you should look for when picking a tulle garment, interestingly Maisie told us that she thinks “more is more. It’s the time to be camp and fun. Like a costume!”.
This was your cheapest date of all- the pearl hair slide. Pearl hair clips are that bæ that just won’t leave you alone. They were and remain everywhere, there was no way you could avoid the trend and bonus: they are easy to style- it doesn’t take a genius to clip a slide in. They immediately dress up any look and automatically make it look like that tousled updo took you ages to do. If you fancy a splurge, there are plenty of designer dates to choose from, Oscar de La Renta, Loeffler Randall and Jennifer Behr are just some of the designers obsessed with the appliqué of baroque pearls on hair slides. For this piece balance is irrelevant, the bigger the slide and the more you stack in your hair the better, it all depends on what base you want to get to with your pearly date. In need of some inspiration celebrities like Ariana Grande, and Solange have been invested in this trend, which is giving us all those 90s vibes when your hairstyle wasn’t complete without a couple of consciously placed butterfly clips. As for the blogging scene the likes of Rachel Holliday, the face behind The Daily Luxe, is never without the addition of a chunky pearl slide and states they’re a trend “that’s here to stay”. Her top tip is to “mix and match the shape of your clips for a cute and eye-catching look”- easy peasy!