After dominating fashion for the past few years, embroidery and value-added surface techniques have finally given way to the era of prints. With numerous possibilities of colour variations and innovations in motifs and pattern developments, prints are all set to make international fashion a lot more exciting and vibrant in the upcoming seasons. Banking on to this growing popularity of printed garments with consumers worldwide, retailers and designers are looking at everything new to adorn the womenswear wardrobe, from ‘birds’ to imitating ‘scarves’ and patterns that are ‘folklore’ to design collections that have never been seen before…
Becoming one of the hottest trends for 2012, birds of all kinds, sizes and migrating from all regions, will undoubtedly nest in the most fashion updated wardrobes. Taking flight on the runways of high-end designers like Marc Jacobs showing cartoonish parrots on a silhouette dress, Giles opting for a swan-esque shirt with metallic pants, Jill Stuart showcasing a white blouse with soft tangerine and magenta bird prints, Carolina Herrera adorning dresses and skirts with graceful green, red and yellow sparrows, and gyrfalcons flapping their very large wings at Reed Krakoff’s studio along with busy hummingbirds adorning trench coats and gloves at Erdem.
The reasons for such a sudden demand of birds is simple… inspired from the feeling of freedom and open wilderness, the trend is happy and delightful in appeal. Making a cheerful entry in the retail market, birds can be spotted everywhere in products like T-shirts, jackets, blouses, vests to dresses, tunics and long tops, being seen at fast fashion brands like Dorothy Perkins, Zara, New Look, River Island and Forever 21.
Making popular rounds with retailers is scarf prints featuring lavish patterns, vibrant colours and asymmetrical hemlines. More commonly developed on silk or sheer fabrics, high street shops like Topshop are already banking on the trend with a vast selection of scarf print available on shirts, high waist shorts and skater dresses, Zara has on offer printed blazer with scarf and River Island’s placement scarf print skirt are a crowd puller. The look first became big last time around in the 90s with Versace, Hermes and Pucci and is now revisiting in an even bigger way walking flawlessly on the runways such as Versace’s silk satin mini dress, Balmain’s satin-jersey harem pants and Etro’s floral print jacquard blazer.
While in production these prints can be experimented with variations such as placement and border prints that are engineered to look like scarf prints once garment is made, bias scarf patchworks, use of actual scarves and sarongs to make a complete garment, in shapes like tunics, shift dresses, collared shirts pants and skirts. The trend is most likely to continue for S/S13 as well in drapey fabrics such as rayons and polyesters and in brighter high contrast colours, with baroque influence, and a floral overdose in patterns.
Given a modern interpretation to folklore and traditional patterns, a cultural tribal influence is evident to comeback in the upcoming fall flowing into the next summer as well. Similar to the last year tribal prints rage but taking yet another twist, folklore prints this season are closer to Asian tribal of African originations seen in the collections of Roberto Cavalli and Donna Karan and also on the runways of Valentino as prints on knit dresses and embroidered on other shapes emerging from a folk art influence. Taking inspiration from architectural mosaics, the look that dominated the catwalks was of a modern tribalism derived with geometric lines, raffia, plastic, eel skin, anaconda leather, materials that were juxtaposed, colour-blocked graphics and zebra prints in neutral hues. Flashes of this look can also be seen with some famous retailers like Old Navy, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and Mod Cloth.
Taking a break from last season’s embroidered interpretations, for the upcoming seasons, tribal patterns with be printed making the trend economically viable. Other techniques that fit perfectly to derive similar looks are tie&dye, ombre dyeing in zig zag patterns, and ikat motifs, imitated in prints, keeping the colour palette highly traditional, with indigo, other colours in warmer hues, and accent colours to add a touch of brightness. Mainly printed on fabric base such as cotton for summers and polyester, chiffon, georgette and heavy crepes for winters, the shapes can remain basic like long maxi skirts, peasant blouses and printed tank tops with jersey backs.
Making a strong comeback in the category of retro inspired prints, polka dots are making yet another booming comeback in menswear and womenswear fashion alike. Emerging as a strong print influence on the runways, polka dots are predicted to reach their peak in Spring/Summer 2013, becoming crazier than ever. Observed on the runways of many designers, the interpretations of these dots are many, ranging from a painterly style of black-on-white polka dots showcased by Suno, classic and youthful playful spots adapted in an ultra feminine silhouette of a frock by Adam, three-dimensional spotted prints by Tory Burch, to a more adult take on dots in the form of a cascading effect of multi-coloured jewel-tone spots seen at Luca Luca.
Not only with international designers, but fashion brands have been quick in adapting a still basic version of these dots for the 2012 merchandise, in various sizes big and small and bright colours. Seen on the racks of Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, River Island and ASOS, the silhouettes are varied like short shirts and long belted dressy shirts, strapped bra top, pleated skirts and T-shirt dress. Taking over the UK market, the trend is so vantage that it is also emerging to be a rising influence on the streets of Italy and US.
ART DECO PRINTS
A periodic upgradation of the colour blocking trend, the upcoming seasons will see patterns that are interpreted in the form of graphics, geometric lines and abstract shapes, reminding us of the Art Deco period of the early 1930’s. Reappearing strongly for 2013, designers are thriving to get their inspiration from this fashion movement since 2008, when Marc Jacobs brought 1940s power dressing into play with bright block prints. Moving ahead on a visual note, for the next summer it is especially the Art of the Art Deco times, that have been taken forward as prints on the recent runways. While Lacoste displayed a play of lines imitating a maze like format in chick shift dress, Carolina Herrera played with geometry in black, taupe, and white graphics in a knit top. Other abstract and linear in vibrant colours and clean shapes have been observed on the catwalks of Milly, Gucci and Alexander Wang.
Still new for the retailers, the trend can be toned down and made more commercial for the ready to wear market. Even though geometric prints are already seen to emerge with some big brands world over, a more direct inspiration of colour and shapes needs to be taken directly from the Art Deco paintings to make it look fresh.