Tip #8 “Floral print? All in the garden of history!”


Flowers are a timeless theme in any decor. Nature has always inspired man and it is probably hard to say when the floral ornament first appeared, and for sure, this theme will live forever. Therefore, it deserves special attention.

Floral prints of the ancient world had a vegetative nature associated with climatic conditions. Ancient India, Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and other ancient empires abound in floral prints. The technology of those times used manual labor in its literal sense, that is, fabrics were painted with a brush. In ancient China, they used the technique of filling with wax those places that required painting. In ancient Egypt, compositions were created that, on the contrary, dissolved the paint, thereby creating halftones.

Developing a floral print, it gradually acquired a symbolic meaning. One of the leading in floral ornaments was the lotus flower. The ancient Egyptians associated the image of the lotus with the renewal of vitality and the return of youth. In China, the lotus personified purity and chastity. In ancient India, the lotus was seen as the symbolism of the universe.

With the advent of styles, the floral print has taken on a stylistic character. The greatest popularity of decor using the image of flowers fell on the Rococo era. In the 14th century, Italy led the way in the creation of costumes with floral embroidery. In the 18th century, this role passed to England, which is considered the birthplace of most floral prints, thanks to the British textile designer Anna Maria Garthwaite, who created a huge number of watercolor sketches. Today, more than 800 of her works are in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. At the beginning of her work, Anna Marie Garthwaite worked using a French technique developed by designer Jean Revel to achieve a 3D effect in an image. It should be noted that France had a strong influence on the work of many artists working on the creation of patterns for textiles, as it itself had developed manufactories for the production of fabrics and well-known artists who worked not only on the development of visual images, but also created new technologies for the production of both fabrics. , and the looms themselves. With the development of botanical illustration, Anna Maria Garthwaite began to create more realistic floral designs. Her work was distinguished by light backgrounds, in contrast to the French, which used multi-colored backgrounds and unrealistic floral patterns. The widespread use of English floral prints was also facilitated by the fact that floral fabrics were exported to colonial America, while the import of French goods into this country was prohibited. In addition, the French Revolution of 1789-1799 almost completely destroyed the weaving industry in France, and qualified specialists and artists fled to the neighboring countries of England, Spain, and Italy.

In the 19th century, the English textile company Liberty, which still exists today, became associated with all floral textiles. This happened thanks to the owner of the company, Arthur Liberty, who in 1870 began to invite the best artists to his company to create ornaments, whose names were kept secret. Today we know Arthur Liberty as a person who made a huge contribution to the development of the decorative arts of England, for which he was knighted, and fabrics with small floral patterns were called Liberty. If you are in London, go to the department store-museum of the same name, now not only fabrics are sold here. To this day, the interior design of the Liberty department store retains its original look, the idea of ​​which is copied by department store architects around the world.

In the early 20th century, floral prints were given a new boost by designer Paul Poiret, famous for freeing women from the rigid corset. To demonstrate his models, Paul Poiret (Paul Poiret) arranged luxurious balls using oriental themes.

Christian Dior, a fan of the Art Nouveau style, was not indifferent to flowers and created collections in which flowers were present in the form of embroidery, brooches and the shape of the dress silhouettes themselves. Christian Dior cultivated his love for flowers by working in his mother's garden, which, by the way, was decorated in the English style. In his memoirs, Christian Dior writes that it was this garden that defined his style as a designer. This legendary garden was located in Granville on the Normandy coast, where today there is a villa - a museum dedicated to the designer.

In 1966, the Gucci brand developed the iconic "flora" pattern when creating a scarf for Grace Patricia Kelly, which later became the hallmark of this brand and periodically appeared in subsequent collections. From the late 60s and early 70s, the beginning of the hippie era gave the floral print a new meaning. "Flower Power" was the main slogan of that time. Hippies called themselves "children of flowers" and held various actions where they handed out flowers to passers-by.


The hippie floral design itself had a psychedelic character and distinctive "acidic" hues.

In the 70s there was a great mixture of all kinds of styles. The floral print accompanied the image of a young peasant woman, the ethnic style presented gypsy floral motifs.

The 70s were marked by the emergence of the “ready-to-wear” direction, and by the mid-70s, ready-made dress collections began to be shown twice a year, which allowed many designers to make themselves known, and some to become famous “overnight”. One of them, designer Kenzo Takada, contributed to the rethinking of floral print, creating a collection using Japanese-style flowers and offering dresses in the form of a batwing, sweater dress, combining a kimono with a European dress. His collections were called "destructive haute couture".

In the 90s, the floral print became relevant again, against the backdrop of the then dominant minimalism. Thanks to the development of technology, new types of fabrics and a style called high-tech have appeared. It was the 3rd wave of the hippie era, which did not last long and affected very young teenagers. The new grunge style finally broke the dictates of high fashion and made the fashion of the streets dominant.

In the early 2000s, floral print could be found in romantic-style clothes or as trims using the same ethnic patterns. The most memorable element of the fashion of the beginning of the century were coats with a discreet floral pattern.

Fashion is cyclical and the return of trends from the past is natural. So the end of 2010 was marked by the return of the 90s. Everything that can hardly be called beautiful has returned: acid colors, denim style, holes in clothes, open bellies, fishnet tights, gold everywhere and in everything. It's amazing to see how famous fashion houses "cultivate" all this kitsch variety.


The next striking return of floral print to fashion was the Dolce & Gabbana collection created in 2010, combining both large and small images of flowers. Floral print combined with stripes can be seen in 2011 in the men's collection of the Belgian designer Walter van Beirendonck A/W 2011 dedicated to ethnic motifs.

Gradually, the images of flowers migrated to sports and business clothes, shoes and accessories. In the interior, flowers are present on all decor items, covering everything: walls, furniture, textiles!

2013 Riccardo Tisci, creative director of Givenchy, in an attempt to rejuvenate the brand, proposed an unusual combination of floral print with geometry, giving a new dimension to the floral pattern, which has been a constant presence in the collection of almost all leading designers for several years. Today, flowers and stripes are already ubiquitous in the haute couture collection and in the mass market.

In July 2016, Alessandro Michele's prints, made in the form of oil paintings, appeared in the Gucci Garden special collection. Floral prints and animal prints adorn all key models of the collection. The collection itself acquired artistry, sensuality and at the same time self-sufficiency, causing a flurry of applause at the fall-winter 2015/2016 show.

Separately, it should be noted the cult Belgian designer Dries van Noten (Dries van Noten) - a master of mixing and collaging various floral prints, without which none of his collections has been complete for over 30 years. Dries van Noten himself is the owner of a garden of 22 hectares. from which he draws inspiration. And again the garden, and the garden of Dries van Noten (Dries van Noten) is a separate topic in the fashion industry, which was devoted to an article by fashion critic Hamish Bowles, and filmed by director Rainer Holzemer in 2018.

It looks like floral prints are a story with a sequel, and experimentation is the main trend of the new generation of prints and, in particular, floral. In recent years, we have seen the invasion of tropical prints and the actualization of eco-style, and in the beauty industry, the direction of Clean Beauty. The boom in popularity of organic food and the return of interest in natural fabrics and the creation of colorful prints using the plants themselves.

As you can see, the floral print has never disappeared anywhere, it has been accompanying us all the time for several centuries. Today, floral ornament either comes to the fore in haute couture, or modestly content with the role of decor in everyday life. And why are we so eager to surround ourselves with floral print? Perhaps the reason for this is ourselves.

I wonder what evolution of the floral print in terms of ornament lies ahead of us? Which designers will choose this theme for their future work? And the main questions: what makes us choose a floral print in clothes and decor? How to wear floral prints? Read more on our blog.