Moody blooms: how dark florals became the new Breton stripe

You probably think this is about a trend. It’s not. Floral patterns on a dark background is not so much a fashion trend as a fashion takeover. It is a look that is absolutely everywhere – so much so, that you have probably stopped noticing it. It is in my wardrobe and – as a glance around the Guardian office confirms – in a whole lot of other wardrobes too. The formula is simple: flowers of any variety bloom against a dark-coloured background. Perhaps on a blouse, possibly a trousersuit or an evening gown, but most likely on a dress or a skirt.

Without much fuss or fanfare, dark floral has lodged itself into modern life. Like the Breton stripe a decade before it, it has become style shorthand for looking current. And for looking good, but not looking as if you thought about it too much. Alessandro Michele’s super-maximalist aesthetic at Gucci has amped up the resting pulse rate of fashion, so you need a bit of print and colour for an outfit to feel really contemporary. On the other hand, the mood music of the #MeToo era doesn’t lend itself to a bunting-and-cupcakes vibe, so viewing the traditional femininity of the floral print through a darker lens feels right. And as fashion moves towards a more sustainable, less fast-moving model, a print that is a bit summery (because, flowers) and at the same time autumnal in its colours also feels right for now. October 2019

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