Friday, September 21, 2012

London Fashion Week: Prints Charming & A Bit Of Inspiration

I hope the city won't take offense, but London has really only reemerged as a major fashion hub fairly recently. We'll call it a rebirth because London certainly has a significant fashion history that was somewhat stalled by grunge and faux Burberry-clad football hooligans of the 90s.

New York, Milan, and Paris have always been and always will be the top three, but editors and retailers have helped turn the fashion hierarchy into a top four. The London-based luxury online retailer Net-a-Porter.com has been amazing at championing UK designers that may not have had another avenue for exposure. Brits take their fashion very seriously and it's exciting to see them getting validation.

When viewing the collections that were presented in London for Spring 2013 I noticed that most designers fell into one of three categories: 1) Crazily printed; 2) Ultra feminine; and 3) Ridiculously unwearable (but able to be appreciated). I'm going to delve into the crazily printed trend because it's been on my mind lately and I will explain why in a bit.

The king and queen of prints are Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou, respectively. I certainly don't say crazy with any negative connotation. These two are breaking ground like general contractors and it's so exciting to see. These looks aren't going to be for everyone, but that's fashion. First, Pilotto's brilliance:

Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
These are my favorites from the collection and the rest can be viewed here. They're a lot to handle! I know. I always tell people who struggle with prints to wear the color, not the print. Baby steps. Pilotto's designs work, though, and he and his design partner Christopher De Vos have had much success on the red carpet and editorially.

If you thought Peter Pilotto was wild, then brace yourself for Mary Katrantzou. She's a true artist who usually takes one inspiration, in the case of Spring 2013 it's stamps, and manipulates them in abstract and colorful ways.

Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Image via Style.com
Have a look at the rest of Katrantzou's collection here. I think the last three dresses in particular are stunning and I can easily see them working in formal settings. The first two? Maybe not so much, but we have to appreciate the art! On the heels of her very successful collaboration with Topshop, Katrantzou and denim giant Current/Elliot have just announced a Spring 2013 partnership, which means you can get a piece of Mary for considerably less. I'm in! 

And now onto why prints have been on my mind. Last night I had the pleasure of attending an EventBrite class called Lessons In Style: Color, Texture, and Pattern that was taught by the lovely and stylish Chelsee of We Are Not Martha and her own creative consultancy business. Mixing prints and patterns is an art form, but it really is an easy one! As I said before, wear the colors not the prints. One of my favorite combinations that Chelsee put together last night was a green and navy striped shirt and a paisley print scarf with the same colors. Kinda like this:
Green/Navy Combo


Since each garment has the same color family, it works. She also brilliantly paired a sheer cropped floral t-shirt over a striped tank in the same tones like this:
Floral/Stripe Combo

Floral/Stripe Combo by melissah528 featuring a striped tank

Are you picking up what I'm putting down here? Just because garments aren't traditional partners doesn't mean you have to keep them apart. Prints and color don't have to be scary! No one is going to point and laugh at you for wearing something bold and fun. And if they do they're probably a miserable person and you shouldn't be friends with them. Putting together outfits in the way can make your closet twice as big. 

Fashion is FUN and it should always make you happy. If your happiness isn't a Peter Pilotto dress with six different colors and four competing prints, that's okay. Start small with combinations like those above. Hopefully seeing fashion like this will trigger your inspiration button instead of immediately turning it off.

Do tell me - what is your reaction to seeing clothes like those designed by Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou? Have you been successful at mixing prints?

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