Resort 2017 is a pre-season where print rules… and how. But you can forget outdated ideas of a single print story. This time round it’s multiple prints that count and the more the merrier.
Designers are mixing prints in a colourful jamboree that contrasts light and dark florals, traditional checks with tribal motifs, oversized placements with micro-sized repeats, florals set against stark checks and much more. The most restrained version of the print uses striped bands with small scale prints nestling inside them, but that’s about as subtle as it gets and even here the focus is on high-power colour.
At the more extreme ends of the trend, we get five, six, even seven print stories jostling for attention in a single look. The story works particularly well with pre-season’s new trapeze line dresses and its ultra-simple tunic shapes. But it also feeds into Resort’s urban edge, helping casual separates to move on with a decorative feel that can’t be missed but is a world away from the more refined sports luxe looks of recent seasons.
It all makes this particular print story one that can appeal across the age ranges from juniors through contemporary customers and on to 35-plus – it just depends on the execution.
Pictured above. L to r: Antonio Marras, Roksanda, Stella Jean, Blumarine, Au Jour Le Jour, Christopher Kane, Sonia rykiel, Roberto Cavalli, Stella Jean
Checks and spots may remain your go-to staple for volume pieces like easy dresses, duster coats and blouses. But they’ve also taken on a more directional edge as designers experiment with high-impact effects that offer plenty of ideas for contemporary and 35-plus customers. Some use the check as a frame and mix other prints inside them like florals. Or they soften and blur the edges of their checks to give a new twist to classics, while the addition of applied animal motifs or florals does an equally impressive job of subverting traditional checks.
Checkered flag checks (mostly in regulation black and white) are key for the season as designers use them allover for knits or as accents on key casual outerwear pieces (expect to see them as a key update for khaki jackets and coats as well as on shoes and bags).
Not that it’s all about prints that hit you squarely between the eyes. More subtle are woven gingham checks, perhaps given added zest with a small floral contrast or a colourful plain panel. In fact, colour is used to particularly good effect this pre-season whether through the purity of black and white, red and white or blue and white, or as a multicolour mash that plays up the crispness of cottons and the light sheen of silks.
Meanwhile spots take a back seat to checks but are still a useful device for warm weather skirts, shorts, dresses, shirts and lightweight jackets. Think non-traditional here with the classic polkadot thin on the ground. Instead we have two-colour mid-sized spots, patterns that look like spots but reveal themselves to be mini-pictures on closer inspection, spots that are actually planets, or spots that have been distorted into an ‘is-it-an-animal-print-or-isn’t-it?’ design.
Resort 2017 sees designers going out on a limb as they put print at the centre of their trend stories. And for many of them that appears to have been a fun process as they play games with faux tribal motifs and designs, boho-influenced print mixes, cartoonish abstracts, sharp-edged flashes (almost looking like graffiti, but without the words) and kaleidoscope designs.
The shock zig-zag is a popular print story and feels slightly retro. But softer effects like cartoonish paisleys and multicolour geometrics also feed into this slightly-madcap story while being slightly easier to wear for those who don’t like their prints quite so hardcore.
Given their extremes, these print effects are surprisingly versatile, even though it may take a bit of encouragement for more conservative shoppers to dip their toe in the water. They give an updated edge to on-going simple shifts, while also reinventing boho (again) for festival-ready maxi skirts and dresses. But they look surprisingly strong on formal evening and occasionwear too. They may not quite make the red carpet next awards season but as an alternative for ‘event’ dressing (think Ascot, weddings, garden parties) they ring the changes for anyone bored with painterly florals.