Floral Fashion

Celia Birtwell


Today we take a look at one of our favorite floral-focused artists, the inimitable Celia Birtwell. Inspired by artists like Picasso and Matisse as well as the natural world, her bold and colorful hand-illustrated prints became one of the defining elements of 1970s style.

During her years in art school Birtwell was introduced to her future husband, fashion designer Ossie Clark. The two collaborated on designs for some of the most iconic artists and celebrities of the decade, including the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and Marianne Faithful.

Birtwell is still actively designing today, producing a wide range of fabric, wallpaper and accessories out of her London studio. Her trademark prints have also been featured in collaborations with Topshop, Express, and Uniqlo.

Lilly Pulitzer, 1931-2013

Today we look back at the exuberant prints and colorful life of the iconic American designer Lilly Pulitzer, who passed away on April 7th at the age of 81. Though her eye-popping color palettes and bold designs were beloved among jet-setters and socialites, her signature patterns belied humble origins: they were originally devised as a way to hide the orange juice stains and spills she picked up after a day’s work at a fruit stand.

While Lilly herself quipped that her dresses were made from “kitchen curtain fabric,” her brand rapidly earned cult status amongst devotees like Jackie Kennedy and went on to embody a generation of relaxed resortwear with its signature tropical-inspired designs. The company was shuttered in the face of shifting fashion trends in the 1980s, but the label was revitalized in 1994 and enjoys ongoing success today across a wide array of apparel and accessories for women, men, and children.

Weekly Collection Inspiration: High Fashion Fairytale

This week’s subscription collection whisks us away to the whimsical world of fairytales with a high fashion twist. Both sides of fairytales are explored – at times light and carefree, at times dark and dangerous. This week choose your design from two palettes – a delicate, soft palette of muted pinks and creams, or a decadent, rich palette of deep purples and greens.

Cream roses are punctuated by bursts of pristine alstroemeria in this Classic Collection bouquet.  Set against a backdrop of aspidistra and tree fern and accented with pops of white waxflower, the pink and cream blooms emerge as a ray of sunshine out of a deep fairytale forest.
$35 per week

This decadent Classic Collection bouquet spills over its vase with trailing seeded eucalyptus. The soft lavender roses and green lisianthus contribute to the overall delicate feel of the arrangement. Pops of lavender phlox round out the piece, creating a lush fairytale garden of varietals.
$35 per week

This Contemporary Collection bouquet bursts forth with a series of ivory roses, ornithogalum, and mini crystal blush calla lilies set against an exotic backdrop of long plumosus fern. A gorgeous bouquet full of possibility and desire .
$48 per week

A sophisticated bouquet that demands attention, this Contemporary Collection bouquet is filled with luscious lavender roses, deep fuschia aranda orchids and pops of purple phlox. A formal setting of aspidistra is made whimsical with pops of wispy bunny tails.
$48 per week


This Exotic Collection bouquet is a statement piece designed to capture your imagination. A lush, explosive array of cream spray roses, mini crystal blush calla lillies, mini light pink cymbid orchids, and white ornithogalum explode in the front of the arrangement, while a trail of tree fern serves as a headdress to punctuate the back.
$65 per week

This delicate, textured Exotic Collection bouquet showcases the finest purple aranda orchids with bright bursts of green cymbidium orchid blooms. The vibrant orchids emerge from a bed of grass-inspired green tricks and soft accents of green lisianthus.  Icy tones of seeded eucalyptus offset the bouquet’s vibrancy, creating an unexpected whimsical outline.
$65 per week

H.Bloom designer Hannah D’Ottavio gives a detailed tutorial on how to work with the flowers in H.Bloom’s Arrange Your Own collection. Varietals in the October 8 collection include cream roses, light pink alstroemeria, white ornithogalum, long plumosus fern, aspidistra, and liatris.
$29 per week


Floral Inspiration: Jean Shrimpton and Karlie Kloss

Some of our favorite floral fashion images are from the iconic shoot with Jean Shrimpton by Bert Stern for Vogue in 1965.  The color palette and even the varietals are so specific to the 60′s, it’s like a passport to another era.

Jean Shrimpton by Bert Stern for Vogue, 1965

When December’s Vogue Italia showed up with the gorgeous editorial of Karlie Kloss shot by Steven Meisel, it was impossible not to notice the reference.  What a difference between the palette and varietals, though.  One so iconically 60′s and one so fresh, full and modern.

Karlie Kloss by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia December 2011

See more floral headdresses in our Wedding Inspiration: Floral Crown post

Images via Good Vibrations and Rochelle Clarke

Explorer Chic

Summertime is a season of exploration–perfect for heading off to the nearest field or park and studying the assorted flora. In preparation for your day of adventure, add a bit of extra excitement by dressing the part. Don a field dress or throw on a pair of shorts and a linen shirt and start channeling your inner botanist. Top the look with a wide brimmed hat and a fun pair of clog boots; then grab your knapsack and notebook, and you’re ready to do some serious(ly chic) exploration.

Our picks: 1. Peach Explorer Hat; 2. Field Dress; 3. Clog Boots; 4. Field Notes; 5. Linen Shirt; 6. Survey Knapsack.

Floral Madness

The rise of Mad Men’s Jessica Pare has refreshed our interest in the always-chic 60′s. Vibrant colors, form-flattering silhouettes and a coy sexiness are hallmarks of 1960′s revivalism and summer style. This beach season, take a cue from Mrs. Draper – show off more style and less skin.

For a day by the pool, a waist-nipping one piece is a subtle and sophisticated stand out amidst a sea of bikinis. And later, for an equally exquisite dinner look, pair a bold floral dress with a matching cropped jacket, finished with a jewel neckline for a display of classic cool in the evening heat.

Floral Madness: 1. Zimmerman Strapless Swimsuit; 2. Jessica Paré in Mad Men; 3. Chloe SS 2007; 4. Lela Rose Floral-Print V-Neck Dress; 5. Nanette Lepore Sunkissed Floral-Print Dress; 6. Prada SS 2012; 7. Kate Spade Island Satchel; 8. Dolce & Gabbana Floral Print Silk Dress; 9. 60′s Floral.

Floral Femme Fashion

For your next summertime soirée take a cue from une femme lolita and add equal parts romance, fantasy and seduction to your look.

Pairing delicate floral elements with sharp details cultivates a look that is neither too girly nor too austere. Start by combining flowing silks with a corseted top. Accent the look with accessories that will sparkle in the sunlight, such as crystal jewelry and riveted accents. Finally, apply color, patterns and organic florals generously to achieve a look that is perfectly graceful and terribly sassy.

Learn More: 1. Pleated Silk-Chiffon Maxi Skirt; 2. Bra Top; 3. Pink Poppy Bib Necklace; 4. Pearl Necklace; 5. Studded Slippers; 6. High-Waisted Briefs; 7. Floral Headband; 8. Dior Dress; 9. Lush Petals Bouquet.

French Market Baskets

Sometimes your favorite handbag simply cannot accommodate your needs. But you don’t have to rely on your reusable Whole Foods bags as a substitute.

For those balmy days spent outdoors, the hand-woven, classic french market basket is the perfect replacement for the impractical purse and utilitarian shopping bag. Constructed from durable palm fibers, these carryalls live up to their name, freeing your hands as you collect vegetables from the market, snacks for a picnic, or a swimsuit and towel for a trip to the beach. Best of all, these totes are ideal for carrying your flowers around town, safely and stylishly. Come fall, you will find yourself struggling to bid your summer-ready sac adieu.

Lead image via This is Glamorous. Above from left to right via With Love From Kat and The Polished Pebble.

Bright Style: DIY Color Blocking

When the weather gets hot, the colors get bright.

Don’t damper the excitement of impending summer with neutrals. Instead, take advantage of all the vivid oranges and pinks designers are lavishing upon us. For optimal effect, delight in some do-it-yourself color-blocking.

Combine a luscious orange dress with a pair of florid pink heels or accessorize with some rose-colored sunglasses and a succulent persimmon handbag. Or, if you don’t feel like leaving your vibrant H. Bloom bouquet behind, pin some beaming peonies to your hair or ensemble for added aura. No matter how you do it, combining these lustrous hues is sure to create a look worthy of the sunshine.

Our picks: 1. Jerome Dreyfuss Momo Bag; 2. 3.1 Phillip Lim Contour Hem Knit Dress; 3. Lanvin Ruched Wrap Dress; 4. Karen Walker Cabbie Pink Sunglasses; 5. Pierre Hardy Canvas Sandal; 6. Rebecca Minkoff Ostrich Embossed Covet

Lead image via J.J.’s Dolly Rockers

1920s Inspired Style

With the arrival of May often comes the desire to don the season’s trendiest looks. But, as every fashion-savvy shopper knows, trends always benefit from an anchor in the classic. This Mother’s Day, take a cue from Mom’s style with these contemporary riffs on looks from Springtimes past.

Want to save face and block the sun? Federica Moretti’s handmade straw hats for Spring/Summer ‘12 add just the right dose of whimsy to the sun hat. Top off your look with the Parisol Straw Cap and provide coverage in the most fashion-forward light.

Need a break from your usual Sunday-brunch-sundress? No need to revert to skinny jeans just yet. Samantha Pleet’s alluring Copper Immortal Dress in silk, with a subtle cutout detail at the waist and a divine drape to the skirt is the perfect compromise between coquettish and cool.

Searching for high heels without a high cost of comfort? Trade in your flip-flops and flats for Woman by Common Projects’ tasteful take on the pump. Available in a creamy, beige suede, these medium height heels won’t force you to choose between ease and elegance.

Lead image via Julia Galdo

« Older Entries