Our Never Ending Love Affair With FloralsInspiration
Contributor, Anna, writes about her love affair with florals in all forms starting at an early age with Laura Ashley prints. Read on to hear more…
Flowers; a constant, a fail-safe, for many of us as designers, an ever reliable source of beauty to draw inspiration from. The possibility of interpretation and application seems endless, and our passion for creating heavenly floral patterns for fashion and interiors never wavers, or seems to go out of fashion….ever!
In the 1700’s fresh flowers were often found on hats and in hair. By the Victorian era, flowers took on more meaning, communicating the most forbidden topics of the time through what became known as Floriography (the language of flowers). Of course, the wondrous William Morris created a legacy of work as a designer during the arts and crafts movement with stylised botanical wallpapers and textiles. At the turn of the 20th Century, Liberty, with their famous Tana Lawn fabrics, ushered in a new floral direction with their iconic small scale ditsy prints which continue to appear on clothing, homewares and accessories.
My own love affair with florals began in the 80’s with what seemed like the one and only floral fabric I thought I would ever need to last a lifetime. The Strawberry Floral Red Country Kitchen print by Laura Ashley was just beautiful. In the days when one matched the wallpaper to the curtains to the cushions to the festoon blinds, we paired this pretty floral print with red and white check sofas to balance it just a bit. It really was the dream team, and it made for such a warm and inviting feel. It created a cottage look but was also sophisticated in equal measure, and, I think, really did make for a happier space.
Throughout history, the interpretation of flowers in design has been to depict them in their truest form. But, there have also been designers like Orla Kiely, for instance, who have picked out more abstract detailing to create graphic standout floral prints, adapting this look into a whole range of contemporary interior products and fashion lines. Of course critics from the Victorian era would have disliked any such interpretation, wishing instead to display floral wallpapers and fabrics with prints that were true to their most natural aesthetic. Personally, as a designer, I put myself more in the abstract camp and love to play with certain elements of a flower. There is so much potential and one can make a flower truly unique.
What is it about such floral designs we can’t get enough of? No doubt there is a romance associated with flowers that so many of us are sensitive to and can understand. Their whimsical quality and their colours when one looks at in broad daylight are often hard to believe. The shapes, textures, and the complexity of how a flower can evoke such power, yet be so delicate at the same time, is perhaps why we love to surround ourselves with them so much. They seem to appeal to each and every layer of our emotions. We can of course use florals on walls, fabrics, dresses, shoes, accessories, and more, while making as much or as little of a statement as we want. Perhaps it’s the combination of the vast potential within floral design and the emotions they evoke which make using them easy and palatable. Even the most pattern shy, I’m sure, can appreciate the charm and beauty of a floral, and how they can convey a certain type of elegance.
I don’t think we’ll ever see florals fade, and I’m certainly very happy about that! Now, off to do some flower pressing…