This month marks another much-ballyhooed royal wedding, but this iteration will buck centuries-old traditions. The fairytale has inspired many designers in the explosion of British references on the runway, and just like the upcoming unconventional royal nuptials, these designers upended and redefined expectations.
There have been many a fantastical story set in the fabled floral gardens and bucolic green hills of the English countryside, and they were present in numerous collections. ERDEM may be the epitome of British romanticism in his trademark fine floral motifs—in this his collection was predictable—but there was a darker undercurrent. One skirt had oversized flowers that adhered to the rules of decorum, flowing to the ankle but shown with a tiny tube top and a cardigan that looked like it could have belonged to a strict Victorian governess. ALEXANDER MCQUEEN took the hard leather combat boot worn by social disruptors of the UK’s punk era and added delicate Swarovski-embroidered flowers and pearls.
And what of flowers and their presence amongst the rough, damp, misty-but-romantic Scottish terrain? A beautiful, colored tartan is as Scottish as the green rolling hills. SACAI also had a deconstructed—or shall we say destructed—approach with haphazard layers of tartan and flowers stitched together in different directions and layered over sheer silk tartan leggings.
Yet not every designer was interested in turning popularly held conventions inside out. VERSUS BY VERSACE had straightforward tartan looks: one in the form of a bikini and matching jeans jacket, offering a bit of humor in the coordinating strappy sandals and bags. NAEEM KHAN had a classic, plunging, intricately embroidered floral gown, though even that was subversively sheer, and the flower head pieces and nose rings weren’t exactly modest. BALENCIAGA showed the most straightforward look with a plaid, old-school work shirt and tartan pencil skirt.
There’s nothing new about a dress with blooms on it—or plaid or tartan—but designers’ reinvention of these classics felt original and completely modern. Things must change and evolve to remain relevant. This has not gone unnoticed, both in the fashion industry or the British monarchy.