This week we’re getting all fashionably floral and downright botanical. Break out the Claritin, it’s hay fever season on the SS13 runways.


Across the board, designers from the New York boroughs to the Milanese catwalks sowed bright botanicals in tropical citrus prints bringing me with them in their carry-on luggage to their island vacation destinations.

Abundant bouquets of bourgeoning buds and jungle greenery sprouted most impressively from, what I will call, the “E” Trifecta – Erdem, Etro and Elie Tahari.

Erdem Moralioglu’s ‘Women Who Fell to Earth’ collection, inspired by sci-fi writer Zenna Henderson, proffered toxic-spill worthy radioactive colours of orange, red and green florals embroidered atop seemingly delicate lacy pastel backdrops in what the designer calls his “uncomfortable color combinations“. So right was this wrongness of bizarre colour and textile amalgam that I can even somewhat forgive the designer for dressing actress Kristen Stewart for her ‘On the Road’ première in the one look that made her appear to be wearing her own granny’s panties covered “artfully” by a transparent shower curtain. Epic fail, Erdem. Epic.

Though many refined, monochrome summer dresses floated down Consuelo Castiglioni’s runway, the Marni maven just can’t quit print. And who would want her to? “More clean, more fresh, more light,” she said she was after with this collection. But monochromatic palette attempt aside, her efflorescent efforts were much more appreciated, by me at least. After a long parade of plaids and one-note wonders, the Marni minx unfolded three jungle-ready blossoming outfits to take the Amazonian rainforest by storm. Good girl.

Rossella Jardini seems to have mastered spring’s two main thematic statements for Moschino – graphic black and white and botanical brights. Throughout both motifs, Jardini referenced Audrey Hepburn’s Mary Quant, Paco Rabanne, and Ken Scott-based wardrobe from the 60’s youthquake cult classic film ‘Two for the Road’. According to, the designer said she liked the slightly shrunken, doll-like proportions of Hepburn’s clothes, and she definitely represented her inspiration with baby dolls printed with bold burgeoning buds.

Honourable mentions go to Chanel, Nanette Lepore, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Paul & Joe, Anna Sui, and Betsey Johnson whose botanical bests you can check out in our image gallery below.


It goes without saying that the graphic black and white mode motif is dominating the SS13 season. So pervasive is this trend that the theme of a colourless spring was even the topic of my first column for Riviera Buzz. What’s especially compelling about the impact of the hueless haze craze is the effect it has had on designers working with floral prints. While precious pastels and rosy reds are fashion nature’s norms, designers such as Helmut Lang, Valentino, Prada, Reem Acra and Viktor & Rolf have sucked the petals dry of colour, leaving a graphic greyscale garden as pleasing to the senses as a pocketful of posies.


With the stark contrast of in-your-face fragrant colour explosion and bold achromatic graphic florals, unfortunately, designers who opted for botanical prints in muted hues got lost in the garden. Mulberry missed the mark completely by exhibiting murky perennials drowning in spring’s showers. I think it’s safe to assume that creative director Emma Hill is no green thumb.

The designer wasn’t alone in her overcast oversight. Bottega Veneta’s drab blossoms were in desperate need of sunlight, Miracle-Gro and a Percocet. Dries Van Noten was the only fashion house to do subtle floral right by injecting three-dimensional layers of texture and structure to take the looks from flat to field-frolicking floral flourishes.

For us French Riviera dwellers, bigger prints and brighter colours are ALWAYS better. When the Côte d’Azur sunshine reflects off of your bright botanical maxi dress just right, while at the same time being doused in soft sea spray from the turquoise Mediterranean, we transport the natural elements from the runways into fashion Nirvana.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does YOUR garden grow this season?

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Lead image by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

One Response

  1. Dave W. Palmer

    Wow again Caitlin Brown.
    Another delightful and most bodacious review of these great fashions.
    Superbly done.
    Hope you are going to do another model session like the Mad Hatter sensation,that was fantastic.
    Kudos and cheers,
    Dave W. Palmer


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