Gone are the days when prints and patterns were something to be feared – a head-to-toe look just a catwalk showpiece that had to be delicately handled and diffused with classic (read plain) separates when translated to the real world. The print revolution has been gathering pace for a few seasons now – with London being one of the epicentres thanks to designers such as Mary Katrantzou, Erdem and Louise Gray creating looks that, whether the patterns coordinate or clash, certainly carry a story through to its final conclusion.
Add to this, the unspoken admission that coordinating accessories are the height of naffness – and usually a fashion statement reserved for the panic that sets in when deciding what to wear to a wedding. Until recently, that is – once brands as diverse as Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Mulberry, Carven and Vivienne Westwood's Red Label sent matchy-matchy looks down the catwalk for spring/summer it was clear that the rule book had been torn up once again.
The trend for pyjama dressing that was so big last summer – who could forget “that” wisteria print from Whistles – may have taken shoppers by surprise, but that didn't stop it becoming a success. This season the coordinating look is taken even further – with head-to-toe prints on offer from designers and high-street labels alike.
Eley Kishimoto is a London-based label best known for the designers' use of pattern, so it's no surprise that a new collaboration with Clarks is covered in the stuff. Previewed last September at the duo's aptly titled “Living with Patterns” exhibition, three Clarks styles (the classic desert boot, a wedge and a court shoe) have been decked out with the “cute boys” and “flash” prints from the current collection on dresses, skirts and playsuits.
The introduction of matching accessories by another designer known for their use of print comes by way of collaboration too – as Gaby Basora the stylist-turned-designer behind the label Tucker has teamed up with friend Loeffler Randall on a collection of textured print bags and shoes. The vibrant floral and abstract prints that are Tucker's signature are plastered over peep-toe heels, court shoes and raffia-soled plimsolls as well as clutch bags and satchels in the collaboration, as well as silk jumpsuits and blouses.
There are plenty of prints to choose from this season: feminine florals, toile adorned with safari scenes, and of course animal prints – head-to-toe floral geckos at Mulberry were a novel take on the latter. The monochrome trend of the season lends itself well to this way of dressing too: the shops are bursting with black and white stripes and checks, ensuring a more eclectic approach to the print-match trend.