Gemma Tries It On: 'I'm petrified of florals'


Would you wear florals? At the moment I'm sitting on the fence. I don't like the often girly nature of the prints in question – it just doesn't hang well in my wardrobe which is stuffed full of different shades of black. I love flowers – but the freshly-cut or planted kind, not the printed, embroidered or embellished version.

But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy looking at them, or indeed working with such creations. I'm just personally petrified of wearing them. After all, what could be worse than looking like Mary Berry in her floral bomber (sorry Mary, I do love you, but it looked nasty)?

At the recent couture collections, shows were basically considered lacking if they had failed to tap in to the flora trend. Models at Dior wandered round a privet-hedged catwalk in Raf Simons' creations, which were scattered with appliqued petals and beaded and embroidered blooms. At Chanel, the label's beloved camellia was brought to life by Karl Lagerfeld, immortalised by hand in sequins, lace and tulle. Both made me want to wear them, but by my reckoning, I'm about £49,000 shy of being able to own one.

This, along with the recent 'flower girl' shoot I styled for the pages of this very magazine, could have feasibly changed my views. It's a little over the top, granted – think eccentric lady wearing clashing prints with a few flashes of neon thrown in for good measure – but mix that business with simple, dark-coloured separates and the look is instantly de-girlified. And if you take the lead from Karl Lagerfeld, as one always should, then floral laid upon a black background looks deliciously dark and romantic.

Christopher Kane, who has flirted with the flower in the past and is set to in the future (embroidered pansies are back for his pre-autumn collection) has a pretty amazing leather clutch bag ( – it's embossed with roses which are only visible when they catch the light: subtle chic at its finest and available in both black and white.

Print genius Emma Cook ( is also twisting my arm with her digital multi-flower designs. The beautiful graphic repeats are at first unrecognisable as flowers, with their busyness and black and navy colour–palette – and refreshingly there's not a hint of pink in sight.

Maybe this trend is blooming marvellous after all.

Gemma Hayward is Fashion Editor of 'The Independent'

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