Fashion: Phew, thanks a bunch - Just when you thought there was nothing simple about fashion, here's something fresh for spring: roses, roses, roses. Alison Veness is on the scent

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Indy Lifestyle Online
As Gertrude Stein wrote, 'A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,' and it really is as simple as that.

What you see here are pretty, refreshingly uncomplicated clothes for spring, an antidote to all those bewildering reports recently about what we might be wearing next winter while we are hardly out of the past one.

Here, instead, are the kind of clothes that you might just go out and buy, if you could afford them. And if you can't (for the most delightful designer clothes are always the most expensive), knock-offs of these unashamedly floral clothes should be coming soon to a high street near you.

For these first few rose prints are the green shoots of something strong and simple at a time when you could be forgiven for thinking that nothing was simple about fashion any more. After all, in the last few seasons all the rules have been broken, with jumbled mismatching of fabrics, muddling of basic proportions and shrunken jumpers over trailing white shirts taking over from prettiness.

For those who didn't get it, or just plain didn't like it, spring is coming up roses. A wispy shift or a tank dress strewn with roses is the basis for the look, which can be layered langorously for graceful overtones of the Twenties.

That age, in part, is the inspiration for these delicate rose prints, reminiscent of the stylised motifs that were much-loved by the Edwardian fashion designer Paul Poiret, working with the illustrators George Lepape and Paul Iribe. Iribe produced stencils of roses so prolifically that they even turned up on the backdrops of Hollywood silent films.

In 1912, Poiret edged his famous Sorbet lampshade tunic with pastel roses; in 1913, he created a fancy-dress costume studded with roses, inspired by the gardens at Versailles.

At the same time another French designer, Madame Paquin, was turning out cocoon-shaped evening coats and costumes embroidered with - you've guessed it, roses.

For now, this decoration on these easy pieces merely marks the beginning of the gilding of yesterday's plain lily.

So is a rose, after all, just a rose? Almost. '. . . that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet' (William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet). So call them what you like, but this is the language of the new romantics.

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