Thursday, 27 March 2014

Novelty and conversational prints A/W 14

Novelty prints are often my favourite part of the catwalk collections, they never fail to excite and amuse me!This season proved to be no exception!There seemed to be several themes in the novelty/conversational prints for A/W 14; domestic animals(cats&dogs), birds, horses and woodland creatures. Gone are the tropical and exotic animals championed by Kenzo several seasons ago, comforting homely animals are in! 

In the S/S 14 collections faces seemed to dominate the novelty scene, for A/W 14 it was hands!I suppose with such a strong handcrafted, artistic and painterly trend coming through the catwalks it is only to be expected that the hands themselves would become a focus. Included in the collections of Holly Fulton(bejewelled hands), Opening Ceremony(palm outstretched),Karen Walker(mechanical) and Devastee(artistic hands), the popularity of hand imagery was evident throughout all 4 fashion weeks!Of course the painterly art inspired faces that were so prominent in the S/S 14 collections are still present for A/W 14- Sister by Sibling, Andrew GN and Marios Schwab all still had oversized placement faces on the garments in their collections.

Celestial and Ancient Greek imagery A/W 14

Around last September, shortly after the culmination of the S/S 14 fashion weeks, I speculated that a celestial trend might be on its way ( This trend prediction was based on Valentino's introduction of the symbols of the zodiac as necklace pendants. Sure enough celestial imagery began to filter into other catwalk collections and, as can be seen in the moodboard below, several designers jumped on board this trend. Matthew Williamson dedicated his whole A/W 14 collection to recognised celestial imagery(stars!) whereas Preen and Rodarte took a more novel route using imagery from the Star Wars films- questionable in terms of commerciality but they made me chuckle none the less. My favourite prints from this trend are those that reference less obvious celestial imagery i.e moons,clouds and lightening bolts as seen at Diane Von Furstenberg(DVF) and A Detacher, I feel like is a better way to respond to this trend than using an overworked star motif.

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Heavenly/Celestial imagery has strong associations with the zodiac and Greek mythology and so it is unsurprising that motifs from Ancient Greek design began to seep into the A/W 14 collections. I use the word 'seep' because there doesn't appear to be a very strong following of this trend on the catwalks as of yet, but it is slowly being injected into the designers collections. There is a particularly strong usage of the straight edged swirl patterns in monochrome, taken from carved/painted clay pots in Ancient Greek design. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A/W 14 Catwalk print trend analysis: Abstract and Linear

Abstract mark making prints-possibly my favourite trend for A/W 14, which somewhat surprises me as I don't usually buy into abstract prints. I feel like this trend can be broken down into two main groups; scribbly mark making prints and white noise style prints. This print trend focusses on creating abstract textures on flat surfaces, the majority of the prints in this group tend to be very graphic and usually stick to a black and white colour palette. The list of designers who jumped on board this trend is endless but I have included a few who I feel worked the abstract prints best in the trend board below...

The linear trend is another favourite of mine!I was quite shocked that the marble/water ripple prints didn't take off when it was introduced in the S/S 14 collections. I actually raised this question with a few of the design studios at Premiere Vision and their response was that they were only just starting to work on marbling/water ripple briefs so hopefully this trend will gain popularity. 

An interesting observation I made while trawling through countless catwalk images was the development of this linear trend. What began as thick fluid marble-like lines seems to have taken a turn towards more geological contour lines as seen on OS maps. The Linear trend also seems to have decreased in line thickness causing the line formations to take on the appearance of fingerprints, could this be connected to the novelty hand prints that were all over the A/W 14 catwalks?(See next post).

I am finding it extremely interesting analysing prints for A/W 14 after having an insight at Premiere Vision into what the trend predictions are for S/S 15. I feel like, with this knowledge, I am now able to cross-reference what I have identified on the catwalks with future trend predictions to make a more informed decision of which trends I think will stand strong.

Print trend catwalk analysis A/W 14: Grids and hounds-tooth

I'm trying to break down the print trend posts into groups of two so that it isn't too overwhelming, I have first hand experience that being exposed to too much imagery all at once can really baffle your brain!So here are the next two print trends:

Grids....hitting the AW/13 catwalks hard in the form of traditional tartans, the grid trend is still around. IfI'm completely honest I'm not a huge fan of this trend, in terms of print, there is only so much you can do with a grid to create a contemporary update. In this board I have tried to use examples where I think thegrids used are quite fresh and unique. A particular favourite of mine is the A Detacher dress(No.10) which breaks up the solid grid lines with a mark making effect. When looking at the catwalk print trends I am constantly aware of the implications each trend has on knitwear and how workable each trend is. Unfortunately, grids and tartans can prove problematic with some knit factories as regular, straight lines can be difficult to print. The A Detacher mark making grid could be a great solution to this issue.

Another trend that was surprisingly popular for A/W 14, particularly at New York fashion week, was houndstooth. Another traditional fabric for the Autumn/Winter season, could houndstooth be the 2014 answer to 2013's tartan?I sincerely hope not...but it appears to be making a comeback. Fortunately I did come across some tame and tasteful ways of incorporating the houndstooth print into garments. Despite my distaste for the houndstooth fabric(in my opinion it's almost as bad as the Burberry check)I do love the J by JS Lee take on this trend with the blue to lilac houndstooth ombre(No. 12 below)and the blurred bleach resist effect of the Jil Sander Navy houndstooth trouser. I think both of these techniques are a great way to update the houndstooth print, they completely soften what is in its original black and white format, an overtly garish fabric. Another runway designer who, I feel, worked the houndstooth trend very well was ICB- their broken up houndstooth placement prints against a white base felt fresh and futuristic not garish and overpowering. 

These two trends are not my favourites, but I don't think they should be dismissed as they proved to be very popular featuring in most of the well known collections(Chloe, DKNY, Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang et al.). As with every trend there is always a way of interpreting thing to suit a variety of contexts, although the general consensus on the houndstooth check is that it can only be worn by the daring, the softer ombre interpretations of this trend could prove to be extremely commercial!

Womeninmaking competition and runway print trend analysis AW/14: Florals!

This post is a bit of a mash up. I'd like to start by saying a huge thank you to everyone who follows me on bloglovin and google+ and everyone who has ever viewed my page as this week I surpassed 30,000 page views (I'm now on around 35,000) such a motivation to feel like people are actually reading and responding to what I'm posting.

Secondly I would really love it if everyone could take 2 minutes to click on the link below and vote for me to be shortlisted for the Women in making competition. If i get shortlisted I have the chance to win £10,000!I'd really appreciate it if as many of you as possible could vote. I am currently in the lead with the most votes but there are 38 days left of the competition and I am eager to keep up the voting momentum! If you do vote please comment on this post saying "Done" as I am adding each voters name into a limited edition print which will be released if I get shortlisted!

Anyway here's the link, get voting please and encourage your friends/families/colleagues to do the same:


Now that the shameless plug is out of the way I can move on to the long awaited runway print trend analysis...

Let's start with florals!Consistently popular amongst the high end and high street designers, florals are feminine, commercial and completely changeable-hence their appeal. The most popular floral update for the next season was the dark ground floral, championed by anna sui, msgm, Diane Von Furstenerg and topshop unique to name a few. Darker florals for Autumn/Winter aren't particularly groundreaking, but this floral trend provides a new update for the dark ground floral moving away from the tired dark floral/dark ground combo towards florals with a stark black ground and bright bold floral imagery. I am a huge fan of any trend that prevents a return to minimalism and promotes print and colour, these dark ground florals are the perfect way to inject colour into the default monochromatic winter wardrobe.

Blurred florals are the second new AW/14 floral update, reminiscent of watercolour paintings and slow shutter speed motion photography, could this be an offshoot of the artistic painterly trend?Maybe as a reaction to the art attack fashion movement that has emerged over the past year, blurred photographic prints are going to increase in popularity. If this is the case it's going to be problematic for printed knitwear which favours screen over digital printing.

 Although the blurred floral trend wasn't as prolific as the dark ground update, it provides a softer floral alternative which I think has the longevity to continue through to SS/15. The majority of designers who introduced the blurred trend into their collections( MSGM, Peter Som and Vera Wang) combined this with the dark ground floral.

Over the next week I will post all of my catwalk print trend boards and follow them up with style posts interpreting the high end AW/14 trends on a high street budget.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Milan and Paris fashion week faves!

Two weeks ago I blogged about my favourite collections from New York and London fashion weeks ( and with the fashion weeks now over, here are my favourite collections from Milan and Paris.....

Milan fashion week
Dolce and Gabbana kick off my Milan fashion week faves with a strong woodland themed collection. Bright colours(an interesting and welcome change for the AW season) and an abundance of applique animal trims. All of the animal imagery in this collection is extremely stylised and reminiscent of patchwork animal designs, this creates a very comfortable and homely feel to the collection. 

Next in my list of favourites is Etro. A brand that never disappoints, the A/W 14 collection combined their trademark detailed paisley designs with folkloric inspired prints. Etro showed a collection that was on trend but true to its own style. Tassel necklaces, detailed prints and layered silks- this collection was one of the few that I would happily wear on a day to day basis!

Antonio Marras- another designer from Milan fashion week who presented a collection which included woodland animal imagery. Taking a turn to a more arctic climate, wolves seemed to feature strongly in this collection alongside delicate painted florals. 

MSGM managed to combine several of the key trend for next season in their collection: Dark background florals, painterly brushstrokes, human features and blurred florals. All of which I will be blogging about over the next week.In this collection I particularly loved the delicacy of the ink drip faces and lips.

The painterly trend introduced a few seasons ago is set to continue into A/W 14 and at Milan fashion week no designer championed this trend more than Sportmax. With bold primary colour brushstrokes and Jackson Pollock inspired paint splodge prints, Sportmax showed a collection of rightly coloured artistic chaos. As a chaotic artist, it was only natural that I absolutely loved this trend.

Paris fashion week

Paris....I'll be honest here- I was actually hugely disappointed by the collections at Paris fashion week. Although there were some amazing silhouettes and great knitwear pieces, from a print perspective Paris was very minimalist and quite dull. 

Despite this there were two designers' collections that caught my eye.
Kenzo, of course, has become a consistent feature on my blog. The creative masterminds behind opening ceremony have applied the same 'pzazz'(for want of a better word!)to the Kenzo brand and it seems that whatever Kenzo sends down the catwalk becomes a mega trend. For their A/W 14 collection, prints included mechanical imagery(spanners, screws, cogs etc) curvilinear shapes and zig zag geometrics. With a secondary colour palette: purple, green and orange, reminiscent of tic tacs. It will be interesting to see if the mechanical imagery takes off, I hope it does as it's a nice change from feminine florals and pretty little love hearts!

Yohjhi Yamamoto presented an extremely psychedelic collection of voluminous and exaggerated silhouettes covered in 'trippy' graffiti style prints. The whole collection felt a little like a hallucinogenic induced nightmare, but, after seeing the other Paris collections, the avant garde collection with its insane bursts of colour was more than welcome on the runway!    

So there are the last of my fashion week faves!I am in the process of pulling all my catwalk research together to bring you some print trend boards for A/W 14 and will be posting them over the next week so stay tuned!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Premiere Vision report!

For those who don't know, Premiere vision is a huge textile trade fair which takes place twice a year in Paris and is an event where design studios have the opportunity to show their collections to a range of buyers. I have been before as a student to carry out trend research, and again as a freelance designer in an attempt to sell my designs but this time I was representing a company which is an altogether different experience!

The print department is a relatively new addition to the design team where I work,because of this, there has never been a print trip to PV before. In previous years the knitwear designers have visited and bought fabric samples to use as prints but gravitated towards the digital prints which aren't very workable for the company, no fault of their own-they bought the beautiful prints they thought would sell! However, because of this, we were on a very strict budget to prevent wasting money on prints that wouldn't be applicable to knitwear. This proved to be somewhat challenging when it came to purchasing prints! We had to choose designs that would be extremely commercial,  that the (very fussy) buyers would love, that were screen printed not digital, preferably one or two colours, that were bang on trend.....simple right? 

It was so interesting experiencing the buying side of the industry and I genuinely loved seeing the variety of designs each studio had in the Indigo section of the event!We saw collections from Keeler Gordon, Sam Morray design, Amanda Kelly(a company who offered me a freelance position when I first moved to London) Baxter Fawcett, Tom Cody, Pattern and Cake studios! It was so difficult buying as a representative of a company as you have to make sure you aren't too influenced by personal preferences which is a lot more difficult than it may sound!

Image courtesy of Indigo:

Another great thing about looking around the studios in Indigo is that you get to talk to experienced people who have been in the industry for years and set up their own studios. I loved having the chance to speak with them all and hear their feedback on what designs had been selling well, what was in demand and what they are currently working on!I also surprised myself with my catwalk/trend knowledge and managed to recall information I didn't even know I had!For the first time in my life I actually felt like a confident designer and I received some feedback from the studio owners saying that they were shocked that this was my first 'proper' job and PV buying trip-an immense reassurance for me as I was a quivering wreck underneath my mask of professionalism!

So that's my personal feedback from PV but this post was actually meant to focus on the upcoming trends for S/S 15. So here they are....

The trend section of premiere vision was a great insight into what the print predictions are for S/S 15, some of them I loved...others...not so much! I did try and take photos to put on this blog post but the PV security team seemed to take their jobs very seriously, cornering anyone caught in act of photography and forcing them to delete images. Thankfully, with the introduction of selfies last year, I managed to take a few cheeky photos but all others are courtesy of Stylesight and WGSN reports.

Trend predictions

The key trends highlighted at PV were:

- Freehand(love this trend): sketchy textures, distressed filters, scribbles, illegible text

- Teeming flowers(not a fan of this one): close together ditsy florals similar to liberty prints.

- De-saturated: digital prints with washed out colours, de-saturated tropical prints.

-Blurred: fading in and out of focus also a trend on the current A/W 14 catwalks championed by Peter Som, Tia Cibani and Vera Wang.

Left to right: Tia Cibani, Laura Biagiotti, MSGM, Peter Som, Vera Wang.

-Exotic gardens: dark tropical scenes, orchids, foliage Hawaiian prints

-Palm trees: an offshoot of the tropical trend but one that seemed to be consistent throughout the studios

- Ink sketched: painterly scribbled circles, similar style to the new Burberry collection see my previous post on New York and London fashion week favourites:

- Pencilled(I love this trend similar the ink-sketched trend), floral outlines over posse painted/inky shapes, scribble shading over florals.

-Aquatic motion(a somewhat unexpected trend) this was where the trend team had introduced the marble/ water ripple prints that had been present in the S/S 14 collections of Peter Som and Rachel Comey see here(, Fish repeat prints, fish scales, fluid watercolour prints- could all this be inspired by Kenzo's  S/S 14 collection?

Some of the prints from the aquatic trend section of PV.

Kenzo S/S 14 campaign

- Curious figuratives(another of my favourites): palm tree repeats, pineapples, fish over tonal brushstrokes,ice cream sundae repeat(makes me feel very on trend as this was one of the prints I designed for Keka)
First 3 images left to right taken from Stylesight, image far right my own design.

- Ethnic accents(although I love ethnic design and primitive patterns I felt this trend was one of the weakest) okay style prints fading into ombres, small geos similar to Carolina Herrera.
Left to right: first 3 images taken from the A/W 14 Carolina Herrera collection, last 2 images taken from the Stylesight PV report.

-Freshened up( I disliked this trend so much that I didn't even write anything in my notes from PV- it was an odd combination of prints that felt very disjointed!

-Miniaturised (I love the mini conversationals in this trend) After a season of artistic oversized prints and expressive experimentation, prints have been shrunk to a tiny scale and orderly layout! Miniature repeats included: cocktails, ice creams, boats, deck chairs, sand buckets, whales, seahorses, ditsy florals, mini faces.

- Super position florals: this trend didn't seem very conceptual to be honest, it wasn't very fresh and had obvious catwalk copies from Preens' S/S 14 collection and Dries Van Notens' S/S 14 collection-not as forward thinking as I had hoped the trend department would be!

Left: Preen S/S 14, Right: Dries Van Noten S/S 14

Images taken from Stylesight.

Studio wise these were the trends I picked up on:

-Nautical-lots of beach themed conversationals

- Fruit- there were so Many fruit prints on all the stalls, one of my favourites was a quirky leopard face made up from pieces of fruit/not the most commercial of designs but I loved it none the less!

-Painterly brushstrokes

-Mixing florals with small scale geometrics- loved the contrast here- mixing floral and tile style geometrics
-Black and white optical illusion style prints- after seeing several of these my brain suffered from an image overload very Bridget Riley!
- Abundance of cat conversationals possibly a reaction to Markus lupferd pre ss14 collection and Miley Cyrus sporting a cat twin set!

- Mini figuratives usually on a beach it was all very retro 1950s tea dress style prints  possible a reaction to resumption Chisato etc and their small synchronised swimmers

- Abstract was huge, white noise textures almost animal prints, scratchy textured prints with a strong black and white theme!

The trends from PV I think will be most popular for S/S 15 are:

- Nautical/aquatic
- Mini conversationals
-Exotic holiday/50s prints, quirky beachy conversationals, tropical florals, fruit prints
-Abstract textures 
-Blurred florals
-Continuation of the pencilled painterly trend

In all honesty, I wasn't completely enthused by the trend predictions at PV, it feels like designers have loosened the reigns slightly,experimenting with the merging of art and fashion, only to have prints return to familiar and stereotypical spring prints like florals, fruit and tropicals. I do,however, love the new abstract/textural trend and am particularly happy that the painterly trend is having this much longevity.