Saturday, 21 November 2015

Print trends Spring/Summer 2016

This season I've done my catwalk review boards a little differently showing the close ups of the print rather than the whole garments. Although it is great to see the scale of the print on a body I want to use these boards as a reference point for print inspiration and I think that this works best when seeing the prints on their own (also, in part because erasing around thousands of slim runway models on photoshop is not really how I want to spend my spare time).

For the stripes trend board I have stuck to showing the prints on a garment as there is no real detail in the print to merit a close up and I feel it's important to see where on the body the designers have placed the stripes.

In recent seasons we have seen a huge increase in the popularity of checks and grids on the runway collections. From traditional plaids to clean graphic grids, checks have been on the rise. SS16, however, saw a noticeable decline in checks, making way for the stripe takeover.

The collections showed a vast range of stripe sizes, colour combinations and placements. Horizontal stripes are the most popular but vertical stripes also made several appearances(Tanya Taylor, J. JS. Lee, Issey Miyake). Lines were chopped up and placed together to make spliced/intersecting stripes(Paul Smith, Milly and John Richmond), this new splicing technique is a great way to soften a stripe. I often find that the more clean graphic block stripes can be difficult to wear without looking like a square/sailor/extra in a Tim Burton production, but intersecting stripes are amazing for breaking up solid areas. In terms of colour anything goes. There are less nudes used in next seasons' stripes, but as mentioned in my SS16 colour post ( ) SS16 saw a broad range of colour from pastels to stark black and white to bold brights. My favourite colour stripes have to be those shown at Milly and Hilfiger.

I love this trend far too much. It goes so perfectly with the new boho lifestyle I've decided I'm going to have. Much to the dismay of my more fashion conscious friends, last month I bought some pattern mixing "oh so bohemian" jersey festival flares from Boohoo and I got so excited about them that I think some people were genuinely concerned. I quickly reassured them that I would not be wearing them outside the house, they are for pyjama use only. I also bought a swinging hammock chair from an Etsy store based in Nicaragua, I have this lovely romantic notion(quelle surprise) that I will spend winter curled up in my hammock chair, wearing my boho flares, drinking mulled wine and reading intellectual books by candlelight......hahaha.... I'll let you know how that works out!

Anyway PATTERN MIXING. BOHEMIAN PATCHWORK. YES. This print trend is probably a little "too much" for a lot of people, but it doesn't have to be. Obviously with this trend it can very easily go wrong and you can either end up looking like you make/dye your own clothes(badly) or like you've worn all of you're patterned garments at the same time. It doesn't have to be that complicated, pattern mixing doesn't mean everything you wear has to be patterned. Kempner mixes an abstract floral with a graphic grid, keeping both prints in pink and black and the garment still looks chic and simple; Derek Lam mixes 3 different florals in muted colours and the dress doesn't look remotely makeshift. This trend definitely gets a thumbs up from me.

There was a distinct lack of paisley and ethnic inspired prints in the SS16 collections but I felt the need to mention them in a mini mood board anyway.

I recently posted about the new romanticism trend that has emerged for Spring/Summer 2016 ( and botanical florals are a huge part of this.

Ranging in colour from black and inky blue grounds at Topshop Unique, Etro and Versus to neutral and pinky grounds at Alexander McQueen, Laura Biagiotti and Giles.These prints are soft, feminine and take obvious inspiration from vintage botanical illustrations. Preen and Mother of Pearl really nailed this trend offering delicate flora prints with both dark and light grounds. This trend also made room for the emergence of tight floral prints reminiscent of the late 19th Century Arts and Crafts movement to which William Morris belonged. Unexpected for a Spring/Summer collection as this style of floral is normally associated with autumnal collections.

This trend consists of the remnants of the 70's floral trend combined with a mixture of other floral styles. The one thing these florals have in common is that they are all flat in colour with no texture and simple shapes. Marimekko worked this trend perfectly with an amazingly bright and on trend colour palette and solid simple floral motifs. Several of the flat florals appeared to take inspiration from oriental kimono designs with dark backgrounds and pearlescent silvery floral shapes (Jil Sander, Costume National and Suno). 

I am amazed and oh so happy about the longevity of this trend.When it emerged it was the first time, in my memory, that fashion print had leaned more towards art than commercial repeats. It's always so refreshing when a completely new trend like this appears on the runway as so often it feels like the designers are running out of ideas/inspiration for their collections. 

Julien Davids' painterly florals with a hand drawn overlay demonstrate this trend at its best. I will definitely be working nto this trend and creating some hand drawn floral prints. I might even create some that can be printed onto garments/accessories. I recently came accross a website called Print all over me ( which has a range of white products(garments and accessories) you send your design to them, they show you what it will look like on a product and then they make it.

There seemed to be a lot of floral prints in the SS16 collections that didn't fall into any of the above 3 categories(botanical, flat or hand drawn) but I didn't want to leave them out of this report as many of them are great for inspiration. 

As well as hand drawn florals Spring/Summer 2016  saw the hand drawn aesthetic continued in an outline/scribble trend With freehand sketches(Valentino and Nehera), illegible scribbled text(Ashish and Gucci) erratic loose lines(Jeremy Scott and Marc Jacobs) and outline motifs(Naco Paris and Jasper Conran). There is quite a lot of freedom with this trend and how to interpret it. I quite like the linear floral route shown at Tod's and Boss Women. 

This is another trend I love- abstract prints are SO easy and fun to wear. For Spring/Summer 2016 designers are moving away from the mark making abstract prints towards spray paint and brushstroke inspired designs, it's basically wearable art- whats not to love!When renowned designers/fashion houses like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Missoni get on board with a trend you know it's serious. Chanel, in particular, worked this trend into their SS16 collection really well by layering brightly coloured hand painted shapes and changing the opacity of them to create areas of transparency. An offshoot of this hand painted abstract trend is a re-emergence of tie dye.YAY. The Valentino SS16 collection was one of my favourites and it showed the most amazing tie dye garments in really rich earthy colours, definitely worth checking out.

In recent seasons text/slogan graphics and conversational repeat patterns have been at an all time low but Spring/Summer 2016 saw a movement back towards these kind of prints. As I am constantly reminding people fashion reacts to it's surroundings which is why clothing and style is such a good way to gauge the social and economical atmosphere of a place/time period. Maybe the negativity of the news headlines over the past year has played a part in the resurgence of novelty and conversational prints, maybe the designers felt the fashion industry could use a bit of lighthearted fun?

The slogans/text on the runway for SS16 actually seemed to have a bit of a political edge, it's great to finally see a bit of grit on the catwalk- fashion, like art, makes a great political canvas. Naco Paris were particularly good at this with "Destroy fashion not the world!Help refugees!" As one of their slogans. Although extremely ironic, as this was a slogan in a high end design collection, it makes a very valid point. We are more than willing to spend £££ on new clothes but reluctant to send minimal amounts of money to help those in a less fortunate position.

 Moving swiftly onwards, before I get far too contemplative about the state of the world. with the florals many of the conversationals prints were bright colours against a dark ground(Moschino, Tata Naka and Giamba). Body parts also cropped up in a few collections from embellished hearts(arteries included) at Francesca Liberatore to Ashish's offering of a sequin biological design of  human body organs and a female nude dress(modelled by a man). Vfiles, of course, took it a step further by pasting penis repeats all over their garments....including a velvet penis ejaculating a floral motif....graphic... but bonus points for innovation. I can honestly say I have never before seen a floral ejaculating penis print. 

Despite being quite garish it does demonstrate, once again, how fashion is reacting to social norms. 2015 has seen a huge increase in awareness of transgenderism with Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner being pasted all over the news and social media and countless television documentaries educating the public about life as a transgender person(BBC "Young, trans and looking for love", "Transgender kids", Channel 4 "My transgender summer camp" and "Girls to men"). It is unsurprising that designers might feature the blurring of genders in their collections. As a direct reaction to this the majority of designers are now combining their womenswear and menswear collections to create joint women+mens collections and with many of the models it's borderline impossible to distinguish their gender at all. 

If you aren't keen on wearing a penis print or a topless nude another conversational theme that seemed to be quite popular was anything nautical. Fishing net prints at Sportmax; divers at Tsumori Chisato and fish at Stella Jean and Pucci. Max Mara even did a nod to the nautical creating a very Tim Burton esque black and white stripe collection with boating graphics and all over rope patterns. 

The next set of conversational prints are more wearable- birds and bugs. I can remember trying to persuade my previous job to let me design a range of bug/insect print after Lanvin's Autumn/Winter 2013 collection of jewel coloured bug prints was released. Apparently insect prints are "not commercial for womenswear" well this is what I was told at the time anyway, people felt that creepy crawlies were not pretty and cute enough to be on knitted jumpers. I think the Neith Nyer and Emporio Armani prints below prove this to be absolute rubbish. In my opinion if you can't adapt a high fashion trend to work for your customer, no matter how commercial and 'low end' they may be, you aren't very good at your job. Catwalk trends are there to be diluted for the high street.

Pop art style graphic repeat prints reminiscent of Andy Warhol's artworks were also popular being shown at Chanel and Au Jour le Jour.

Novelty knitwear with placement graphics seem to be increasing in popularity, they're not everywhere quite yet but there are definitely more of them than in recent seasons. Coach, Peter Jensen, Tommy Hilfiger and Trademark all featured a novelty knit.

Photographic prints, particularly black and white photos were also making a comeback with photographic nude torsos at Giamba and Taoray Wang; polaroid style photos at Jeremy Scott and Olympia Le Tan and a street scene at DKNY.

So there you have it, that's my print trend review for Spring/Summer 2016. Almost all of the prints from the catwalks are in these boards, obviously there will be a few I have missed but you get the general idea. 

Here's a quick recap:

- stripes: white based, intersecting, bright colours
- pattern mixing: splicing patterns
- paisley
- botanical florals: inspired by vintaged botanical illustrations on both dark and neutral bases
- flat florals: move on from the recent 70's floral trend, flat bold colours, no texture
- hand drawn florals: any hand painted, illustrative floral
- other florals: anything floral that doesn't fit into one of the above categories.
- linear/scribble: linear move on from the recent outline trend.
- abstract/tie dye: hand painted, brush strokes, spray paint and tie dye.
- text/slogans 
- conversationals: photographic prints, novelty placement knits,pop art conversationals, bird and bugs, the human body, and dark bases with bright colours.

It takes quite a long time to go through all of the catwalks and put these boards together so I really do appreciate it when people give feedback/appreciation/constructive criticism. It's great to know that these boards are being used for inspiration so please feel free to leave a comment or message me on facebook: or email me at:

I'll be posting my Premiere Vision report this weekend too so stay tuned :) x

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