Florals Throughout Vintage Fashion

As Olana’s first house floral print blossoms onto the scene, I wanted to take a look at the inextricable connection between floral patterns and women in vintage fashion. There are few women that can resist the charm of flowers. Flowers have always been a symbol of beauty and romance and women, regardless of age or origin are captivated by their delightful existence. 

For centuries women have worn floral prints that have evoked both romance and powerfulness. From weddings to summer outings, florals have inspired women to embrace their femininity and romantic nature, whilst asserting a sense of female empowerment.  

Floral patterns can be dated back to the Medieval period, where flowers and nature scenes were reflected in embroidery. Florals made their way to Europe and Italy through the Silk Road and fifteenth to sixteenth century Italian florals were quite ornate with velvet and metallic thread. Printed florals were then popularised in the Industrial Revolution and became available to the general population in the 18th century when the manufacturing of printed fabric arrived on the scene and an array of floral prints suddenly adorned the fashion world. 

The Liberty print was notable in the 1920s; with hand-painted oriental designs coming from the brand Liberty London. Floral patterns became particularly prominent in women’s fashion of the 50s and 60s and were especially used to evoke the joy of summer. Olana muses such as Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn have donned various styles of florals throughout their onscreen and personal lives and have inspired the fashion world and audiences alike. 

Florals of the 50s and 60s are different in style, but still evoke romantic summer femininity. In the 1950s florals were dainty and light. The flower power movement came in the 60s, bringing more lively and vivacious prints. Brigitte Bardot is seen in 1958 in a floral dress matching her playful energy. Contrastly, Brigitte in Italy, 1963, in a stronger floral dress of a shift-silhouette.
Below, Audrey Hepburn wears a summery floral dress in 1955. She is seen in a white floral Givenchy dress in 1954, holding an Oscar. There is real feminine power in her wearing a delicate floral print during such a monumental moment in her career.
Floral patterns have the unique ability to arouse different feelings within their wearer and, depending on the style of print, can ignite mood and dictate tone. From bold red roses that allude to an empowered sense of femme fatale to sweet ditsy designs that offer a sense of girlish playfulness, florals can underpin personality and female energy whilst transcending time and trends. 

Today, floral prints still bring a sense of modern femininity. Olana continues the romance of florals, in a collection featuring hand-sketched blooms reminiscent of vintage summer romances. The light watercolour blossoms of the print give a nod to wild and wistful romance whilst the full bodied, striking design keeps a firm grip on the distinctive strength that is ever present in the divine female. 

In all seasons, cultures and ages, floral fashion is a timeless trend that will always remain in style. 

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