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Item of the week: the floral maxi dress

By Rachel Douglass

4 May 2022

Fashion

(From left) Image: Ted Baker, Molly Bracken, Premium

What it is:

The floral maxi dress is a trend that is continuously evolving, making it an item that never actually falls out of fashion. Particular styles that were prominent on the runways for AW22 included oversized, blocky flowers or more delicate florals, often merged with paisley prints. Each pattern exhibited a different take on the floral dress, with bolder prints present in more modern forms and intricate patterns possessing qualities reminiscent of fashion trends of the past. Silhouettes also varied on the runways, with some designers opting for exaggerated shapes, a new take on the floral dress, while others stuck with familiar cuts, like a cami or a cocktail gown. Either way, it seems the floral dress will once again continue to make its mark on the industry for the coming season.
Image: Madewell

Why you’ll want it:

A floral maxi is a safe addition to a collection, as it regularly comes back around as one of the main trends for the spring and summer seasons. However, with the new iterations that were present on the runway for AW22, it is clear that this is a dress style that is going to be seen more often, as the year goes by. Many of these designs utilised long sleeves and a layered silhouette, making them more suitable for the colder months. Prints presented for this season were also highly varied, bringing many different style options to the table for those looking for something that fits closely to a particular brand identity.
Image: Superdry

Where we’ve seen it:

Richard Quinn was arguably the most notable adopter of the floral maxi dress, presenting a range of exaggerated gowns as part of the brand’s AW22 runway show. Bold flower prints encapsulated ballooning dresses, which were often paired with a dark latex bodysuit underlayer. Rejina Pyo also opted for statement floral prints that appeared to hold painted texture over the casual cocktail dresses shown by the label. Meanwhile, Zimmermann’s AW22 collection, on the other hand, drew influences from the 70s hippie era, with flared hems and plenty of tassels. This style was present in the brand’s range of long flowing dresses, complete with florals that clashed subtly with paisley prints, either present on tiered gowns or floor-skimming looks hemmed with pompoms.
Image: Nicowa

How to style it:

Depending on which print you opt for, there are a variation of ways the floral maxi can be styled. If you lean more towards Zimmermann’s hippie vibes, pair the dress with a fringe vest, leather boots and a wide-brimmed hat to channel the 70’s look. On the other hand, if the print is more reminiscent of Richard Quinn’s bold, all-over patterns, steer towards block colours, like a jacket with a contrasting shade and some bright boots. No matter what print, a long line coat can always work with this dress style. Add a thick cropped sweater to bring the floral maxi into the colder seasons and make it a piece that can be worn all year long.
Image: Dorothee Schumacher
The floral maxi dress will always be a pivotal part of fashion, returning each year with new silhouettes, print styles and textile techniques. And this year is no exception. It's a style that can bring any collection to life as a statement look, and it can help to define any desired identity or mood a brand is going for.
Image: Niza

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