It’s a bounty of lush prints for Spring Summer 2020, if we ever get back to normalcy…
Right now, I think we’re all wondering, is this “keep calm and carry on” or “life is as we know it is over”? I alternate feelings and through it all, continue to work remotely from home and on as normal a schedule as possible. I have to continue to earn income (now for the purpose of saving rather than planning to spend), and my job and company are lucky to be almost entirely internet-based, so our day-to-day operations aren’t hugely affected by a quarantine. Of course, retail spending has dropped considerably since the pandemic swept the world.
In any case, it’s really unfortunate because this spring summer 2020 fashion season, which we’re basically in the precise middle of (in terms of collections dropping), is full of really dreamy, beautiful, and inventive prints and plays on colors that are (for once) genuinely artistic and obsession-worthy. I started noticing many of them on our site and thought, why not do a round-up of the dreamy prints of the season—for both women and men.
Florals, Fruits, & Vegetables
Florals for spring are nothing new, but now there are endless variations: classic flowers (Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten), nontraditional floral colors (purple Dolce), leafy plants (also Dolce & Gabbana), mixed botanicals (Stella McCartney), and entire plant/animal scenes crossed with Disney cartoons (Gucci).
I love artistic, almost abstract interpretations like this brushstroke Marni skirt, which feels fresh and new—something I would have happily pushed on my mom—while Miu Miu is doing a neat thing with floral motifs made in a beaded mosaic paired with bamboo, another nod to the organic world.
For something both abstract and natural, I’m fascinated and a little disturbed by this Maison Margiela cherry print shirt. The maraschino cherry part is clear, but the rest looks vaguely like fish scales, or a honey comb. And then on the back, there appears to be a wing. Or maybe it’s an eye? This is precisely the sort of thing that is a future cult piece, destined to be sought after in its obscurity.
Other, more agreeable repeating patterns? Jacquemus has this cheerful artichoke print for men. I am obsessed with it because it’s for once not a citrus fruit, not a flower, and he’s applied it not only to camp-collar shirts but also to tees, hats, bags, and leather pouches. Ever the cheeky choice for a summer party (if we ever get to have those again).
Landscapes & Still Lifes
Who says a garment worn on a body can’t also show a full landscape or still life œuvre? Several labels are doing this for spring summer 2020 in a big way: Comme des Garçons, Burberry, Casablanca, Axel Arigato, and Prada (or perhaps I just keep seeing past season at The RealReal and on Vestiaire Collective). What do seasons mean anymore anyway?
I think the landscape prints are especially lovely. That Axel Arigato Texas cloud shirt (second from right below) is fresh as hell. The brand is Swedish and started in sneakers before expanding into broader collections that are high-quality, casual, but considered (a less extreme Acne Studios).
Casablanca (second from left above) is a label to know too—started by French-Moroccan Charaf Tajer, the entire line is a blend of the Mediterranean and North Africa, French Riviera, and “a modern reimagining of the timeless après-sport aesthetic.” As a native Floridian, it feels right at home for the modern Palm Beach set.
Fancy something truly a ‘work of art’? Jacquemus has a Matisse print this season (applied to both long and short-sleeve mens shirts) that gives a thoroughly early 90s, Miami Beach, Gianna Versace-adjacent feel, except without all the gold Greek key / Medusa visuals.
For more curious and interesting prints, check out Endless Joy, whose designs are inspired by the mythology and history of Bali (below).
Abstract and Trompe L’œil
Fashion’s high end is always good for a moment (or ten) where you’re not sure quite what is going on at first. Case: Burberry’s gingham bib and double-collar, double-print sheer over opaque shirts. They’re a little strange, but more importantly, they’re fun, and still completely wearable. Something different.
I’m also a fan of other black-and-white abstract prints, as both colors are universally flattering and can work outside of the spring-summer season: Bottega Veneta’s crackled paint stroke cotton shirt (below left) in off-white and black is just abstract enough. These Homme Plissé Issey Miyake shorts (below right) are equally artful, elegant, in nearly universally-wearable off-white and green with the textural addition of stiff, small pleats.
In a world of reinterpretations of the same familiar things over and over, mashups, tricks-of-the-eye, and truly unique, almost one-off prints are really what makes items stand out and fashion worth participating in.
Spring Summer 2020 Accessories
Dolce & Gabbana, ever the master of the spring-summer prints, is probably having the most fun with accessories this season. Its maiolica print is reminiscent of Sicilian tilework, in a range of bright, cheerful colors. Looking at them, along with some of other spring summer 2020 pieces in bright colorblocking and a mixed material leather-canvas combo, I feel an instant transport to the warm waters of Capri, to my epic trip to Liguria in 2016, and warm, sultry evenings in the Italian humidity.
I leave you with two Maison Margiela prints that I love. Are they a cracked surface? Paint splatters? Lightning strikes? The sneakers are a fresh take on the New Balance aesthetic, while the wallet is pure punk with a keychain attachment. I would wait for both to go on sale. In fact, I would monitor anything you like this season for sale alerts as retailers will be desperate to move product earlier than normal given the slow-down in spending amid the coronavirus outbreak.
When we get past this historic moment in our history, which we hopefully will without too much death and destruction, it’ll be a summer filled with new realities and a new appreciation for life.
What are your favorite prints of the season? Which of the above would you wear?