Style focus: Stripes vs florals

Have you noticed how some fashion ‘trends’ never actually go out of style?

The big spring/summer fashion debate has been stripes vs florals for decades and not just for hanging out on yachts or going to garden parties. Using archive photography, art and illustration see a visual history of these timeless opposing styles; from gamine Breton stripes to feminine florals.

If in doubt mix it up!

Left: St. Jean de Luz, the crew having lunch on the quay, 21st June 1940 French Photographer, Archives de Gaulle, Paris Right: Viv in Blue Stripes, 1914 by Robert Cozad Henri (1865-1929)
Left: St. Jean de Luz, the crew having lunch on the quay, 21st June 1940 French Photographer, Archives de Gaulle, Paris
Right: Viv in Blue Stripes, 1914 by Robert Cozad Henri (1865-1929)

The sailor stripe style was introduced in 1858 as the uniform for the French navy and became a fashion hit when Coco Chanel incorporated the stripes into her 1917 nautical collection. The casual design helped break away from the heavily corseted fashion of the time, forever changing female fashion.

 When Flowers Return, c.1911 by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Photo © Peter Nahum at The Leicester Galleries, London
When Flowers Return, c.1911 by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Photo © Peter Nahum at The Leicester Galleries, London

The Ancient Greeks and Egyptians used flowers for adornment and in the Roman Period floral inspiration was worked into royal crowns. This is still a popular look for many festival fans over the summer months.

Left: Young Japanese girl in a kimono and with a parasol c.1900 (coloured photo), Japanese Photographer Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris Right: Ladies beach wear (pochoir print) Walter Albini (1941-1983)
Left: Young Japanese girl in a kimono and with a parasol c.1900 (coloured photo), Japanese Photographer Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris
Right: Ladies beach wear (pochoir print) Walter Albini (1941-1983)

It is thought that the first floral printed fabrics originated from the East, with ornate designs sold to Europeans at very high prices. It was a symbol of status to wear a floral pattern, unlike many of the floral dresses on the high street today.

Left: Young Japanese girl in a kimono and with a parasol c.1900 (coloured photo), Japanese Photographer Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris Right: Ladies beach wear (pochoir print) Walter Albini (1941-1983)
Left: Young Japanese girl in a kimono and with a parasol c.1900 (coloured photo), Japanese Photographer Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris
Right: Ladies beach wear (pochoir print) Walter Albini (1941-1983)

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See more images of floral design and fashion in the Bridgeman archive

See more images of stripes and fashion in the Bridgeman archive

Contact our sales team on uksales@bridgemanimages.com to enquire about licensing these images for reproduction and publication.

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