With Spring on its way, there is extreme pressure to get on board with patterns. With this in mind at the weekend, I happily marched off to Liberty with a voucher and a burning desire to spend some cash. After serious cognitive intervention, I backed away from the Manolos and tried on a Peter Pilotto print dress. I emerged from the dressing room to a couple of swooning salespeople, flapping wildly about the intricacy of the pattern. ‘Look at this signature chain detail, woven into the silk – and that’s just the foundation of what is an amazing print!’
As a woman, I appreciate that all of that is true. I wonder if a man, however, would see this dress as he saw one of those early 90s 3D posters – you know the kind where if you squint your eyes up and look long enough, Jesus’s face will emerge… or a palm tree… or a Rolling Stones mouth?
While this dress probably doesn’t have any of those features, it did seem to convert my breasts into Lara Croft-like wireframes. I suppose that’s a score for the men. Otherwise, I fear that patters might do to men what they do to the eye. Confuse.
The same goes for these Liberty, tropical and/or floral prints, rumoured to be all the rage this season. Are the feminine? Yes. Do they attract the eye? No question. But aren’t they just a little… Little House on the Prairie for these times? Oh wait, we are making them modern by clashing them.
I read once that the difference between art and fashion is that art, in its time, is unpopular and later proves beautiful whereas fashion is at first popular and later seen as ridiculous. Except the classics. Like the little black dress. Men, in their wisdom, like those. Well done, men.
I take it back – maybe patterns don’t confuse men at all. Maybe men just see through them to the susceptible fashion victim underneath – and recognise that more straightforward styling choices reflect a stronger pattern of thought.
As a post script, I never bought the dress (more down to fit than pattern). The salesperson did try her best to convince me; she even brought me a pair of shoes to compliment the outfit. She went with the classic choice – the Manolos, and so then did I.