Roses have long been a source of inspiration for poets, artists, and lovers alike, and this season, designers are embracing the allure of these flowers to craft collections that evoke a sense of romance, femininity, and nostalgia.
While florals for spring are hardly revolutionary (as the famous line from The Devil Wears Prada reminds us,) for 2024 the rose in particular emerged as a fragrant and timeless symbol that took centre stage on the runways of New York, London, and Paris. This iconic flower, with its rich history and multifaceted symbolism, has seamlessly woven its way into the fabric of the season's dresses and accessories, captivating the fashion industry with its timeless beauty and emotional depth.
Not just as embroideries and prints, roses were shown in three dimensions, most spectacularly at Balmain in Paris where pieces were adorned with roses made from patent leather, porcelain and even sculpted plastic water bottles, while fabric was twisted into bouquets of rosettes spilling across the model’s shoulders and defining their waists. Fifty pieces from the collection were stolen in a van at Charles de Gaulle airport, prompting creative director Olivier Rousteing to ponder the “thorn” in the circumstances. The show still went on in the “spirit of the flower,” he said. (Most of the pieces were subsequently recovered by Paris Gendarmes).
The Balmain Spring 2024 collection was a nod to Gertrude Stein, who famously penned the phrase “a rose is a rose is a rose,” and who was a confidante of the fashion house’s founder, Pierre Balmain.
In her final Spring 2024 collection, Gabriela Hearst at Chloé whorled fabric into rosettes on black and white dresses with strappy floral sandals, and Marni showed 3D hand cut fabric roses. While ballet pink, black, red and white were the predominant colours, at London Fashion Week, David Koma showed both embroidered and appliqued neon-coloured roses.
Fresh roses were also in bloom on the Spring runways; Simone Rocha, for example, showed pale pink roses inside sheer black dresses for a whimsical and romantic look at the English National Ballet in London. In Paris, Japanese label Undercover by Jun Takehashi went so far as to close its show with models in glowing terrarium dresses containing live roses and butterflies that were later released. While silky vegan fabrics have been made from roses for a number of years, Jennifer Lopez caused a sensation in January at Paris Couture Week wearing a coat made of real white rose petals to the Schiaparelli show, taking the trend to the next level.