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Color and Pattern Trends from the Spring 2014 Fashion Shows

The spring ’14 runway shows have come and gone and I am thrilled to bring you a few trend highlights from the four week event. Patterns have taken a back seat for the past several seasons, but Spring ’14 appears to be the season of the print, with many apparel designers using pattern and color as a key communication tool for sharing their vision.

Artistic Expressions Bold, expressive patterns were all the rage on the spring runway and were presented in a variety of ways, such as typography, die-cuts and woodblocks. A highlight of the runway season was a color exercise inspired pattern used throughout Chanel’s collection. The pattern used “150 different tones” and came from “a nineteenth-century sample board by Royal Talens, a company which produces oil paints for artists.” Prada continued this artist inspired trend by using a parade of oversized portraits on dresses, coats and bags and openly crediting the six artists who painted the portraits. Crediting textile designers and artists is a rarity in the apparel industry and exemplifies just how important the artist is to this spring trend.

Credit: Chanel’s color exercise pattern, via Pattern Observer’s Pinterest board and Vogue.com.

Florals Florals are an essential part of any spring runway and this season, florals seem to fall into one of two camps: soft, romantic, hand-painted florals and bold, abstract, flat florals.

In this first application, florals have a more formal, romantic feel. One of the standouts of the season was the Rousseau inspired jungle florals at Hermès. The hand-painted florals were used in a slightly oversized manner and were the highlight of the simple silhouettes. Dolce and Gabbana took the trend in a slightly different direction, inspired by ancient Grecian motifs. The collection had a very romantic, dream-like feel, in contrast to the easily relatable, romantic garden florals seen at Tory Burch.

Never fear all you Illustrator lovers out there, clean, crisp vectorized florals were used by several of the big names as well. Marc Jacobs, and Michael Kors used mid-sized florals in simple two-color patterns, while Marni and Emporio Armani layered multi-colored flowers and foliage to bring depth and dimension to the patterns.

Credit: Hermès’ Rousseau inspired jungle floral, via Pattern Observer’s Pinterest board and Vogue.com.

Warm and Cold We also saw color palettes being used in two extremes: muted tones and pop-art inspired brights. The pop art influence seen in pattern styles had a clear influence on color palettes and is a way for more conservative brands to incorporate the trend. Reds, yellows, oranges and blacks were seen at Alice + Olivia, Celine, Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana.

In contrast, muted, desaturated palettes were also seen throughout the four week event. Antonio Marras featured soft, desaturated landscapes, while Jeremy Laing and Celine applied the palettes to abstract textures and nature-inspired motifs.

Credit: Desaturated palette at Celine and pop art brights at Alexander McQueen, via Pattern Observer’s Pinterest board and Style.com.

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