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WHERE IT STARTED
The tropical, island-inspired trend isn’t exactly new – who can forget Jennifer Lopez’s printed silk Versace gown at the 2000 Grammys? But aside from this iconic moment in fashion history, traditional interpretations have often consisted of vibrant motifs – think flowers, fronds, fruits and animals – garish colours and unflattering silhouettes. Designers including Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace have long championed this loud aesthetic, while others like Dior have found subtler ways to embrace the trend. Now, things appear to be moving in a different, arguably more sophisticated, direction, as a host of designers reimagine the look within their resort collections.
Less is now more. Screen-printed leaves and vibrant colours have been replaced by hand-woven materials, hand-drawn florals and simplified shapes. The result? A timeless look that reflects a more refined attitude. Different houses are playing with linen, silk, crochet and raffia, while hero pieces include sarong skirts, maxi dresses and straw embellished accessories. Neutral palettes and sunset hues are also at the fore – marking a more contemporary way to wear colour.
Johanna Ortiz has arguably set the tone in seasons past, while Ulla Johnson always manages to put her own spin on elevated bohemian prints that feel wearable and relaxed. Gabriella Hearst’s work on both her eponymous label and at Chloé comes to mind, too – think textured fringing, vibrant crochet and natural fabrics that don’t feel dominated by pattern. Isabel Marant and Zimmerman have also jumped on the tropical train – we love how both brands have embraced muted tones, crochet and raffia, with elevated but still wearable silhouettes.
Plenty of designers incorporated crochet into their resort collections – and it’s already made its way down to the high street too.
Raffia & Straw
Jacquemus, Cult Gaia and Loewe all went big on raffia and straw in their latest shows – and there can be no doubt it’s an easy way to embrace the island vibes.
Digitally printed leaf prints have been swapped for hand-drawn stencilled floral designs that ultimately feel more minimal and timeless.
It isn't all about print – with flowing maxi dresses and sarongs, we’ve seen sunset hues take over from vibrant, rainbow brights.
The beauty of this contemporary take on the tropical trend is that the pieces feel more wearable, and there are plenty of minimalist options on offer too.
Choose elevated pieces with simple silhouettes – and remember, crochet is your friend. Alternatively, nod to the aesthetic with light prints in monochromatic colour palettes and mix and match new pieces with your favourite wardrobe staples. For example, Alex opts for a simple crochet midi, while this look by Matteau teams a simple bikini with a printed skirt. If you feel brave enough to experiment with colour, sunset tones are the way to go.
Take notes from Ulla Johnson and play with complementary patterns. Maxi dresses are one of the easiest ways to wear the trend, so let bold prints and colours do the hard work for you – just stick to simple accessories to keep the look clean. If you prefer to go all out, pick a colour from the print and find a matching bright heel or bag.
SHOP THE TREND HERE…
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