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Aug 18

Fruit Prints Are This Summer’s Biggest Trend—But They Have a Long History in Fashion

Have you been drowning the summer away in Aperol Sprtizes while wearing an HVN cherry dress with Susan Alexandra cherry earrings and cherry-adorned Mary Janes from Clara Cornet’s Carel collaboration? I have. And in consciously consuming every produce print I can get my hands on, including a vintage Sônia Bogner dress I copped on TheRealReal, and lusting after a few more (see this ’70s maxi dress from Morphew), I’ve realized that no pattern will come to define the summer of 2018 quite like a fruit one.

They’re everywhere, inescapable, like the sticky humidity in the subway or the selfies from a Revolve-sponsored weekend in Bermuda. Once you open Instagram, you’re guaranteed to see something fruit-printed. There’s a cute Ganni clutch. Scroll further and you’ll come upon Prada’s remake of its Spring 2011 bananas. Later, a beaded pair of Altuzarra sandals that look like something Carmen Miranda would have worn.

Dior's berry toque, at left, in a 1953 edition of Vogue alongside a tomato-embroidered dress by Givenchy

Dior’s berry toque, at left, in a 1953 edition of Vogue alongside a tomato-embroidered dress by Givenchy

Illustration by Carl Oscar August Erickson, Vogue, May 1, 1953

It’s not unprecedented in fashion. Go back to the 18th century, and you’ll find records of the aristocracy wearing waistcoats embroidered with berries. (Speaking of which, is that a berry or a bloom on Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2018 version?) In a more modern era, Elsa Schiaparelli, fashion’s great subverter and Surrealist, delivered a toque hat of bacchanal grapes in 1939. Dior had a sweeter take on his tart topper of 1953, with cherries, blueberries, and strawberries coming to a widow’s peak between the wearer’s eyebrows. In those two hats, you have the two conflicting sides of this delicious trend: With Schiap, it’s carnal, consumable. With Dior and his femmes-fleurs, it’s naive, tender, all-natural, almost girlish. This makes the great fruit-print renaissance of 2018 more complicated. This year and last, stories of sexual harassment and assault have come to dominate our news cycles. We are educating ourselves to be aware of our power, our privilege, our bodies, and to speak out and defend ourselves against the transgressions we’ve suffered. And we’re doing it while wearing a cheery cherry dress?

Why not? Fashion has come to embrace irony now more than ever, with the boundaries of seriousness and frivolousness, and high and low ever blurring. Over the past decade or so, ironic, iconic fruit prints have reemerged on the runways, from Phoebe Philo’s Spring 2004 bananas at Chloé to Stella McCartney’s tropical fruit salad of Spring 2011 to Rei Kawakubo’s memento mori, Northern Renaissance–inspired fruits for Comme des Garçons Spring 2018. As Mrs. Prada said of her Spring 2011 collection, “It’s time to be bold.” Amen, sister.


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