How to do mashed up prints this season
In sync with Spring/Summer 2018’s head-turning trends, prints are bigger, bolder, and a mix of opposites. Alessandro Michele of Gucci set up a canvas of contradictions on the Cruise and Spring/Summer runways, bringing together an assortment of prints and colours. At the Hermès Spring/Summer 2018, the mood was minimal as Madras squares and checks of varying proportions played along with the label’s signature Grand Manège print.
If you looked closely, prints were all over the Spring/Summer 2018 runways, not to mention the street-style stars crowding the venue and front rows—from Marni’s whimsical pattern mixes and Mary Katrantzou’s puffy silhouettes to Balenciaga’s edgy layers.
Bringing print play from runways to reality, however, can take some mastery. With the spotlight on the season’s most eclectic prints, we got the stalwarts to give us the cheat sheet on achieving print perfection.
Find your colour match by Manish Arora, designer
“Prints have been a part of my aesthetic from my inception,” says Manish Arora, whose larger-than-life designs are dominated by standout motifs. Owning the garment is key to making an effortless statement in prints. “I work with clashing prints all the time, and I think if you’re confident, you would be able to pull any look off,” he says.
Arora suggests using complementary colours to combine clashing prints. “The easiest way to know which colours will look good when clashed is to use the colour wheel,” he says. “Match the hues at the opposite ends (e.g., red and green) and that should give you your complementary colour.” For a simpler measure, he adds, “You can also use a belt to break two clashing prints for a balanced look—corset belts are so in this season.”
Mix prints like wearable art by Anupamaa Dayal, designer
Known for her bohemian chic sensibilities, Anupamaa Dayal has had a long relationship with prints that she compares with art. “Prints are a great way to express myself,” she says. “I’ve always thought of my print blocks as pens for the stories I tell in my collections.”
Keeping with the current trend of head-to-toe prints, Dayal suggests, “Work colours before you work print—keep the print uniform and experiment with the shades of the same colour. In the next step, pick one dominant print and use other patterns to complement it.” For Dayal, deciding your ensemble is a creative act. “My advice would be to tap into your mood each morning and think of how you feel,” she says. “Pull out all your clothes and spend some time thinking of how you can put it together—a little practice and you’ll get there.”
Go subtle for everyday wear by Prayag Menon, fashion stylist
Prayag Menon, whose natural flair for styling has led to collaborations with brands like Indelust, Miuniku and Shift by Nimish Shah, makes a case for restrained elegance and coordination. “As I work in fashion, workwear doesn’t have a fixed code. However for those in more traditional or streamlined professions, prints in subtler hues and colours look great,” he says.
Menon recommends brown or earthy-toned florals for workspaces. I personally like the idea of coordinated printed sets,” he says. “It doesn’t cause a clash and creates quite a chic statement.” Citing Emilio Pucci, Missoni, Sanchita, and Hemant & Nandita as favourites for their mixed prints, he adds, “The only formula one needs to apply is to enjoy oneself while experimenting with prints.”
Play with proportion by Karuna Laungani, designer and stylist
Fans of home-grown label JODI love the brand for its playful composition of colours and eclectic motifs. Gauri Verma and Karuna Laungani, the label’s founders, seek inspiration in travel and nature—their previous collection was a tribute to Bhutan and their forthcoming spring line focuses on the sea.
Laungani thinks of proportion and colours as an effective way to strike a balance. “I like pairing a really busy floral print with a geometric pattern,” she says. While print mixing may seem daunting to some, Laungani sees it rooted in Indian traditions. She says, “We have so many diverse prints and inspirations in our culture, and we need to learn from them”.
Choose a common element by Hemant and Nandita Lalwani, designers
Prints are a constant fixture for designers Hemant and Nandita, whose latest collection is a melange of vintage patterns on a pastel background inspired by the film Picnic At Hanging Rock. “When two prints are mixed together, it gives new meaning to the original print,” says Hemant. “Your perspective of the entire look can change.”
The trick to mixing prints, according to the duo, lies in finding a common element between the garments. “It could be a similar pattern, hues that complement each other or even the inspiration,” Nandita says. “Your instinct might be to grab two totally different patterns but stick to a single theme.” A combination that never lets them down? “Mixing variations of minute florals is always a winner.”
Consider position, detail and size by Akshay Tyagi, fashion stylist
Stylist to actors Varun Dhawan and Siddharth Malhotra, Akshay Tyagi loves playing with pattern. While contrast and balance are the cornerstones of mixing prints, Tyagi also draws attention to size and detailing. “Keep the size and position of prints as well as your body type in mind—make sure there’s breathing room between prints,” he says. Staples like shirts can do with softer prints while big prints lend well to statement ensembles. Tyagi has a soft spot for clever detailing and textures. “Look for prints on the lining, plackets and cuffs,” he says. “Prints in gold, silver, foil and screen can also add texture to the look.” Tyagi’s favourites include designs by ERDEM, Etros, Prada and Kenzo. “Hermès also has some great prints and Gucci has showcased a lot of prints in recent designs,” he says. Closer home, he looks to Manish Arora, Ritu Kumar, Shivan & Narresh and péro for their pattern mixing—“and Masaba appeals to the younger demographic,” he adds.