by Camilla Ridley
Chelsea Flower show is an excellent early barometer of the key styles and trends for the season ahead. Here's our concise summary of what you need to know.
Camilla and friends enjoying a fabulous day at Chelsea Flower Show wearing a spectrum of statement Ridley London summer floral print silk dresses
Every year, bar a pandemic, the Royal Horticultural Society treats us to award-winning landscape architecture, creative floral displays and new bloom varieties at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Equally as captivating are the style choices on display from the Royals, celebrities, influencers and public in attendance. As the first event of the summer social season, the Chelsea Flower Show gives us more than a sartorial hint of what to expect at forthcoming daytime events and serves as a useful guide for the fashion trends that are likely to be most widely adopted for this season's key events as well for at weddings and other special occasions. Here's our summary of the trends we noticed.
Statment floral dresses:
Floral dresses are almost as much a part of Chelsea Flower Show as the flowers themselves, with so many visitors choosing to celebrate this wonderful occasion visually. So you would expect to see an array of beautiful floral dresses, but with so much poor weather this year and the fashion media talking about a 'vibe shift' away from floral dresses, we really weren’t quite sure what to expect. So you can imagine how pleased we were to see a parade of printed floral dresses in a spectrum of shades and vivid colours. Including so many young and glamorous visitors embracing this trend. Most noticeably Lady Amelia Spencer wore a classically elegant printed floral tea dress, our new Queen Camilla wore an easy yet elegant printed floral shirt dress, while the One Show's Alex Jones wore a bold statement floral shirt dress. BBC Chelsea presenter Rachel de Thame was pictured wearing her beautiful Ridley London floral printed silk chiffon Sadie dress.
Bold graphic prints:
We've certainly noticed a visible influx of bolder prints at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show complimenting more traditional, ditzier versions. This was hardly a surprise, and very much in line with fabric trends we noticed at Premier Vision in Paris earlier this year. Many of the bold statement style print dresses we saw were definitely floral while others fitted a more abstract theme. In all cases they were delivered in vibrant colours across a range of garment styles including maxi dresses, midi dresses, skirts, and tops. Stand-outs on Chelsea press day included this standout oscillating rainbow worn by BBC superstar DJ and Chelsea flower Show regular Jo Whiley and Business Women and Dragon’s Den Star Deborah Meaden and presenter, gardener and member of the House of Lords Floella Benjamin. Not to be outdone, BBC Chelsea Flower Show presenter Arit Anderson wore a new Ridley London Amalfi shirt dress in the statement Ordinance Liberty print Satin.
Shirt dresses and simpler styles:
A defined shift in dress styles was also very much apparent at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, with a move away from tiered and layered prairie styles towards altogether simpler and more modern cuts. Nowhere was this more visible than in the Princess of Wale’s choice of an understated utilitarian midi style shirt dress or the simple pretty retro revival dress worn by Actress Keeley Hawes. This style evolution is in part no doubt fashion's reflection of todays challenging times, but also part of the wider ‘vibe shift’ away from the pretty layered floral dresses we’ve become used to in recent years. Here at Ridley, we don’t believe that this necessarily has to mean the entire elimination of any feminine detailing as if used essentially, it can help to flatteringly highlight our best features and draw the eye away from other areas. Our Lola dress as worn here at Chelsea Flower Show press day by influencer Laura-Ann @all.thats.pretty is a great example of this new balanced on-trend style, combining a simple, paired back utilitarian silhouetted with a few hints of subtle feminine detailing.
Blazers over dresses
This popular and practical look was once again highly visible at Chelsea Flower Show this year, as worn here by actress Jenna Coleman and All Saints star Nicole Appleton. And it’s hardly surprising. In an environment where a floaty floral dress could be so easily compromised by the famously fickle London spring weather, the blazer over the top adds a multitude of practical and versatile layering possibilities. Whether you’re wearing it buttoned up, draped on the shoulder or carried slung, blazers bring an elegantly tailored style to every summer look. This summer’s collection of Ridley London blazers fit perfectly with the latest trends for colourless Chanel and oversized styles and can be tailored to flatter in a spectrum of colours and beautiful summer fabrics, and to work seamlessly with a particular dress.
A number of visitors to this years Chelsea Flower show decided to shift the blazer look up a notch into a full throttle tailored trouser suit. Having proved popular last year, this current summer statement favourite was once again seen strutting Main Avenue in a spectrum of vivid summer shades, paired back pastels and some appropriately full on florals. The styling shift we noticed this Chelsea has been the arrival of a wider legged trouser and a footwear shift away from the ubiquitous 'wear with anything' white trainer towards an altogether sharper and more well-heeled variety of shoe. While this statement look can at first seem a little intimidating or androgynous, particularly if you’re usually a dress wearer, the key to adopting any statement look, especially a trouser suit is getting the tailoring, jacket lengths and details correctly balanced to flatter your natural physique and also feel right. As Ridley Stylist Nathalie Riddle proclaims "There’s nothing that garners more unwanted attention than an ill fitting suit!” So get it right. And while a pre decolletage with no top can look and feel great for some, actually a floral blouse with a cropped jacket and feminine jewellery will just look and feel a more natural option for others. And in today’s versatile world where self expression is everything, It’s far better to take a look, add some personal touches and really own it than trying to exactly replicate someone else’s style.
When an impeccably styled global fashion icon like the Princess of Wales wears something, you can be sure it’s indicative of a larger trend that’s on the way in. This year she attended Chelsea Flower Show’s press day in a remarkably low key, pre-worn utilitarian shirt dress in a vibrant shade of pink. Meanwhile a whole spectrum of pink shades were on show from both the celebrities and public who attended. While pink is definitely having a moment, with Viva Magenta Pink being colour gurus Pantone’s colour of the year, pink is a great spring colour, with a diverse pallet broad enough to flatter every natural skin tone. The key is to looking great in pink is about selecting the right tone for you, or wearing it within a pattern with other colours that might be a good fit. And finally wearing it away from your face, lower down your body within a skirt or pair of trousers or accessorising it with a bag and shoes.
Ridley London's new holiday collection of summer dresses, skirts, tops, jackets and knitwear is available to purchase online and in Ridley's Barnes store. Celebrate your individuality this season with a unique piece that's individually crafted to flatter from your choice of any of our stunning new printed floral or solid silks or cottons. Or call us to arrange a virtual fitting:
Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 0203 3367900