Pret Reporteur: It’s A Printed Spring ’12

September 19, 2011 • Magazine, Pret Reporteur

The first of four, New York Fashion Week sets the groundwork for the trends we’ll be seeing in the upcoming season. Whether it’s establishing a new color palette (nearly every collection contained a pop of cobalt — stock your wardrobes!), clothing shapes, or a great new beauty trend, New York put the machine in motion. One of the most interesting, and eye-popping, trends that emerged from fashion week for Spring 2012 was an upsurge in prints (and I’m not talking floral). Inspired by so many different elements, Spring’s print trends speak to an exciting visual palate for next season, and an opportunity for some striking experimentation.

Here’s a breakdown of the top five different print trends for Spring 2012:


The graphic look was everywhere on the runways. Like with Alice + Olivia’s geometric exploration of print texture, there was a definite appeal towards the incorporation of shapes (polka dots, color blocking, lines) to not only add visual contrast, but to support color opposition as well. Rather than going for volume of shape, just go for shapes in general! Quirky and witty, the graphic appeal is always a striking way to explore prints.


Impressionistic prints work so well with clothing, especially on a garment that moves, because the idea behind impressionism is to capture the glimpse of a moment. Costello Tagliapietra’s spongy, softly defined printed satin dresses are a perfect example of how impressionistic prints can be both soft and striking when on a garment. Go for something that has movement and incorporates pops of color — this is a print trend that’s timeless.

The Anti-Floral Floral

Perhaps the most staid, stereotypical element of spring trend reports is that alert that florals are big for spring. Of course florals are big for spring — flowers bloom in the spring, they evoke the season and also happen to look very pretty on well-made dresses. That’s why Proenza Schouler’s Anti-Floral Floral print is ideal — it embraces the concept of florals but infuses the print with sharp edges that create a jagged, protracted experience, rather than one that’s sweet and charming. So if you want to go floral, look for a print that could kick someone’s ass. Think Venus Flytrap, not daisy.


There’s a sex appeal to spring that is less apparent for fall — hemlines get shorter, garments are drawn in tighter, and it’s all about the leg. This season, designers took that a step further by exploring prints that evoke the bedroom. Lace embellishments, antique patterns that are reminiscent of a vintage negligee — prints that are coquettish, fun, and tres tres sexy. Anna Sui’s diaphanous romper with its contrasting lace prints is a perfect example of how to use prints to say “Come hither.” In a good way.

Lines and Stripes

There’s something really wonderful about a good set of stripes, or a lined print, that can encompass a look and make it something truly styled and special. Libertine’s SS12 collection was grounded in stripes that moved vertically down the body and were present in every minute detail. Although this use of stripes is a bit more audacious than, say, something nautical, it shows the lengths to which such prints can transform a look. There’s endless possibility in terms of contrast, direction, shape and color — you’re definitely going to want some striped patterns in your closet this spring.

1. Alice + Olivia  SS12 RTW
2. Costello Tagliapietra SS12 RTW
3. Proenza Schouler
4. Anna Sui SS12 RTW
5. Libertine’s SS12 RTW

— Amanda Aldinger

Photos: NYMag

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