Perennially chic: How fashion is getting floral this spring

Perennially chic: How fashion is getting floral this spring

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Just in time for Mother’s Day weekend, Caitlin Agnew helps you cultivate a new floral style

Mother’s Day has long been thought of as the unofficial kickoff of floral season in Canada, and in Toronto, the Toronto Flower Market (which launches its own season on May 13) has become a favourite destination for the city’s flower fanatics. Now in its fifth year, the 2017 market is growing, with new on-site perks including a botanical artist giving painting and drawing lessons, and handmade cement planters and flower seedlings on offer.

Several of the market’s new features are geared towards social-media engagement, like a flower installation at the entrance and a hand-painted face cutout sign. The beauty of flowers makes them a natural subject for Instagram, with florists around the world developing their own high-profile followings (Brooklyn’s Nicolette Camille has over 151,000 followers; Erin Benzakein of Washington’s @floretflower sits around 422,000).

On social media and at home, the aesthetic of floral arrangements is transitioning toward a more sculptural style. “Arrangements have moved away from the carefree, just-picked garden look to an intentional, structured piece,” says Toronto Flower Market founder Natasa Kajganic, adding that the focus is on texture and silhouette, highlighting the uniqueness of a single bloom. “It’s a very dense, statue-like arrangement where all the flowers become one interesting shape, but are different in texture and colour so they still stand out.”

To build your own au courant bouquet this weekend, Kajganic suggests looking for bearded irises, parrots tulips, anemone, potted roses and, of course, peonies. For a longer-lasting take on florals for spring, I’ve compiled a list of the ways bloom- boosting designers and beauty brands are incorporating pretty petals into their work.


New York-based Canadian designer Tanya Taylor regularly features floral motifs in her collections, and for Fall 2017 she lent her green thumb to her set design with custom-made vases. Until May 18, the one-of-a-kind pieces are available for purchase online at auction house benefiting the organization Free Arts NYC.


Flowers hold a special place in the hearts of moody artists and writers, like the Blaue Blume motif used by the German Romantic poets as a symbol of unfulfilled longing. Designer Anna Sui channelled that somberness in her Spring 2017 collection, casting cheerful flowers in dark shadows on sheer, flowing dresses fit for modern romantics.


Quintessentially English fragrance brand Yardley recently reformulated its classics range, updating the scents and ingredients of its English Lavender, English Rose and Lily of the Valley products and focusing on naturally-derived ingredients. Try on Yardley London Lily of the Valley Perfumed Talc ($18.49 at Shoppers Drug Mart).


The freshest floral prints are decidedly not for wallflowers. An explosion of colour at Balenciaga signalled a turn away from the prim to the psychedelic, with 1970s-inspired prints ripe for the picking.


Harness the power of petals for your beauty regimen with flower-infused skincare. Fresh’s gentle Deep Hydration Facial Toner ($55 at Sephora and select Nordstrom locations) is infused with real rose petals, working to cleanse skin of pollution particles and surface debris, while softening and increasing hydration.


  • Make a splash at the pool this summer with the limited-edition Lemlem and Joe Fresh capsule collection. Founded by model and women’s health activist Liya Kebede, Lemlem is an artisan-driven fashion line produced in Ethiopia. With pieces for women, kids, toddlers and babies, the collection features Lemlem’s signature stripes in blue, fuchsia and red, and is available in stores and online beginning May 15. For more information, visit
  • The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is offering a refresher course on Canadian fashion design and production on May 12. A lecture by Dr. Alexandra Palmer, the Nora E. Vaughan senior curator of textiles and fashion, will highlight the country’s talented tailors, dressmakers, couturiers and manufacturers with examples from the ROM’s collection. Stay for the museum’s #FNLROM Fashion, a night of music and fashion that kicks off at 7 p.m. To RSVP, visit
  • Nordstrom is getting a little Goopier. The American retailer is partnering with lifestyle website Goop for the new [email protected], a pop-up at the downtown Vancouver and Toronto locations. Running from May 12 to June 25, the initiative will include a mix of wellness-related products ranging from apparel and accessories to beauty and home. For more information, visit