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  Prairie prettiness

Prairie prettiness

| DIPTI
Published : Jul 30, 2016, 10:41 pm IST
Updated : Jul 30, 2016, 10:41 pm IST

It’s time to travel to the grasslands and embrace prairie chic with high necklines, floral prints, long hems and more

Creations from Laura Biagiotti, ASOS.com and Erdem
 Creations from Laura Biagiotti, ASOS.com and Erdem

It’s time to travel to the grasslands and embrace prairie chic with high necklines, floral prints, long hems and more

The catwalks were transformed into meadows as designers from Erdem and Alexander McQueen to Philosophy and Simone Rocha sent out models wearing delicate floral patchwork prints, ruffle skirts, drop-waist dresses and gowns, high-necked styles with embroidery while focusing on the 19th century European men and women who lived an isolated life on the prairie grasslands.

 

“Prairie stems from the French word for meadow,” says designer Pallavi Mohan who took to prairie madness as the inspiration for her summer collection, adding, “And life on the plains offered a freedom from conventional behaviour. Women from the prairie region were not known to sit idle or do embroidery all day. They had a functional and physical life; horse-back riding, gun-toting, rattlesnake killing, breadwinning, facing prairie fires, droughts, tornados and coyotes, and all these resonate well on their clothing culture. What they wore had to accommodate their active, outdoorsy lifestyles. They had a natural knack for layering plaids, florals and geometric prints. They’re extremely chic and wild at the same time.”

 

Go for airy, featherweight fabrics that move with ease to counterbalance the heavy prints and appliques defining a prairie chic dress, particularly if the silhouettes are floor-sweeping, she suggests. “Sheerness makes for another great way to add youthfulness to the prairie inspiration, in both the shorter and longer renditions of the dress. Use light layering as another perfect means to modernise the look, choosing lacy bras and delicate crop tops to slip underneath unbuttoned dresses,” she explains.

Designers are so drawn to the land of Laura Ingalls Wilder this year also because prairie has a timelessness and feminine appeal, says Dubai-based Indian designer Shruti Nijhawan. She shares, “There’s something contradictory about the trend itself. A prairie girl is feminine and pretty but there’s an underlying darkness too. Hence, the clothes show two opposing sides — contained, controlled and buttoned-up on the one hand and wild and free and coming undone, on the other.”

 

Although in reality the original plainswoman’s wardrobe would have been sparsely furnished with gingham and calico dresses, that doesn’t stop designers from romanticising it. The prairie dress is not obvious date-night attire but it can conjure childhood innocence. There are some magpie-cool combinations that you can try for the day and night look. Designer Sonam Parmar Jhawar suggests, “For the day, try mixing and matching a rough-hewn vintage camisole with a modern prairie skirt, sparkly scarf and neon t-shirt. For night, up the glam factor through accessories: a glitzy bag, sexy heels and a fitted jacket. Or try a yoke print blouse with a pair of boyfriend jeans or a pretty prairie dress with a pair of chunky biker boots/ lace-up jack boots. For night, throw on a leather jacket or a parka over the top of ruffle skirts with a boyish sweater and ride on the prairie madness.”