Home & Garden

Florals are gaining ground in both fashion and home

It was clear that a bloom boom was on the way when Sarah Jessica Parker and high-profile editors, including InStyle fashion director Cindy Weber-Cleary, wore florals to the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards a few weeks ago. This is not a "Steel Magnolias" -era revival. For an of-the-moment look, try abstract, blurred or - at the other extreme — graphic or black-and-white motifs. Add a tough edge with studded sandals, leather or denim.

And if you think florals are solely for wearable fashions, think again. Florals are showing up in home decor. But more on that in a bit.

For the CFDA event, Weber-Cleary, who meets or exceeds the fashion editor quota of black, wore what she describes as a “blownout computer floral” dress by Behnaz Sarafpour. “It was pink and yellow and a crazy print, but it was a very modern floral, as opposed to a sweet one, which is why I felt I could get away with it.”

Past a girlish age, she said, “you don’t want that baby cutesy daisy print.” But other so-called rules are silly, she said, including the idea that larger women should avoid large prints.

“Prints can be the most forgiving thing because they keep your eye moving,” she said, “rather than solid black that keeps you looking at the outline.”

Here’s how fashionistas and designers are putting a fabulous floral spin on fashion for you and the home:

Put the petal to the metal: Florals for interiors can conjure up formal living rooms that predate Suzanne Sugarbaker in “Designing Women.” But a single floral touch, contrasted with a harder edge, can be the height of sophistication, as in this corsage vintage brass lamp by Laura Kirar for Arteriors Home, with a vintage brass oval metal shade.

Cost: $1,199, arteriorshome.com

The bold and the bountiful: Florals add a pop of color that homeowners find easy to live with, says Gina Shaw, vice president of new product development for York Wallcoverings. Some are soft, painterly blooms while others are more stylized or appear against boldly colored backgrounds for dramatic effect.

Harrison wallpaper by Ronald Redding Designs; cost: $64.99 per single roll, yorkwall.com

No shrinking violets: Swimwear always provides safe harbor for oversize or tropical prints, and Carlos Falchi’s new Rio collection with the Avon brand Mark produces a couple of fabulous and affordable ones, including a Brazilian bikini with a surprisingly flattering cut.

Cost: $22 each piece, meetmark.com

Give us liberty and give us depth: “Florals are perennial, they’re always back for spring in one way or another,” said Weber Cleary. “The Liberty floral print has had a real pervasive influence. It’s all over the place, everywhere from the Gap up to the designer level.” J.Crew’s tulip mania “perfect shirt” offers a tailored fit showing off your feminine curves, and a vintage-inspired Liberty print on a crisp cotton. Long sleeves can be rolled up.

Cost: $110, www.jcrew.com

Perennial pleaser: A gem for all seasons, this Miriam Haskell necklace is made of Russian gold-plated filigrees hand-wired with crystal rose montees and baroque glass pearls with a braided chain strand. It’s signed by Haskell.

Cost: $2,000, Miriamhaskell.com