New Botanicals

Spring is not quite here, dear readers, but we've already noticed an array of gorgeous flowers in full bloom--sartorially speaking, that is! Yes, fancy frocks adorned with heavenly garden scenes and traditional floral designs are popping up in a big way this season, inspiring us to swap out our monochromatic colour schemes and minimalist ensembles for a romantic and intriguing look that is hard to ignore. And as you can see, we're not the only ones interested in this blooming trend! Fashion favourites like Chloe Sevigny and Rihanna are making this outfit idea noteworthy again via their captivating evening attire, which is why we're bringing it to your attention in today's Trend Report: New Botanicals.Now, we understand that this print is not revolutionary--especially for spring--but this season, a handful of designers turned out fanciful looks featuring eye-popping floral designs in an exciting range of shapes, sizes, and colours. One of our favourite takes on this pretty trend is Erdem's ravishing S/S 11 collection. Appropriately set in a garden square in London, British designer Erdem Moralioglu sent out an array of delicate party dresses and gowns covered in floral prints and intricate appliqué lace, like the Marylin Silk Dress ($825), which is similar to the look featured above. The results are enchanting, modern, and certainly memorable!

Off the runways, these new botanical prints look just as fresh, as today's four stylish examples show us. In fact, these daring flower designs are the perfect way to command attention at an evening soiree, whether painted on a youthful mini-dress or accompanied by a sultry silhouette. Speaking of the latter, Rihanna turned heads at a book-signing event at a New York Barnes and Noble store back in October, when she wore a Jean Paul Gautier Cotton Poplin Floral Dress ($2475, available at select Neiman Marcus stores). The frock's low neckline and subtle slit diffuse the sweetness of the floral print, and when paired with nude, point-toe Christian Louboutin pumps, the whole look is quite sexy and sophisticated. A few months later, Kirsten Dunst selected an equally stunning dress for her appearance at the Art of Elysium event in Los Angeles. We love the contrasting colours of her Ming-print Rodarte dress and how the high slit makes the frock a bit more daring. Additionally, we couldn't help but swoon over the Rodarte Blue and White Mink Print Silk Dress ($6210) Chloe Sevigny wore to the Los Angeles premiere of Big Love late last month. The ceramic-inspired floral print is visually intriguing, but it was her decision to give the dress a refreshing splash of colour via a pair of Christian Louboutin Salsbourg Metallic Leather Strappy Sandals ($1095, shown here in silver) that really made this an ensemble worth noting.

Of course you can always address this flower trend in a more youthful and girlish way if you prefer--just look to Jennifer Missoni to see how it's done! The actress/heiress chose a lovely dress from Missoni's Resort 2009 collection for the Happy Hearts Fund's Land of Dreams Thailand Ball in New York late last year. This timeless frock boasts a pretty pastel print and simple silhouette, making it an age-appropriate pick that is also chic.

Ready to try this daring floral trend? Fortunately for you, dear readers, we've sleuthed through hundreds of amazing items and found the best pieces to help you create bold looks of your own. For those of you who prefer a more sophisticated silhouette a la Rihanna, Dunst, and Sevigny, we believe Paul & Joe Sister's Lola Printed Silk-Satin Dress ($320) and Kate Spade's Josie Cap-Sleeve Printed Dress ($295) are worth checking out; all three are excellent choices for an after-hours fete and offer a refreshing colour palette that is perfectly in line for spring. If you're looking to channel Missoni's youthful look instead, Eliza J's Belted Cotton Party Dress ($138), Modcloth's Floral Palette Dress ($45) are both worthy selections. Just be sure to keep the rest of your look simple--meaning: only add pair of understated pumps--to fully achieve her A+ look. We are also quite fond of Nanette Lepore's Rain or Shine Floral Maxi Dress ($648) and Winter Kate's Damien Long Slip Dress ($216) for a botanicals-meets-bohemian look. Of course, if you're looking for a subtle way to address this blooming outfit idea, you can always start small with a skirt, like Anthropologie's Fantastic Field Skirt ($88) or a slinky top, like Minpink's Neon Floral Blazer ($92). Whatever you decide, we promise you'll look as sweet and chic as the prints you're wearing!--Jessica Baker

Photo of Jennifer Missoni, courtesy of Getty; Photos of Kirsten Dunst and Rihanna, courtesy of Splash