You can opt for as many euphemisms as you like – “tropical”, “English country garden” – but you can’t linguistically paper over the fact that, like clockwork, spring and summer in fashion means lots of flowers. This despite The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly’s withering line: “Florals for spring? Groundbreaking...”
It may feel like sartorial Groundhog Day but, like the perennial arrival of Breton stripes, it’s such an entrenched part of the fashion calendar that to be sniffy about it feels churlish.
If you’re one of these people who are fed up with clothes sprouting flora like a Chelsea Flower Show plot, then you won’t be thrilled by the news that watch brands are getting in on the act too this year.
Taking its inspiration from Japan, and offering a more delicate interpretation of the trend, Harry Winston presents its Avenue Classic Cherry Blossom. The Avenue watch, with its elongated rectangle shape and Art Deco influences is named after Fifth Avenue, where the very first Harry Winston boutique was located. Its form has become iconic for the brand and, while that has hardly changed, the dial space has been a site for experimentation – including a rather bonkers Dual Time from 2015.
This year the exquisite stone-set floral patterns on the dial– realised in white diamonds and pink sapphires with a pale-green mother-of-pearl background – are inspired by the seasonal blooming of the sakura cherry blossom tree in Japan. This annual event is celebrated with flower-viewing festivals called hanami, which announces the arrival of spring and the new beginnings that represents.
Moving slightly closer to home with a more Continental-style bloom is Graff and its gorgeous, female-centric MasterGraff Floral Tourbillon. Along the left side of the dial is a riot of enamel flowers – each handcut from white gold, then painted and is the visual representation of around fifty hours work by a single person – which draw the eye toward the tourbillon that’s concealed beneath another skeletonised flower.
All this would be impressive on its own, but closer inspection reveals that two of the flowers actually spin slowly around. It’s a beautiful example of how watch brands are seeking ways to feminise complications; all the mechanical clout without having to look at your watch’s guts.
This game of horological hide-and-seek is played out perfectly in Chanel’s latest marvel. It’s impressive enough that this is the brand’s second in-house movement, called the Calbre 2 (a female-only follow-up to last year’s column-inch generating Calibre 1 housed in the sensationally stylish Monsieur de Chanel), but look closely and you’ll notice a camellia at the centre of the iconic Premiere case.
That camellia isn’t just decoration; its structure provides the bridges that hold the movement together. In fact, Chanel’s R&D department has found a way to manipulate the structure of the mechanics into a three-dimensional camellia that both reveals and obscures the wheels and cogs that make it tick.
See, florals for spring can be groundbreaking.