The New Pastoral Trend Is Giving You Permission To Relax

Imagine dressing for a hot summer day spent in a countryside cottage, and you've got the look of the moment

MOST POPULAR

There's a soft whisper running through fashion that began at the spring/summer '17 shows and carried right through to autumn/winter. And it's flowing underneath all the tailoring and deconstructed shirting, all the Eighties-inspired sex and maximalism, the Forties reminiscent glamour and the spaced-out futurism like a quiet, cold mountain spring, cooing: slow down.

In the midst of all the noise, a wave of designers is moving fashion to a quieter place. I'm talking about the of-the-land, back-to-nature feeling spreading in the air, whether it's Jacquemus's reimagining of a Provençal summer for spring or Raf Simons's revival of American prairie quilts at Calvin Klein for fall.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The look is soft, often romantic, usually involves a folksy floral or knit and always harkens back to a simpler period of old: Simone Rocha's romanticized take on the field worker's dress in sheer lace for spring/summer, for example, or Sarah Burton's fantastical trip to the Shetland Isles for her otherworldly dresses for Alexander McQueen.

Simone Rocha SS17

And coming down the pipeline for autumn: puff sleeves, floppy hats and swishy skirts at Loewe and subversive takes on wholesome dresses in prairie prints at Coach.

The clothes demand to be worn in a colour palette that evokes nature. You wouldn't spend money on engineered, tie-dyed, fluorescent roses, would you? The same principle applies here. And like your grandmother's blossoms, the more volume the better. That means full sleeves and skirts, frills overflowing like clematis.

Marni SS17
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Sometimes a garment isn't just fashion, but a mindset. And the pastoral trend is a classic example. To wear it, is to adopt a mood. And this one has spread beyond fashion. See the costumes in Sofia Coppola's upcoming film The Beguiled, set in a Virginia girls' school during the Civil War.

Erdem SS17
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

And one can only assume director Abi Morgan's feature film remake of the old TV show Little House On The Prairie will serve the kind of full-skirted drama that would make Laura Ingalls Wilder proud. (Never mind that the real life backdrop for both of those dramas were neither simple nor romantic. Historical-inspired fashion is best viewed through a Mayfair filter.)

This couldn't be further away from the edge and gender fluidity of street wear or the try-harder endorphins of sportswear. It's fashion at its most zen. It's your favourite weekend country house in a dress. Try it on, exhale, lean out and feel your blood pressure drop.

More from ELLE UK: