Everything’s coming up roses with this gender neutral trend — literally.
How much nostalgia is too much? If the 2023 return of rosettes is any indication, the limit does not exist.
Associated with excessive ’80s styling and Carrie Bradshaw maximalism, in recent years the smushed flower motif has come to mostly serve as a silly souvenir of the past. But like other trends of that ilk — peplum tops; popcorn dresses — rosettes are now being revived. And not only are they back, they’re bigger, bolder, and more versatile than ever.
To understand the depths of the rosette renaissance, we must first look to Harry Styles. On February 11, the clowncore enthusiast pulled up to the Brit Awards in a velvet Nina Ricci *peplum* suit with a rosette choker so large it covered part of his face. Impractical? Of course. Gaudy? Quite. But such is the appeal of the rosette: It’s nearly impossible to overlook, so there are very few rules to wearing it the “right” way. From brooches to hair accessories to everything in between, it’s set to be one of this year’s biggest trends.
As such, spring came early on the runways of New York Fashion Week, where flashy fabric florals took many forms. Models walked down a runway lined with roses at Christian Siriano’s Fall 2023 show, where the overarching trend was floral appliqués. Rosettes flowed down the sides of dresses, accentuated cut-outs and crowded together on wide-brimmed hats. This flower-focused presentation set the tone for the week to follow.
At Willy Chavarria, rosettes complemented refined menswear looks on brooches and headpieces. In Sandy Liang’s hyper-feminine collection, the motif appeared in the form of dainty details on sashes, hair accessories, chokers and dresses. Meanwhile at Puppets and Puppets, the three-dimensional design took on a more daring symbolism in the form of nipple coverings. More and more, the rosette proves to be impressively multifaceted.
On recent red carpets, the floral appliqué has become a gender neutral accessory that can be dark and edgy in one look and frilly and fanciful in the next. Emma D’Arcy pinned a gothic black rosette to their subversive ensemble at the 2023 Golden Globes. That same evening, Eddie Redmayne wore a monochrome brown suit with a sleek oversized satin flower. Weeks later at the 2023 Grammys, Lizzo emerged in an orange Dolce & Gabbana cape covered in vibrant florals. All in all, rosettes have come a long way.
In the 17th century, the ruffled accent began as an intentionally exclusionary design that was attached to shoes to symbolize wealth and status. And though it ebbed and flowed in popularity through the 20th century, it’s most heavily associated with the 1980s, when floral appliqués were stitched onto everything from prom dresses to hair bows. In the early aughts, it was a red carpet staple worn by stars like Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Lopez. And of course, it has lived on as Carrie Bradshaw’s favourite outfit embellishment in Sex And The City.
But thanks to its undeniably artificial imagery, in the following years, the rosette was largely regarded as a garish add-on. But who says that’s a bad thing? As over-the-top styles make their way back into zeitgeist (along with Carrie and her ostentatious wardrobe), it’s only natural that so too does the once-maligned rosette.
In 2023, the rosette is no longer just a kitschy accessory — it’s an aesthetically adaptable accent. It was the frontal focal point of a ruched dress on Hailey Bieber. It served as elegant decor on a corset-style top worn by Bella Hadid. It’s even been revisited by J.Lo as a neck accent on a body-con dress. With its newfound gender neutral appeal and inherently in-your-face design, the modern rosette is a refreshing emblem of taking up space. And in today’s “anything goes” fashion landscape, its wackiness makes it wearable as ever.
Often seen as symbols of joy, pleasure and new beginnings, flowers are a hopeful symbol for the year ahead. Once the weather gets warmer, it’s only natural that the rosette trend will continue to bloom. As the great Miranda Priestly once sarcastically scoffed, “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.”