Tribal Fever

Vogue Russia (May 2011)
Just yesterday a reader posted a great question in regards to the Theodora & Callum and Stuart Weitzman collaboration: “What happens when tribal patterns go out of style?” It’s definitely a valid concern when it comes seasonal shopping which can be a gamble of sorts. Many struggle with a dilemma of investing in so-called trends, only to have them go, in Karl Lagerfeld’s words, démodé in just a couple of months. 

Wilfred ‘Emmanuelle’ dress ($155 CAD at Aritzia);
Madewell ‘Electric Ikat’ dress ($145 US at Madewell and Shopbop);
Anthropologie ‘Brilliant Chaos’ dress ($198 US at Athropologie)

While tribal is enjoying an incredible moment right now, it is not a seasonal trend but a print that can be just as classic as a great floral. The word “trend” gives off an idea of transience which is not always the case. “Trend” simply means something is “hot” at the moment, but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to go out of style at any second.

Marc by Marc Jacobs silk dress ($280 US at Net-a-Porter and $315 CAD at Holt Renfrew);
L.A.M.B sleeveless dress ($361 CAD at Shopbop);
Zero + Maria Cornejo ‘Zazi’ dress ($730 US at Net-a-Porter)
With the tribal/ikat scenario, there are designers that are constantly working with this theme: Rodarte, DVF, Dries Van Noten, just to name a few. So as long as we are not talking tribal plus harem pant or tribal plus fannypack, we can carry our tribal garments season after season.
H&M maxi dress ($55.95 CAD at H&M);
Joie ikat maxi dress ($385 CAD at Holt Renfrew);
Zimmerman ‘Labyrinth’ maxi dress ($450 US at Net-a-Porter)
Plus, how gorgeous are these dresses? Don’t you just want to wear them all the time? Yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Research provided by my Editorial Intern Shakeira MacLean. In fact, she selected 7/9 of these dresses! 
  • I agree! Well said!

  • have been seeing tribal so often recently! i like it most on the mini dresses! i’m short so maxi just doesn’t usually work on me! esp. like the marc jacobs dress!

  • Great post!

  • Your intern has good taste. I really like the MBMJ and Anthropologie dresses.

  • Lisa,

    She really does! MBMJ one is my fave. Other than the Maria Cornejo that was my Item of the Week (still pretty in love with it).

  • Anonymous

    Tribal prints definitely never go out of style! If a printed dress is too much, a tribal blouse or skirt paired with classic pieces is a great way to wear this look in a toned-down way.

  • Tribal prints definitely never go out of style! If a printed dress is too much, a tribal blouse or skirt paired with classic pieces is a great way to wear this look in a toned-down way.

  • Anonymous

    no offense, but I definitely believe that tribal prints are the most unsophisticated way of dressing, in contrast the the sophisticated solid colours

  • Anonymous,

    I don’t get your concept that solids are more “sophisticated.” Please explain.

  • I love, love, love these prints. Maybe because they remind me of travelling.

    A bonus? They always pop in photos.


  • Anonymous

    prints just look messy, more suitable for casual wear, such as for the beach, and totally unsuitable for former occasion, jacqueline kennedy once claims that she hates prints most.

  • Anonymous

    Wear what works for you. Rock florals? Do it! Feel comfortable in only black? Then stick to it! Fashion is about expression and fun!! Not all looks work for everybody.

  • Anonymous #1,

    Actually, Jackie Kennedy wore a lot of prints, especially Pucci and Marimekko (in fact, she made them famous).

  • Anonymous

    but jackie did literally claim that she hates prints, it is a matter of fact.
    maybe she prefers prints for informal occasions, and solid colours for formal ceremonies.

  • Anonymous #1,

    Exact quote please!

  • Anonymous

    the quote is
    ” I hate prints”
    from “jackie kennedy, the white house years”,

  • Anonymous #1,

    She said that in 1960 in the letter to Diana Vreeland who was at the time working at Harpers Bazaar in order to get Vreeland to help her with her personal style.

    This is what Vreeland said of Jackie: “I can remember Jackie Kennedy, right after she moved into the White House.[…]It wasn’t even like a country club, if you see what I mean-plain.” (“Portrait of the Kennedys” October 26, 2007)

    The fact that she was seen wearing prints over and over again, at both informal and formal occasions, since the letter makes be believe that Ms. Vreeland talked some sense into her.

  • Anonymous

    the majority of her white house wardrobe consists of solid coulour, which suits her best, I remember jakcie wearing a pink print evening dress to the mr.president opera, and it looks totally awful and spoils her grace, in contrast to her solid colour Versailles evening wardrobe, which turns her into a goddess.
    from a personal point of view, solid colours are more lady like, neat, and refined, while prints resemble more of bohemian gypsies, more suitable for teenagers.