As spring 2012 warms the air, the fashion industry dips its fingers into the artistic tub for inspiration and guidance. Suitably so, the designers have come up with a trend that’s not only wearable for spring 2012, but also worth hanging on the wall. The multi-tone print trend has taken quite a spin for this spring season, proving to be unique from all the print-based trends we have seen in the past.

Imagine an abstract canvas painting that’s been splattered with a paintbrush and you can’t quite figure out its definite shape or pattern. Now, imagine wearing that piece of canvas on your body as an outfit. That’s the essence of the multi-tone prints, and we’re imagining this look to be a strong one for spring 2012.

Continue reading after the jump to understand what really is the multi-tone print trend and how you can make it work for your spring 2012 wardrobe.

Also, don’t forget that if you’d like to keep up to date with all of the latest fashion trends and inspiration on how to wear them, to subscribe to Fashionising.com’s RSS feed or give us the thumbs up on Facebook.

Click the thumbnails for full pictures
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art
Fashion as abstract art

What is the multi-tone print trend?

How confused would you be if we said that this trend is a print trend, but it’s also not a print trend?

This multi-tone trend is a mix of discordant hues, mismatched patterns and uncoordinated textiles. It’s like looking at a canvas without a directive narrative or purpose. This trend is a branch of the tribal print or ethnic trend, but the highlight for this print is that there isn’t a pattern here; you can almost call it an anti-print trend due to the lack of definition and shapes.

Unlike tribal or ethic trends, the multi-tone print trend isn’t restricted to a colour palette or even a particular design. It takes the inspiration from unwashed paintbrushes, a fabric sheet with an array of patterns or even muddy water patterns on the side of the road. There are no floral prints or geometrical shapes; instead it’s a splash of random colours. This trend also works with a monochromatic or metallic palette. From afar, it looks like an amateur painter’s messy first draft, but it’s really a creative delight as a stand-alone piece.

Multi-tone prints on the runway

The spring / summer 2012 runways saw a mix of various print trends, some inspired by multiculturalism and others by geometry. However, amongst all that were some designers who experimented with the textiles and gave momentum to the multi-tone print trend.

Mary Katrantzou’s collection was a colourful exhibition of cosmic patterns and spring prints, but amongst those were some pieces that didn’t fall under any category. They were just a muffled up commotion of designs that complimented each other in an arty manner. The layered printed pants were a highlight of this show.

digital print clothing
Digital prints at Mary Katrantzou, S/S ’12

Nicole Miller also presented a bright version of the multi-tone prints, by the means of abstract prints on shirts and pants. Even though the print is loud, you can’t make out a definite pattern of it. It’s got a distinctive feature that catches your eye, and the basic-hues of the oversized t-shirt neutralise the look. Hence, it aptly qualifies for the multi-tone print trend.

multi tone geometric prints
Multi-tone prints at Nicole Miller, S/S ’12

Cavalli’s luxurious spring / summer 2012 collection caters to several spring 2012 trends, such as the perforated fabric, metallic gold trend and androgyny. On closer observation, you also see a glimpse of multi-tone prints in the collection; colourful chiffon is used as the underlay fabric and golden metallic coins form a strategic pattern over the fabric. By the means of paneling, Cavalli has mixed black lace with multi-tone printed fabric on a maxi dress. You can hardly pick the prints in this, as the intricate lacing grabs your attention over the printed section.

multi tone cavalli prints
Cavalli’s luxe prints, S/S ’12

Another variation is seen on the Theysken’s Theory runway with their shimmering and glassy adaptation of the multi-tone trend.

multi tone metallic clothing
Multi-tone metallics at Theysken’s Theory, S/S ’12

Charlotte Ronson and Edun’s hop on a different platform with the multi-tone print, as they introduce new fabrics into the mix. Both houses have used mesh, knit and intricate threading to hereby expand the ways this trend can be adapted. Edun illustrates the multi-tone prints with light and silky fabrics, while Ronson’s take is more restricted and stern with cotton fabrication.

multi-tone stripes
Multi-tone stripes at Charlotte Ronson, S/S ’12

How to wear the trend

    • When shopping for the trend, look for prints that are eccentric, mixed with other spring 2012 trends such as, lace, mesh or leather. The trick here is for the item of clothing to look like an unfinished painting or a graffiti wall. It’ll catch your eye but not be very obvious as other printed fabrics.
    • You don’t have to stick to a colour palette. You can pick from bright hues or metallic shades.
    • Be careful mixing the multi-tone prints with other prints. Because this trend is quite random in terms of textile and colours, you don’t want to mix it with other definite prints, as that’ll only confuse the entire look. Rationalise on floral and tribal prints for this season.

multi-tone outfit
Multi-tone outfit at Mary Katrantzou, S/S ’12

  • If styled cleverly, multi-tone print can elongate your silhouette in the most generous way. Team a multi-tone printed top with either a tailored jacket, well-fitted pants or cinch the waistline with a belt or high-waist skirt.
  • Wear the look under sheer layers or kaftans for bringing out its sensual quality; shop for crop tops with a similar print. Or on the contrary, layer this look with other lighter fabrics over the top with chiffon, soft silk, crepe or organza overlaying.
  • This look is an excellent choice for summer festivals, as it’s got a quirky twist to it.

For more inspiration on how to style the multi-tone print trend direct from the spring 2012 runways, head to the gallery above and click on the thumbnails.

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