In early spring, they began sprouting -- several in jewelry collections, a couple on T-shirts, even a few on opaque pantyhose.
But as summer approached, suddenly it seemed they wereverywhere: on Lycra leggings and on hot pants, on purses and tote bags, on barrettes and headbands, even on oversized sweaters and around the necklines of designer dresses.
And spreading like crazy or not, we're not talking about weeds -we're talking daisies.
That's right: Think "Laugh-In," think flower power, thinpsychedelic patterns. If beehives, Pucci prints, false eyelashes and -- yipes! -- the girdle can make a comeback, why not the symbol of flower children itself? Whether big, bright and bold or sprinkled delicately for a touch of color, daisies have been cropping up in fashions by designers from Adrienne Vittadini to Mary Quant.
"It really started when the whole '60s thing came about lassummer -- and daisies were a big motif in the '60s," says Beth Bernstein, fashion director of Accessories Magazine, a trade magazine. "They began as accessories and then [became] ornaments on clothes, as well. Now the look has developed into more elegant daisies that don't have anything to do with the '60s."
Throughout the spring season, stores looked a bit like fields owild flowers as daisies -- as well as myriad other floral patterns -- sprang up on Lycra leggings, Capri pants and on cropped black Ts at Contempo Casual, or on elegant jewelry made of pearls, glass or Lucite by Brett Lewis at Nordstrom. "It's all part of that flower-power look. You know, the Jackie O-look that comes with the hand-held purse and gloves," says Lisamay O'Bara, a collections accessories buyer for Nordstrom, who added that indeed, gloves with little daisies on the backs were big sellers this spring.
But daisies made their biggest, boldest splash in the youth market with companies such as Contempo Casual and Esprit offering flower-power items that run the gamut. "We even have daisy rings. We have leggings. We have purses, we have hot pants with daisies," says Danielle Long, assistant manager of Contempo Casual at the Gallery. (And the list goes on and on: earrings, pendants, pins, jacket clips to put gathers in a jacket, button covers . . .)
Still, the flower-power look has caught on with the slightly oldecrowd, as well -- or maybe it has just come back, says Linda McQuiston, associate manager at Accessory Lady at the Gallery. "You'd be surprised at the working women who love daisies -- between the ages of 20 to 50 -- but some older, too. I think it does remind some of times past."
Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld is credited by many with inspiring thcurrent crop of flower fashions. When his spring '91 collection was introduced, his models wore bright pink, blue and red plastic daisies with yellow centers on their earlobes and head bands. He also led the way by showing finer jewelry "with much more style and elegance: gold with stones in the middle, daisy pendants on chains, daisy pins and bracelets with pearls," Ms. Bernstein says. "I think it all kind of evolved. [This year] fashion went to the '60s and even back to the '40s and got a '90s edge."
She has found that her Karl Lagerfeld daisy pin can be woreither as a pin or slung on a chain and attached to a string of pearls as a pendant. "It's dual purpose. If you wanted to buy one jewelry item: Buy a daisy pin and wear it as both necklace and pin," she says. "Pins are back and flowers are important."
At Bloomingdales, daisies show up in a number of fashions sucas $28 leggings by b2000 for younger folks -- worn with a white V-neck T-shirt by Artworks with applique daisies about the neck. And there's a black, tiered dress printed with white daisies by Stepping Out that sells in the junior department for $48, says Shawny Burns, fashion director for Bloomingdales' branch stores.
For adults, however, daisies come in sweet and subtle styles awell as bright and bold, she says. For example, one Vittadini dress is all white with tiny, white, applique daisies about the neck that create a three-dimensional affect.
And at Ann Taylor, a black, hand-framed, cropped sweater with daisies of yellow and white sells for $88 and can be worn jacket-style over summer-bare dresses if the evening gets too cool or with skirts. Black-and-white striped T-shirt and matching miniskirt outfits ($62 and $48 respectively) that are covered in a slew of big, bold daisies are also at Ann Taylor.
But today's daisies don't come just in white and yellow -- at Le Chateau in Owings Mills, for example, there's a hot pants jumper with applique daisies across the top, says manager Matt Scroogins. "It's in avery nice daisy print in electric blues and greens. They're also mixing daisy prints with gingham, leggings and baby-doll tops."
If you're interested in doing a little '60s reminiscing yourselfkeep in mind that just like the real thing, fashion daisies may not last forever. While many fashion experts think daisies will be hot through the rest of the summer, some don't expect to see many in the fall. And a few even doubt their resurgence in the spring. "I think we will be daisied out in a few months," says Ms. Long of Contempo Casual.
Nonetheless, some designers herald next spring as time to market a new crop of daisy wear. Mary Quant, who makes a whole line of daisy hosiery -- opaque hose in hot pink or yellow daisies for daytime and black with embroidered silver or gold daisies for evening -- has just come out with a new style of hosiery with jumbo daisies on it.
She may be on to something, says Ms. Bernstein of Accessories Magazine. "I think for the younger, junior customer, daisies will stay. It's still going to go forward. Mary Quant doing the daisy hose is kind of smart because that's what kids will be looking for."
Here are a few ideas about how to use the current crop of daisy looks:
* Let daisy button covers perform in more than one way: as button covers or as pins (stuck anywhere from hats to tote bags) or even as shoelace decorators.
* Team daisy leggings with gingham, solid or daisy tops such as big T-shirts or baby doll tops.
* If you don't want to invest a lot of money in daisies this summer, sprinkle a bit of flower power throughoutyour wardrobe with pins, barrettes or rings.
* Freshen up outfits of solid leggings and tops for a small amount of money with a daisy headband.
* Buy a daisy pin, let it act as a pin or a pendant when hung on a chain or string of pearls. A daisy pin will be a look that will last throughout the year, says Beth Bernstein, fashion director of Accessories Magazine, a trade magazine.