The distinct Southwest style has come a long way from the traditional tribal blankets and ponchos that once graced the American sandy deserts. But the love and admiration for these exotic crafts has gone the distance, its stylish fans becoming a tribe of their own. With its bright colour pops and geometric chic patterning, it’s one design you can expect catch a glimpse of wherever you go.

The American southwest is a melting pot of cultures. With Mexico just across the border and a legacy of Native American tribes, the area has given birth to an array of stunning art and culture. It’s not surprise that the fashion and interior design worlds have united in their admiration, drawing inspiration from its patterns and prints.

The trend really began back in the late 60s, as designers turned to exotic cultures for inspiration. The heightened drama and vivid palettes of these Native American prints seemed to suit the Hippie haze perfectly. The popularity of Navajo, Aztec and tribal designs this ignited has never left, and recent seasons have seen them blended into a sophisticated, bohemian chic style that can, and has, be worked into any wardrobe.

Native American inspired designs by Giorgio Di Sant’ Angelo for Vogue, September 1970. Photo by Irving Penn


Last year, the trend saw one of its finest come backs. Valentino started with a SS14 collection indebted to Mexico’s Aztec culture, whose inhabitants once decorated their temples in opulence and splendour. Draped in dresses and cloaks richly embroidered with bright geometric patterning, the models appeared like 21st century Aztec princesses. Offering an option for the colder days, Ralph Lauren brought an AW14 collection of thick knits and fur lined cardigans, all bursting with a geometric Aztec vibe.

Valentino SS14


Ralph Lauren AW14


Model Sasha Pivovarova shot by Mikael Jansson for Vogue Februrary 2014


Left on that closing note, it’s no surprise this year’s spring collections are revitalising the look for the warmer winds blowing our way. Etro’s SS15 collection offers an elegant and light take on the trend, maintaining the earthy origin of the prints and imbuing a neutral palette for an urban summer, bohemian treat. Holly Fulton has added a contemporary, minimalist twist to the trend with a collection of striking geometric dazzle.

Etro SS15


Holly Fulton SS15


The trend’s rich patterning and vibrant warmth is a popular choice for enlivening interiors too. Native American inspired accents and textiles work extremely well in rooms decorated in earthy tones, adding a striking yet subtle burst of style. Of course, you can go as bold with the trend as you like, and feature walls can turn any room into a bohemian dream.


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