As lovers of Hermès scarves and Ossie Clark/Celia Birtwell vintage dresses know, patterns can have as significant a history in fashion as the garments themselves. One of my favorite pattern stories is that of Flora, Gucci's now-emblematic array of delicate garden blooms scattered across a white (or less commonly, black) ground.
How it came about: as the story goes (many thanks to the delightful scarf-specialty blog Musings on things That Matter to Me), decades back Grace Kelly rushed into a Gucci shop in search of a floral scarf as a wedding present for a friend. The house did not make any at the time. Rodolfo Gucci went on to commission renowned illustrator Vittorio Accornero to design a sublime botanical in honor of Grace, who had then become Princess of Monaco.
Here's a wonderful photo of her daughter, Caroline, wearing the pattern created for her mother. (well done American Vogue picture editors!)
With 37 different colors and a garden's worth of delicately rendered blooms, the scarf became an enduring favorite. When Frida Giannini became Gucci's head designer in 2002, she revived the pattern on bags, shoes, and dresses.
Vintage Flora scarves are still highly affordable on eBay. Here's a lovely example, with a navy border, that I was able to find a few months ago for about £35 ($51).