Footnotes on Fashion and Flowers
Want to dive further into this month’s theme? We’ve gathered a variety of resources on the topic of fashion and flowers, from exhibitions on roses to a podcast on Victorian floriography.
1. Opening today, 6 August, in New York at the Museum at FIT is Ravishing: The Rose in Fashion. The long-awaited exhibition is all about the role of the rose in fashion design and explores the symbolism and myths of the flower. A complimentary virtual symposium was held on 30 April 2021 and can still be viewed online. The Rose in Fashion: Ravishing (2020), by the exhibition’s co-curator Amy de la Haye, is excellent for further reading on the topic. But the Museum at FIT isn’t the only museum with an exhibition on roses this year. Dior and Roses is on display until 31 October at the Christian Dior Museum in Granville, France. The exhibition focuses on the significance of the rose to the designer and his eponymous fashion house.
2. Currently on display in the Fashion and Textile Museum in London until 12 September 2021, is the exhibition Chintz: Cotton in Bloom. The colourful floral cotton that originated in India is fascinating in both its transnational history and meanings. For more on that history, this lecture from 2009 by scholar and curator Rosemary Crill is a good place to start. In addition, this talk on YouTube by historical costumer Atelier Nostalgia, presents a wonderful overview of the fabric, its histories, geographies, and uses.
3. If our article on bundle-dyeing hasn’t already gotten you to try out dyeing with flowers, the world’s favourite short video app has a few more ideas on blooming DIYs (and don’t worry, you won’t even need to download the app if you don’t want to!). If you need more inspiration on dyeing cloth with plants, look no further. TikTok offers a bunch of flower crown and corsage tutorials, but you can also consider creating a flower backdrop for your next event. For inspiration, have a look at Raf Simons’ first show for Dior in 2012. Another idea comes from TikTokker Dasha Volokhova, also known as ‘hammerflower’. Save your wilted bouquet from the compost bin and try ‘hammering’ your flowers on homemade postcards, or a t-shirt.
4. Curious to learn more about the symbolism of flowers, also known as floriography? In the floriography podcast episode of Dressed: The History of Fashion, author and illustrator Jessica Roux shares her insights on how Victorians used flowers as a means of communication.
5. Staying in the Victorian line of thought a little longer, the transient nature of flowers has led to the development of the artificial flower industry with an unexpectedly long history. This short documentary from 1997 by Thomas Bloor follows his father David, one of the last practitioners of the lost craft of Victorian flower-making, in his process of creating an artificial white rose.
Subscribe to Fashion Foreword to receive the next issue of the newsletter straight to your inbox. We publish accessible, independent, and forward-thinking fashion criticism, sparking reflection on the role of fashion in our daily lives and the world at large.