While botanic fashion has yet to see urban streets and Bill Cunningham's lens, the concept has been flourishing on the runway and the artist's studio. Here are three designers who have culled their materials from the plants that inspire them.
The Temple of Flora is perhaps the most famous florilegium or book of flowers from the golden age of botanical illustration. It's a charming collection of deliberately idiosyncratic flower portraits that became the portrait of a nation.
Photographer Honour Hiers collects plants near her home in Western North Carolina, then presses the specimens and photographs them on a light table with 4x5 chrome film. Highlighting a plant's translucency and texture, the beautiful photographs portray familiar species in new ways. She began the Film Herbarium intending to collect all 2600 plant species in the region; she's since expanded the project to include native and non-native plants in and around the state.
Tagua (pronounced tog-wah) nuts, or "ivory of the rainforest," are a vegetable-based and sustainable alternative to elephant ivory. The seeds are hard and smooth, and easily carved and dyed. They were once used for military buttons, Victorian chess pieces, and dice. Today, tagua "vegetable ivory" is a popular material for jewelry and baubles.