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.
There's a bar carved inside the world's largest baobab tree, in the Limpopo province of Modjadjiskloof, South Africa. With room for 50 patrons to sit and have a drink, one might say that what happens in the baobab, stays in the baobab.
Published in 1847, Les Fleurs Animées imagines a world where the flowers reclaim the meanings bestowed upon them by a covetous Victorian audience, and become actresses in their own drama. In J.J. Grandville's engraved illustrations, an exotic Lady Tulip bewitches, while fair young Forget-Me-Not mourns her loneliness.
When he began documenting plant specimens, Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) did not consider himself a photographer, nor an expert in the natural world. The German sculpture instructor was compiling a teaching tool: a survey of natural forms that would serve as inspiration and reference for his students.
Edward Gorey's The Evil Garden (Pomegranate, March 2011) is a cautionary tale for botanic enthusiasts everywhere: Beckoned by the delights of a lush, enticing garden, a family traipses through nature's alluring gate toward the promise of a flowering sanctuary. But any notions of floral delights are replaced with grave encounters when the plants turn bad.
Faster than a speeding bullet! The Bunchberry dogwood is able to launch pollen into the air in a third of the time it takes a bullet to leave a rifle barrel, making the plant (Cornus canadensis) a superlative example of botanic ballistics, engineering, and reproductive design.
Andromeda polifolia, or bog rosemary, got its name from Greek mythology, and was named by the Father of Taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus.
His journals, with meticulous details, careful field sketches, and eloquent descriptions, read like botanic field guides, cultural ethnographies, and dream journals, all rolled up into one.
The bewitching fragrance of jasmine vines is a difficult-to-bottle scent. Capturing jasmine's essence is considered a superlative feat of aromatic alchemy, which is why jasmine is an ingredient in some of the world's most expensive perfumes.