From nature with love and straight into fashion.
It’s not of a secret to anyone that fashion is connected to politics, culture, literature, music, social issues, religion and so on. And by connection here I mean fashion is able to reflect or address certain, let’s say, problems to us and the world. There’s probably no need to give examples on topics outlined above. Still when we talk about fashion or certain styles, gowns, accessories and where they take roots from, read inspired by, we seem to not pay enough attention to one of the biggest inspiration and raw material sources – nature. Have you ever though how much has fashion as a form of art and as one of the most powerful industries borrowed from mother nature? Think of such natural materials as cotton, linen, silk, leather and suede, fur and feathers… Think of prints, like floral and animalistic… Think of embroidery and motives being inspired by nature… Think of silhouettes and gowns, where Bjork’s swan dress comes as a pretty popular and funny example…
Humans have been taming nature ever since Adam and Eve made their first steps on planet Earth. We’ve been taming nature for centuries now not only for the sake of art, to get inspired and to produce certain fabrics and materials, but also for the sake of own living. Just think about it, you are using nature’s resources on daily basis, aren’t you? Even living in a concrete’n’glass jungles. And we keep protecting our bodies from the outside world and its quite harmful impact by means of clothes and shoes, here we primarily talk about pieces being produced of natural materials not synthetics. Putting long, philosophical discussions aside it’s worth pointing out that ‘Tamed Nature’ is a theme of a super fresh exhibition by Alexandre Vassiliev. Who if not a fashion historian with international recognition could bring up the importance of a connection between nature and fashion? And again every single gown, hat, shoes piece, hat pin and even clothing button comes from an endless private collection of Mr. Vassiliev.
Adam or Eve’s legendary leaf as well as a couple of cavemen’s outfits would perfectly fit in this exhibition and show us evolution of both humanity, our skills and clothing, but unfortunately not everything was meant to survive till this day. Still we do have a chance to study the impact of nature on fashion through prism of four centuries – 18th-21st. ‘Tamed Nature’ exhibition comprised in itself around 100 gowns coming from both male’s and female’s arsenals that are grouped according to various themes rather than decades or centuries. Here we see groundbreaking florals that would definitely make Miranda Priestly change her mind and a gown in a very Scarlett O’Hara from ‘Gone with the Wind’ that would make her put aside all duties and thoughts till tomorrow… Underwater world, midnight feathers, African exotics and impenetrable jungles can all be found within the exhibition, which means that humans pretty much succeeded in taming mother nature.
Read the second chapter Tamed Nature. Details here.
Photo: T. Egorova