The new exhibition from the V&A museum, Fashioned from Nature, explores the complex relationship between fashion and the natural world since 1600 in 300 objects. From luxury to emerging, designers and artists illustrate how consistently they draw upon the beauty and power of nature for inspiration.
Highlights include looks from Stella McCartney, known for her commitment to sustainability and animal free products. Her pioneering work in developing alternative materials saw her team up with Bolt Threads recently to produce the first collection to use a new bio-engineered fabric. Also on display is a prototype handbag made by Bolt Threads in McCartney’s signature Falabella style, the first object made of mycelium.
Diana Scherer, an artist from the Netherlands, works with oat roots. She trains the roots to grow in intricate structures, creating 3D textiles; when the roots are fully grown, she removes them and creates stunning living dresses. Although these incredible pieces are not yet made to be worn, this project hints at a more sustainable future.
The show also explores Christopher Raeburn’s idea of surplus style. A pioneer of upcycling, Raeburn is known for his pragmatic and futurist thinking. His practice of re-using older materials to create something new is perfectly illustrated in a map dress made from reworked 1950s escape maps, first manufactured during the Second World War for Royal Air Force pilots.
Fashioned from Nature also features interview footage with designers such as Vivienne Westwood, and collaborative installations with the London College of Fashion.
It runs at the V&A Museum, Kensington until 27 January 2019.