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Extravaganza Eleganza: Orchids on the Fashion Runway

Posted by KristenM on August 18th, 2015

by Heather Soulen

Last year, Pantone chose Radiant Orchid as their 2014 color of the year. Pantone is the authority on color. Their color choice affects a variety of industries from fashion and make-up to home interiors (e.g. paint, upholstery, etc.). Once again orchids have sashayed their way into our everyday lives and in very big ways. Journey with us as we explore just a few fabulously fierce fashion pop-cultural orchid moments.

Christian Dior’s to Die for Couture:Paris Haute Couture Autumn/Winter

Belgian designer Raf Simons joined fashion power house Christian Dior in 2012. Just two years later at the 2014 Paris Haute Couture fashion show, he wowed the audience with walls dripping with 150,000 live orchids and an equally jaw-dropping runway collection of embroidered blooms and floral-inspired silhouettes. The Fashion Channel said the show felt “divine and ethereal, with models resembling graceful nymphs walking elegantly in an antiseptic white circular Olympus with silver walls adorned with pristine white orchids.” C’est bon! We don’t think we could have said it any better!

Watch: 2014 Christian Dior Paris Haute Couture Show

A Star is Born in Singapore

Audi’s Star Creation is a fashion designer competition meant to uncover and promote Asia’s finest designing talents, help launch their fashion careers and prepared them to be the next top fashion designers. This event is organized by the Textile & Fashion Federation (TaFf) of Singapore and is a celebrated event of the Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX). In 2014, Peh Chin Yee was one of 12 finalists in the Star Creation competition. Yee, a fashion designer from Malaysia, wowed judges with a collection inspired by Singapore’s nation flower, the Vanda “Miss Joaquim” orchid. Yee discusses how this orchid and beloved artist Georgia O’Keeffe helped create the collection entitled “The Anatomy of Vanda.”

Watch: 2014 Audi’s Star Creation (Yee starts at 0:54):

Philip Treacy’s Hat Trick

Celebrated fashion designer and milliner to the stars Philip Treacy has a thing for orchids, and by a “thing” we mean an obsession. Orchids are his favorite flower, and he is said to derive great inspiration from them. In 2013, he collaborated with Art of Life, a group of Dutch orchid growers, to celebrate orchids and National Orchid Day by creating a live hat collection that demonstrates how stylish and versatile orchids are. His collection was inspired by three specific orchids: the white Phalaenopsis, the blue Vanda, and the yellow Oncidium. Here he discusses his passion for orchids in general, the three orchids and the making of his collection:

In return for his work with the Dutch orchid growers, the Art of Life named an orchid after Treacy called “The Philip Treacy Orchid.” Here he discusses his reaction to having an orchid bearing his name:

Back in 2010, Project Runway featured Treacy’s hats as one of the designer challenges. In the Season 8 Episode 4 show entitled “Hats Off to You,” runway designers were challenged to create a head-to-toe looks inspired by his hat collection. At least two of his hats were definitely orchid inspired! Could this 2010 episode of Project Runway have been a sneak peek into this brilliant milliner’s mind testing orchid-centric chapeau ideas? In this video you can see the bold, graphic flower-inspired hats Project Runway designers were tasked to work with.

Enchante Orchids

By now you’ve borne witness to how orchids have sauntered their way into pop-culture through literature, music and fashion. These are just three of many ways by which orchids have enchanted us with their beauty, mystery and charm. A plant with such power merits protection and conservation. If we don’t, what will we use for inspiration in the future?


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