When Fashion is Art, There has to be Flowers: How designers interpreted flowers at the 2018 Fall Couture Shows


It seems like every time there’s a major fashion week (which seems to be just about every other month) there will always be a small, but vocal contingent that will look at the runway offerings and exclaim, “who would wear that?” This reflects the sentiment of the masses for whom the notion of clothing devoid of practical utility is a baffling concept.  Nowhere is that more true than when it comes to the couture shows.

All fashion shows are meant to evoke mood and inspiration more than to be an actual guide on how to wear clothes. But for the couture shows it goes even further. First of all, to actually wear any of these creations you’d have to be insanely wealthy and/or insanely famous. Second, couture fashion is more art than clothing. Fashion shows are meant to serve as inspiration and, of course, here at Floracracy our interest lies in how that inspiration translates to flowers aka, nature’s artwork.

Fall 2018 saw a lot of blending of various types of flower design looks. In step with previous seasons, there was a tendency towards the whimsical and, likely because of the season, lots of deep, lush bohemian looks as well.

Ronald van der Kemp

Dutch couturier Ronald van der Kemp has made it the mission of his namesake label to bring ethics into luxury fashion by using only existing materials such as vintage fabrics, high-end leftover stock, production discards and re-purposed materials. This tactic could easily result in an incongruent mess, but in van der Kemp’s hands it works.

The flower looks vacillate between delicate, prairie style prints and large, bold florals that evoke the Edwardian or Baroque periods. The last floral piece in the collection, a patchwork kaleidoscope of vibrant colors and pop-art style flowers is an exclamation point to van der Kemp’s stated purpose: “It’s the old values of couture, made with leftovers. But my whole thing is this: Leftovers don’t have to look like leftovers.”

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Valentino landed the coveted spot of closing out haute couture week and Pierpaolo Piccioli ended the festivities with a bang. The collection dripped with color and vibrancy. Through sequined capes, embroidered goddesses and petal puff headpieces, it was a collection dedicated to embracing the joy of fashion.

At times whimsical and at times sleek, Piccioli kept the colors saturated and the flowers bold. This is not a collection for a wallflower, but for someone bold enough to wear a bouquet on their heads. And shouldn’t we all aspire to be that level of fabulous?

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Christian Dior

Maria Grazia Chiuri took a decidedly different approach to her fall 2018 haute couture collection for the iconic house of Christian Dior. Where Valentino shouted its love of fashion to the world, Dior was content to whisper it.

Chiuri stuck to classic silhouettes in a reserved color palette (lots of navy, nude, rose and blush) and focused on the atelier side of couture. These are pieces that will be constructed for each individual wearer, each pleat and seam placed to create a perfect fit. As Vogue style writer Sally Singer put it, “Chiuri’s offerings are for people who make noise in the world by wearing clothes that murmur elegantly.”

Florally, Chiuri played with texture and embroidery to create romantic, classic looks that also tipped its hat to rustic looks through wildflower-like patterns. Chiuri hewed to current trends by including floral embroidered sheers and brocade.

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After creating the most discussed dress of the year, Meghan Markle’s wedding dress, everyone was waiting to see what Clare Waight Keller, the designer behind Givenchy, would go next. But it looks like we’ll be waiting just a little bit longer. Rather than looking forward, Keller took the couture shows as a moment to look back and honor the legacy of the house’s founder, Herbert de Givenchy, who passed away in March.

And while Keller’s collection featured dresses familiar to anyone with an affinity for either Givenchy or Audrey Hepburn, his long time muse and client, Keller didn’t just recreate his iconic designs; she put her own spin on them. Embracing darker colors and fabric with more movement, Keller took the classic looks into a more bohemian direction. She also tipped her hat to impressionist art with watery floral prints that could read as abstract prints.

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Zuhair Murad

Zuhair Murad has quickly become a red carpet staple thanks to his innate sense of glamour and drama. For his 2018 Fall Couture collection he turned to the equally glamorous and dramatic Russian imperialism for inspiration.

Again, there was a lot of brocade and floral embroidery. Though, in this case, the embroidery was elevated beyond it folksy, rustic connotations by rich fabrics and Murad’s signature sequins and beading. By marrying classic old world style or the Russian monarchy with bohemian colors and motifs, Murad created a look that will soon be spotted on red carpets everywhere.

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