What links fashion to nature is a long and complex relationship. At the Victoria and Albert Museum in London “Fashioned from Nature” will be on show until January 27, 2019, investigating over 300 dresses, fabrics and accessories. The exhibition is curated by Edwina Sherman, and it focuses on a very broad time span from 1600 to the present day, showing how high end fashion clothes constantly draw inspiration from the beauty and power of nature, featuring creations by Christian Dior to those by Dries Van Noten, passing through the iconic hats designed by Philip Treacy.
But “Fashioned from Nature” does not only identify the influences between these two worlds, on the contrary it also intends to explain how the fashion industry has contributed to damage the environment and currently, thanks to a greater awareness of both stylists and consumers, and to the help of modern technology, fashion is becoming more ethical and sustainable.
We all hope that his new awareness will be the one that will increasingly characterize future fashion, and some examples of it are on show; among them the recycled plastic dress, from used bottles, made by Calvin Klein and Eco Age, worn in 2016 by the actress Emma Watson at the Met Gala.
Equally interesting are the pineapple fiber clutch, a Vegea dress made with grape scraps from wineries, a Ferragamo orange fiber suit or the H & M Conscious collection items made with plastic waste collected on beaches; all items displayed in the section dedicated to new materials.
Above: Woven silk train for an evening dress, France or Britain, c. 1897-1905. Image Vee Speers © V&A (Detail)