WE HAVE all seen that moment in The Devil Wears Prada where Meryl Streep says the well-known line “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking”. But the characters in that show did not just spend a year-and-a-half quarantining inside where flowers were seen in vases rather than parks and nature was experienced through documentaries.
So, when Jason Wu’s kaleidoscope of floral dresses walked down the runway to an audience ready to experience all that once was, florals for spring was utterly refreshing.
Partnering with fabric expert Cara Marie Piazza, natural dyes and materials were put at the forefront of spring-summer 2022. Considered an integral part of the brand by the designer himself, this idea of going back to creating things by hand, the taffetas, silks and cottons went through various dying stages offering an unexpected flower each time.
A special technique that sees frozen roses, ranunculus, safflowers and lac beetle pigments brought together to be mixed into dye allowed the beauty of our natural resources to be put onto a pedestal while helping achieve cloudy effects. The childhood past-time of bundle dyeing made a return to the runway as steamed roses and cosmos were hand sponged onto the spectrum of coloured garments using cochineal extract – a true ode to craftsmanship.
The collection titled Reverie took place to a backdrop designed and created by Emily Thompson. Delving further into the wonderland of flowers, the installation injected an element of fantasy into the show as rich, pure femininity oozed from the seams and stems of this show.
And while the thought of the circle of life may arise from the focus of these living plants, a full-circle has been made as bouquets will be put together from this and given to local dye artists and students from Pratt Institute.
If there is one thing we can take from Wu’s spring-summer 2021 collection is that there is always beauty at our fingertips, you just need to rethink the ordinary and make it a little more extraordinary – and sometimes that means getting your hands dirty.