Fashion Butterflies

Fashion students from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale have been studying the ceramic art at WMODA to seek inspiration for their new swim wear collections. Their teacher Chelsea Rousso worked together with Louise Irvine to introduce the young designers to historical styles of the early 20th century, such as Art Nouveau and Art Deco. They also previewed all the butterfly fairies and dancers in the Biophilia exhibit and the Harlequins and Jesters in Carnival & Cabaret.  The porcelain inspired fashions were a highlight of the WMODA Wednesday program on January 17th

The students produced mood boards with ideas ranging from Venetian Carnival to Alphonse Mucha’s decorative art. They made their swim suits using colors and details gleaned from porcelain figurines, such as Royal Doulton’s Butterfly and Mephisto. They also produced ethereal, floating cover-ups inspired by Jazz Age flappers in palazzo pants and butterfly sleeves, such as the Lido Lady.   

Butterflies and birds have been a continuing influence on fashion design and the performing arts, as can be seen in the Biophilia exhibition. Sally Tuffin, the swinging sixties fashion designer, gave up the catwalk to become the art director for the Moorcroft pottery. Now she frequently uses butterflies, feathers and other motifs from nature in her designs for the Dennis Chinaworks. 

Moorcroft’s black and white Butterfly Tears vase was adapted to feature the Flash pattern for a 20 year retrospective of Eley Kishimoto dubbed the ‘patron saint of print'. Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto’s innovative printed fashions first appeared on the catwalk in the mid-1990s and now influence wall papers, furniture, electronics and ceramics. 

“Life is a butterfly!” claimed Jean Paul Gaultier for his 2014 couture show brimming with playful interpretations of these winged beauties worn by his “Papillons de Paris” runway models. By night his chic ladies became showgirls in Folies Bergère style plumed head-dresses like fanciful insect antennae.

Fashions from the Art Institute have played an important part in the WMODA exhibitions since the museum was founded. Fantasy gowns in muslin and burlap were created for the Flair for Fashion and Splash exhibits and three are featured in the Carnival & Carnival exhibition.