One of 50Fifty’s runway looks, featuring woven flax leaves.
Photo by Charlie McDonald
For the 2014 Hats in the Garden celebration, the Naples Botanical Garden tasked local floral designers to create wearable fashion from botanicals. Here’s what Matthew Huddleston and Louis Boutier of 50Fifty Creative Services came up with.
The Look: “The idea, the foundation is really simple and clean, with this beautiful punctuation of flowers on top. It appears as if the garments are actually supporting the floral. The garments are created from the leaves and the floral is kind of emanating from the parts of the garment. And all of the looks have a floral headpiece that’s like a Russian kokshnik.”
Vision: “Our goal was not to get locked in to create something that spoke to some theme, but to create something that is highly wearable, that moves like clothing, flows like a garment, and constructed like an actual garment. So we locked into a color story that would be fluid with the additional ready-to-wear looks that we created accessories for. So we really decided to create a cohesive color story. If you were to put all of our looks together, they would all flow together.”
Inspiration: “Our inspiration was interesting. When we watched the show [Fleurotica] in Chicago, we were most inspired by gowns and clothing that looked like it was really clothing. So really, the main inspiration has been fashion, while the foundational portion was inspired by Louis’ history. He is Brazilian and Bolivian and learned how to weave when he was young. When we started, I said, you have to do something that encompasses that, because he has done it here for years. It is very special and not everyone can do it. So his background growing up became the main inspiration.
“The shape is really high fashion, couture-inspired. The shapes are really complicated and have been created from three different pieces of foundation that will hold up the floral.”
50Fifty’s final fitting with the model.
Construction: “The foundational portion is made from flax leaf, a long blade that is green and sort of chartreuse yellow. It is a highly pliable and bendable leaf. We chose this for its pliability and its ability to be woven. Louis actually wove a great portion of the garments before it was turned into the form, so we did not just glue something onto a form, but actually weaved this first, then created the garment out of it.”
Challenges and Surprises: “It was laborious and really time-consuming, but it was really joyful to watch happen and come together. This is new. We have created things to go on mannequins before, but to create something that is going on a human being that needs to move like fabric is really a challenging thing. And to know that it needs to survive, and live, is really a challenging task, so it has been really fun to try and figure out how to make it all work. We don’t want something that is stiff and costume-like, but something that really is wearable and people are inspired by it.”
Favorite Flower or Botanical Used: Peonies and the Piano Garden Rose
50Fifty runway look at the Hats in the Garden.
Photo by Charlie McDonald
Adding the kokshnik-inspired headpiece to the 50Fifty runway look.