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Forget Camp: Floral Fashions Are on View at Phoenix Art Museum Through August

Erika Thomas | May 2, 2019 | Style & Beauty

Phoenix Art Museum opens the doors of its renowned fashion vault, showcasing a world-class exhibit and paying homage to all things that bloom.

This dress by designer Adrian is one of many floral frocks on display as part of Flora.

A mélange of botanical-inspired designs are now on display at Flora, a new exhibit at Phoenix Art Museum. The exhibition spans two centuries and contains 30 ensembles and accessories—each a distinct example of how flowers have influenced fashion over the past 200 years.

“In this exhibit, there are so many examples of how flowers have been used throughout the history of fashion,” says Dennita Sewell, Jacquie Dorrance curator of fashion design at Phoenix Art Museum. “We see a variety of fabrics and techniques utilizing woven motifs, applique and silk-screening.” There’s an entire section of rose-themed garments, as well as one that focuses entirely on impressionism.

Sewell also notes, “Our permanent collection at Phoenix Art Museum is remarkable. We have access to so many historical pieces in our vault. There’s no need to borrow from other institutions. This show exemplifies the strength of what we have.”

Flora features an array of works from established design houses such as Prada, Comme des Garçons and Givenchy. A black-and-white silk-screen orchid dress by perennial costume designer Adrian portrays golden-era Hollywood, while historical pieces from unknown dressmakers—such as a 1912 wedding gown with wax orange blossoms sewn to the train—characterize the turn of the century.

“It’s amazing how many thousands of ways designers have had the same ideas but interpreted them so differently. We see their processes throughout this exhibit, which is not cerebral or overcomplicated.” Instead, she says, “it is meant to inspire people. Like flowers, it is whimsical, beautiful and delightful.” April 19-Aug. 19, tickets $23 for adults, $18 for students, $14 for children, $20 for seniors over 65, 1625 N. Central Ave.


Photography by: courtesy of phoenix art museum, featuring adrian, 1945, rayon crepe,gift of mrs. tom pollock