Much world fashion is bound up with botanical knowledge. The flower has been central to fashion’s forms and its supports – textiles – in nearly all cultures. Subject to artful cultivation since ancient times, redolent of passion and hope in the middle ages, cross-cultural transportation and sale in the Renaissance, classification and hybridisation in the Enlightenment, sentiment and eroticism in the nineteenth century, fantasy, femininity and domesticity in the twentieth century, the flower is much more than a motif. Learn how references to floriate forms within fashionable dress contributed to the creation of patterns of thought, fashionability, status, gender, nationhood and regionalism, from the Middle ages to our own time.
PETER McNEIL is Professor of Design History at University of Technology Sydney. One of his great passions is how botanical knowledge and garden history connects with design and material culture. In 2015 he is the writer for a special exhibition on fashion and flowers for the Textile Museum, St Gallen, Switzerland, and his essay on ‘Oscar Wilde and the Green Carnation' will be published in German for a new art-science research grouping in Berlin on plant physiology, culture and literary studies.
This lecture is generously supported by The Friends of The Johnston Collection.