Nature crafting fashion

Motifs and materials

Comb in the form of two dragonflies

There is no better designer than nature.

Alexander McQueen

When it comes to inspiration, nature is an incredible source for fashion. For centuries, makers and designers have been fascinated with the natural world, considering its richness a starting point for a new creative language, with its own motifs, forms and colours.

Nature has not only been a ‘passive’ source of inspiration, though: it has been an active participant in fashion, providing the very materials that turn ideas into clothes and accessories with very distinct aesthetic and physical qualities.

What is the relationship between fashion, nature and craft? Working with nature’s raw materials, people developed new techniques for creating motifs, fabrics and embellishments to be used in the production of garments and accessories.

Diversity is intrinsic in the natural world - varying according to position and climate - and leading to a wide range of local trends and craft techniques. Each region has developed its own styles, which have become integral parts of the identity of the people working and living in its lands. These craft techniques form an invaluable immaterial knowledge, tightly woven into the ability to listen to the natural world and understand how to use it respectfully.

This exhibition will take you on a stroll through an idyllic fashionable garden, to show how inspiration meets technical know-how to produce incredible fashion objects. Divided into two main themes - Motifs and Materials - this visual journey explores our shared heritage to uncover the relationship between what we wear and who we are, and the many ways nature has crafted, and continues to craft, our definition of fashion.