A Fashion Review-Horticulture and Natural History


This is my first review on fashion and therefore I am going to keep it rather short and sweet. This season's trend prediction includes floral prints and bright colors and perhaps a few more. I can hardly keep up with all the various predictions (someone please fetch my taro cards!). The one that caught my attention or more like inspired me to do more research or search is the floral prints.

Swash and a bit of natural history

Before delving into my fashion sense, I will have to make the correction that horticulture is technically included in the natural history branch. The reason I wrote them out separately in the title is because I have always wanted to write something with the word "horticulture" in it. Perhaps a better and more elaborate post at a later time (hint-a film review not exactly on science). The first time the word became a part of my personal vocabulary was upon watching Orlando, a film by Sally Potter based on a Virginia Woolf novel.  In which there is a very funny line about bringing horticulture upon the embarkment of Orlando's first journey to the East as suggested by his (before he turned into a woman) political advisers.

Recently, I find myself utterly taken away by these beautifully crafted printed scarves by a British design duel called Swash. They are by no means newcomers in the fashion world. In fact the label established itself dating back to 2002. The team consists of two Central Saint Martins graduates, Sarah Swash and Toshio Yamanaka. Their prints have been prevalent in pillow designs, furniture upholsteries, iPhone cases and a few other collaborations such as with the Spanish shoe company called Camper.

The versatility of these carves is as far as one's own imagination takes. Each scarf's approximate size is 53" x 53" (135cm x 135cm) for the crêpe de chine ones, and 51" x 83" (130cm x 210cm) for the cotton blend ones which consists of 70% fine cotton and 30% silk. With these over-sized textile pieces, they can be worn as shawls or draped around to the effect of a medium sized capes that come down to just below your breasts depending on your height of course. Also, they can be worn as necklace-like accessories and more like traditional scarves around the neck.

Swash cotton blend 
 Albertus Seba-Le Cabinet des Curiosités Naturelles

Swash and a bit of natural history II
While at MoMA Bookstore this weekend, I found this book-Le Cabinet des Curiosités Naturelles. A book of illustrations commissioned by Albertus Seba a Dutch businessman and an apothecary whom also ran a shop during the eighteen century. All the natural curiosities in the book are his discoveries from trips to exotic places, but the actual drawings are done by skilled artists of the time. There is a very interesting history behind all his collections and how the subject of natural history had a very close tide to apothecaries in more ancient times. However, his collections also consisted of specimens he traded with the sailors he treated when they docked the ship near his hometown as an exchange for his consultation.

Swash crêpe de chine
Le Cabinet des Curiosités Naturelles

Now coming back to these scarves.... I see that there are some similarities between the illustrations of the scarves and the illustrations in this book. The most precious aspect of these scarves is each feels like a piece of drawing with various weights on the lines and saturations of colorings (almost looks as if made with some kind of water-based paint). If you are in the mood to get one of these for yourself, visit Opening Ceremony on Howard Street or go online. As for the book, well, I already mentioned where you could secure a copy for yourself (hint-MoMA Bookshop).

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