This year, I was lucky enough to be a part of The Melbourne International Flower And Garden Show held at the Royal Exhibition Building. I was given an opportunity to step completely out of my comfort zone and design an installation made entirely out of living flower and plant matter! Talk about a nervous breakdown! As a fashion student, it was an incredible experience to explore different materials and textures and create a design that was seen by hundreds of thousands of people. It was an experience, that gave me all the feelings in the world at any one given time. Anxious, excited, nervous, thrilled, I felt it ALL.
It was a two week long process of developmental work and then an intensive two day set up with LOTS of snacks and coffee breaks.
What I LOVED about this kind of exhibition, wasn’t just workng with pretty blooms (flower lover over here!), and it wasn’t just being able to sneak peak all the other gorgeous installations of the entire show, it was the challenge, the adrenaline pumping during those intensive two day set up days, and the confidence boosting experience of seeing so many people love my work during the course of the exhibition (yes, I did visit my flower baby more than once, actually … four times). It was so rewarding to express myself creatively at exhibition level, something I have never had the pleasure of experiencing before this.
There were so many different things I had to consider that I never really have to think about when I am working with fabrics. I had to consider the longevity of the materials I would be using and how they would stay alive and fresh during the course of the exhibition. I also had to consider the weight of the materials as plant matter is significantly heavier than fabric. With fabric, you can create an entire mock up of your design piece to test and discover wheat works and what does not work. With this kind of exhibition, due to the costs of plant materials and the time deadline, I was not able to do so. If I encountered any difficulties during set up, I had to problem solve along the way and find another creative path to achieve results and fast!
The theme this year was HOT HOUSE: DANGER. DESIRE. DELIGHT. I responded to the theme by understanding that a hot house conserves and preserves plantation, and relating this to our beauty ideals in today’s society and our obsession with preserving our beauty over time. Through the use of materials with a contrast of colours and textures (some delicious!), I demonstrate that what is on the inside is just as important as what is on the outside. I also think there is a direct correlation between fashion, art and literature. When I began research into the theme, the contrast between danger and desire intrigued me and a number of famous literary quotes came to mind (Macbeth anyone?) as an inspiration piece that formed the basis of my developmental research. I think that art, fashion and literature can inspire one another but I do know the age old question ‘Is fashion art?’ poses a series of many arguments and discussions, one which doesn’t have a definitive answer.
To all those creative types out there that are too afraid to show their work, that feel as though their work is never good enough or finished (I am VERY guilty of these feelings), to you, I say, bite the bullet and put yourself out there! People will respond, connect with and enjoy your work, and the challenge and rewards will change you forever.
A huge thankyou to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show for having us, Mei and Picchi for their lovely mannequins, and ofcourse RMIT for their support.