Like Project Runway with Flowers!


Greek inspired papier-matche dress

Fashion design students at the Art Institute of Philadelphia will get to see their designs come alive at the 2010 Philadelphia International Flower Show.  From Guatemala to Egypt to Japan, dresses inspired by 10 countries will be featured as part of “Passport to the World” in Hall B.

The students’ garments were first modeled for Flower Show Designer Sam Lemheney in December. The chosen designs will be paired with floral designs from the area’s best who will interpret the dresses into blossoming displays.

Sixteen dresses were chosen based on texture, color and overall design.  Every dress represents a country and each student had to use one “untraditional” material in one of their dresses.

“I remember doing these kinds of projects in design school,” says Senior Flower Show Coordinator Betty Greene. “It’s hard! The details and materials [the students] used are just wonderful!”

Fashion student Tracey Cameron used papier-mâché to form a Grecian cocktail dress. She said she wanted to play with the draped styles of traditional Greek dresses but also bring it up-to-date.

“It took about four days of drying and layering to form the dress,” said Cameron. “And the model gets in it through a panel on the side.”

Side panel of a modern Grecian dress

Colors and materials in Cameron’s dress are ideal for inspiration for a complimentary floral piece. However, the students’ dresses will also serve as a challenge to this year’s floral designers.

Student Kimberly Casciato concentrated on texture for both of her Mayan-inspired dresses, which “represent” Guatemala.  One dress drapes in a sexy, yet conspicuous way over the model’s body, while the other dress almost seems to stand up on its own.

By using raffia as her untraditional item, Casciato constructed a thatched dress that incorporates all-natural materials and muted colors.
“The floral designers can pull from my earth-toned aesthetic for their designs,” said Casciato, “I thought of dark leaves and sultry fabrics instead of like, bright poppy colors.”

To create her raffia and burlap dress, Casciato says she had to build two looms so the raffia could be woven tightly. The result is an amazingly sturdy skirt that stands like a thatched hut.

The students will meet with the floral designers in January to see how their creations will be interpreted through flowers.

For more information on all the competitive classes at the Flower Show, visit here.

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