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Insider Insights: Articles

From beetles dresses to Siamese fighting fish gowns -- A look at the top five nature inspired fashions

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By Dalia Ibrahim
Digital Reporter
Monday, December 2, 2013, 1:18 PM

For an artist, the source of inspiration is sometimes as consequential as the creation itself. Whether it be a designer, painter, architect or photographer -- unleashing their inner genius comes from getting out of an enclosed area and finding the beauty, grit and symbolism in everyday life. After all, art is ordinary life charged with meaning. 

The challenge for fashion designers is slightly unique in that they must find the right balance between artistic expression, functionality and mass market appeal. With that sort of pressure, it's no wonder you'll find many designers with their head in the clouds, quite literally, looking for Mother Nature to inspire their next big 'it' dress. 

From Milan to New York, here's a look at a growing group of influential designers who have turned back to the land and focused on a new kind of earthy fashion:

5. RODARTE: Siamese fighting fish dresses 

The talent behind sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy saw no bounds when designing their 2008 fall/winter collection for their label Rodarte.

(Image: Trend de le Creme)

(Image: Trend de le Creme)

Inspired fully by Siamese fighting fish, the dynamic duo seamlessly captured the complex beauty and graceful movements of the exotic fish, through their ethereal and airy maxi- dresses. 

Trend de la Creme did a superb job of pairing these layered dresses with the fish that seemed to be the source of inspiration.

To view Rodarte's entire fall/winter 2008 collection, click here. See more side-by-side comparisons on Trend de la Creme, here

(Image: Trend de le Creme)

(Image: Trend de le Creme)

4. ALEXANDER MCQUEEN: Free as a bird 

The late Alexander McQueen skyrocketed to success in the mid-nineties with one-boundary breaking runway show after another.

It all started with the British haute couture designer's 1995 spring/summer Hitchcock-inspired collection, titled 'The Birds'. 

The avian themed collection was dubbed a 'revelation' by Vogue's European Editor-at-large Hamish Bowles.

(Image: thefashionarchive.blogspot.ca)

(Image: thefashionarchive.blogspot.ca)

Thirteen years later, the designer would revisit the bird theme in a fall 2008 ad campaign. The spread featured the beautiful Alice McGibb as a sort of bird, caught among the twigs and sticks of an ominous looking nest. At the time, the designer was quoted as saying the idea had come from a 600-year-old tree in the back of his country house. 

Sarah Burton would take over as creative director for Alexander McQueen, following his untimely death on February 11, 2010.

(Image: Wicked-halo.com)

(Image: Wicked-halo.com)

3. ZUHAIR MURAD: Enchanted Forest 

One normally wouldn't associate the woods with fashions front-row elite, but that is exactly where Beirut-based Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad took them at this year's Paris Fashion Week.

His 2013 fall haute couture collection, aptly titled 'Enchanted Forest', featured an array of gowns with interwoven vines and twigs throughout. 

Tactfully sewn against layers of nude tulle, these meandering twigs and vines gave the impression that they were organically growing on the models bodies -- akin to an elegant nymph-like queen of the forest. 

To view Zuhair Murad's entire Fall 2013 Haute Couture collection, click here.

2. MARIOS SCHWAB: Beetle Couture 

Destroying all preconceived notions of how beetles can be fashionable (queue Beetlejuice theme song here), was Marios Schwab's fall 2008 collection.

(Image: Trend de la Creme)

(Image: Trend de la Creme)

The London designer infused the runway with monochromatic floor-length dresses, each cut, layered or stitched with additional fabrics to resemble an insect of the Coleoptera family. 

Visit Trend de la Creme for more from this show.

(Image: Trend de la Creme)

(Image: Trend de la Creme)

1. CHRISTIAN SIRIANO: Nature's Fury 

Christian Siriano (better known as the season four winner of Project Runway) took New York Fashion Week by storm with his debut collection back in 2009.

Drawing inspiration from stormy sunset skies, the young designer used a wide range of greys, dim yellows and bright oranges, as a way to emulate rays of sunlight streaming through a dark sky. Siriano referred to his pieces as "lightning dresses" -- some of which were completed with Victorian inspired cloud-like hats!

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