This year’s RMIT Floral Fashion pieces challenged the crossover between art and fashion at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.
Third year Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) students filled the Great Hall of Flowers at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building with garments created using flowers honouring the Offshoots theme and taking inspiration from Dutch design duo Viktor&Rolf.
With only two days to set up before the five-day show, the students took on rigorous preparation that paid off, and their 18 diverse creations captured the attention of gardeners and fashion-forward individuals alike.
Lecturer at RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles Tarryn Handcock said the Floral Fashion project helped the cohort broaden their knowledge and skillset.
“It required them to think about their roles as emerging designers, but was also an exciting opportunity to create otherworldly things,” she said.
Student Grace Cooper came in first place with a “clever and intriguing” piece inspired by the concept of a flower bursting into life.
She said she felt like she had to pinch herself to believe she had won, and said the fashion design program environment helped her flourish as a designer.
“Everyone is super supportive and just wants the best for each other,” she said.
“I’ve been exposed to so many amazing industry people who donate their time to come in and teach us their ways.”
In second place was Alice Kavanagh Federici, who plucked grass and flowers from her own garden to create a fairytale-esque garment.
“We branched out into using materials that you wouldn’t usually use and created wearable art – something that a lot of people don’t think about when they think about fashion,” she said.
Tara Ingram and Belinda Sorrentino tied for third place, each impressing the judges with their takes on the Offshoots theme.
Ms Ingram recreated her childhood memories of Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania, using native hydrangeas, ferns and gumtree bark.
She said the project was something she had “definitely not had experience with before”.
“No other universities get to do the flower show, and the coverage that it gets is really helpful, career-wise.”
Ms Sorrentino, who stripped 700 leaves during her production process, owed the success of her “ethereal and sculptural” garment to the support of the programs’ tutors, Tarryn Handcock and Tassia Joannides who “really paved the way for our creativity”.
“They really let you have the freedom to be the designer you’re meant to be,” she said.
Before the show, students were treated to a masterclass with renowned milliner and School of Fashion and Textiles alumni Richard Nylon and Liz Ricci from Flower Temple.
Ricci was also on the Floral Fashion panel along with Elizabeth Anya-Petrivna from the National Trust.
RMIT is ranked first in Australia and 17th in the world for fashion education by the Business of Fashion Global School Rankings.
Story: Jennifer Park