Pants made out of plants? RMIT totally went there

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RMIT Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) students collaborated with the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show again this year in a floral delight for the senses.

The students were required to create living fashion using flowers and plant materials fixed onto a mannequin.

“RMIT University’s Bachelor of Fashion (Design)(Honours) has been working with the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show for fifteen years,” RMIT academic and event coordinator Tassia Joannides said.

This year’s theme was ‘HOT HOUSE: Danger, Desire, Delight’ which the students were required to respond to in their designs

“The contrast between danger and desire stood out to me, and the famous Macbeth quote (“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent underneath”) came to mind as an inspiration piece that formed the basis of my developmental research,” student Amy Mitrione said.

Student Angela Wilkes used the symbol of forbidden fruit as “used by evil to ignite desire in the victim and lure them into danger” in response to the brief.

“The image of Forbidden Fruit wasn’t what I had initially envisioned, but it surfaced after looking into a variety of things that can be quite deceptive; appearing enticing and perceived as beautiful but beneath the façade offer deep danger,” Angela said.

The designs enticed the crowds in the 21st year of the show. Gasps, wide eyes and contemplative stares were visitors’ reactions. Pants made out of plants? Student Michelle Attwood went there.

“I focused on the otherworldly part of the hot house theme because I’m always very interested in the unique aspects of design. When I’m developing concepts I always find the unusual and surreal areas of design the most interesting,” Michelle Attwood said.

Michelle used the ever-changing cycle of nature in her design with the flowers blooming over the course of the show in a “stunning effect”.

Preserving the living plant material and flowers were an integral part of the design process, with the fashion students having to think critically about material choice.

“As a fashion student, working with plant materials was definitely out of my comfort zone and a huge challenge, “ Amy said.

Angela dried slices of fruit and used whole apples as they wouldn’t require watering.

“Ever since coming to the RMIT Fashion Open Day in 2012 and seeing the incredible creations of past students, I have wanted to participate in the Flower Show, and now its finally happening,” Angela said.

The show provided the students with an experience exhibiting for a contemporary fashion enterprise; “professional install and de-installation methods appropriate to their designs, and general exhibition conduct”.

The students had a small timeline in which to complete the entire process from conception to creation.

“The students were incredibly professional, working many hours as a part of our intensive event schedule, and showed great teamwork by assisting each other during installation, especially as the strict deadline for judging approached,” Tassia said.

“The final installation for MIFGS was a long two-day process, and we used every minute of the time given to us to install!” Angela said.

The designs were shown in the Great Hall of the Exhibition Buildings, open to the show’s expected 110,000 international, national and local visitors.

“It’s such a fantastic opportunity to have your design displayed in a wonderful exhibition that is viewed by hundreds of thousands of people,” Amy said.

The show allowed student to “engage with a large public audience”, with the winner being interviewed for the Better Homes and Gardens’ MIFGS special and others being featured in newspaper articles and publications.

And while watching endless re-runs of Friends this weekend might seem ideal, a little sunshine never goes astray. Be warned: hay fever sufferers pop a pill pre show. Nothing like an itchy nose and red eyes to ruin an afternoon.

The show runs until Sunday 20 March. For more information on how to purchase tickets visit www.melbflowershow.com.au

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