I think there is a book to be written on the history of floral prints in fashion. They are some of the earliest patterns ever to appear on textiles, and continue to be one of the most prolific. I’m still not a huge fan of wearing floral prints myself, but I would be fascinated to know how other women feel about them. Flowers have always been a symbol of femininity, and historically, many species are associated with precise meanings for everything from “presumptuous” to “patriotism”. In the 70s, flower prints became synonymous with peace and love. Today, to what extent do fashion designers keep this in mind?
Sunny Gu is an illustrator with a particular interest in both fashion and flowers. And whether or not she knows something about The Language of Flowers, or just happens to have excellent intuition, her rich, exotic drawings have an even deeper meeting. Take these first three portraits, for example: thistle is for nobility, lupine for imagination and fuchsia for good taste. Looking at each image, it’s hard to believe such choices were unintentional. But I’m also a believer in the happy accident. Either way, I think having this extra bit of background knowledge allows someone to look at art containing plants in a different light. Think of it as if you spoke Chinese and could tell that someone’s “love” tattoo actually means “red snapper”.