Butterflies are one of the top motifs amongst almost all designer and luxury brands. Haute Couture and butterflies seem to be closely connected. Where does this trend come from? Why are designers so obsessed with butterflies? And why are butterflies so diverse and colourful in the first place?
Ever since butterflies have been a popular motif in luxury across all cultures. May it be the intense colours, the innovative colour combinations, mystical patterns or the miraculous metamorphosis; Butterflies don’t cease to inspire writers, artists and designers.
The endless variation of butterfly wings seem to have much in common with the variations and designs of Haute Couture. In both worlds – Nature and Haute Couture – each colour and pattern has its meaningful purpose. Some butterflies show off their deadly poison by having flashy warning colours while others just pretend to be poisonous. Some blend in their environment with perfect camouflage patterns and others have such shiny blue wings that they can attract another female from over 8 km distance.
Their colourful wings can be seen as statement pieces telling much about its wearer. Alexander McQueen always was drawing his inspiration from natural elements especially from butterflies. Alexander McQueen was one of the first fashion designers who saw the great potential of the natural patterns and colours of butterfly wings. Allegedly his butterfly designs are inspired by his childhood memories. His butterfly headdresses designs, he got made by Philip Treacy (made out of hand-painted turkey feathers), are until today famous proof of his early butterfly fascination. They were even displayed during his “Alexander McQueen: Beauty Savage” exhibition 2014 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
In the last years Haute Couture designers across all brands rediscovered the beauty of butterflies and their wings. Besides at Alexander McQueen, this trend can now be seen at brands like Dior, Nancy Gonzalez, Chanel, Sophia Webster, Silvia Furmanovich, Gucci, Katrantzou, Ralph & Russo, Hèrmes, Stella McCartney, Bottega Veneta, Gaultier and even more. Butterflies are the absolute stars within the fashion animal kingdom.
The following three brands, Valentino, Gucci and Sophia Webster, are particular examples of how the nature of butterfly was inspiring large designers:
Butterfly wings are one of the greatest inspirations in fashion. It’s worth to have a look at the butterfly exhibitions of, for example, the Natural History Museum in London or boutiques like Deyrolle in Paris where butterflies in all shapes, sizes and colours can be seen. That is at least, where Haute Couture designers currently draw their inspiration from.