Metamorphosis is a Greek term that stands for “transformation”. A biological process that is common in many insects, it is also perhaps one of the best ways to describe fashion. From day to night, season to season and through the years, we change our clothes and, in doing so, transform ourselves. This week’s article is all about the art of transformation – from colours to shapes to styles – and is inspired by the Blue Morpho butterfly.
Changing colours like a butterfly
The Blue Morpho butterfly’s iridescent wings appear cobalt blue without any colour pigment. This optical illusion is due to the many layers of protein on the scales of the butterflies’ wings that refract light in different ways. In 2010, Australian designer Donna Sgro created a dress made from Morphotex – a fabric that imitates the microscopic structure of the wing using nanotechnology. This is one of many examples of nature-inspired fashion, the subject of my recent article for The Guardian Sustainable Fashion Hub, which you can read here.
Ever needed to go from the office straight to a cocktail party without a wardrobe stop? Italian designer Flavia La Rocca, who I met at the Forests for Fashion event in Geneva, has the answer: modular clothes that allow you to modify your outfit according to your mood and the occasion. In her S/S14 collection, nine pieces can create more than 23 combinations thanks to cleverly hidden zippers. In Flavia’s own words, “The use of recycled and regenerated fabrics, an entirely ‘Made in Italy’ production together with the idea of modularity make it a sustainable collection both conceptually and practically”. No surprise that Flavia has been hand-picked by model, actress and sustainable fashion campaigner Amber Valletta to be a part of her Master & Muse project!
Last season’s fashion?
To me, there is no such thing as last season’s fashion. Yes, there are looks that are temporarily on hold but, if one is patient, s/he will be rewarded when that particular style makes a comeback. Take, for example, the flared trousers – the hot trend for 2014. Or was it 2004? Because I clearly remember proudly wearing those (very flattering) flares a decade ago. And so did my mother around the same age that I am now, if I look at her photos from the 1970s. Point is, don’t hasten to bin your last season’s must-haves. Save them for a few years – or better still, a decade – and you’ll have the added bonus of being able to call them vintage!
Like butterflies, women have mastered the art of transformation. And I hope that glam-and-green ideas like these will grow and develop – like a caterpillar in its cocoon – to make fashion truly sustainable and transformational.
To quote Richard Buckminster Fuller, American scientist and inventor who coined the concept of “Spaceship Earth” to visualize our planet’s limited resources, “There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”