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Garden Design, Runway Sublime: Photographic Landscape in Fashion

Posted on by Tiffany Danielle
“This world is but a canvas to our imaginations.”

– Henry David Thoreau, American Poet and Philosopher (1817-1862)

Like all designers, I am always looking for new sources of creative inspiration and while reliable mainstays continue to be film, photography, travel and fashion, I particularly enjoy finding examples of creative expression that involve innovative takes on classic conventions. As such, a visual stand-out for me this season has been one trend within the Spring 2012 fashion forecasts featuring bold, photo-realistic landscape images writ large across garments as though they were literal canvases. Here it seems Life is truly imitating Art…or at the very least we’re wearing it!


New York fashion designer, Julian Louie, took his architectural background and filtered it through photographic images taken while on a trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to inspire his designs for the runway.


Sarah Ball’s photograph as applied to Anthropologie’s Kudzu Skirt – oh how beautifully this invasive vine native to southern Japan and Southeast China is rendered here.


Not only do I find these examples aesthetically cool, I like the fact that these clothes were realized with the use of Photoshop and state-of-the-art textile printing techniques that give new life and expression to the common floral print. These are not your standard garden-variety floral chintzes!

Landscape architects use Photoshop often to help clients visualize what is and what can be in your world-view. Here are a few that we completed recently for an expansive property on the east coast.






I find this way of presenting a design intent to be the most persuasive.  I think of it as a makeover for your landscape…but one that lasts much longer than a fashion trend and one that can be enjoyed by many more including friends, family, flora and fauna!

Much like the fashion industry, the practice of landscape architecture involves planning now for the seasons ahead. To us and for many, spring is extra special, following a long dormancy period filled with more subdued vistas. We anticipate this particular season months in advance since so much pre-planning is required on our part to seamlessly synchronize the real-time efforts involved in creating a living landscape.

Check back in the coming weeks as we document one of our tree-tagging trips and look at all the factors that we consider when designing with living materials.  As seen in our earlier post on tagging , we trek off the beaten path, over hill and dale, to find the perfect plant specimens, though our definition of ‘perfect’ is often a little different from everyone elses!

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