#2 PlantsOde to Ivy

  Ivy's
   opulent gift

Oh vicious and beautiful Poison Ivy... She can like no other conquer her surroundings. Shining like a true diva, she attracts all attention, in her expansionism she won’t be holding back. Her sumptuous wardrobe containing the most enchanting colours, from the deepest darkest ruby to a beautiful emerald blush. This intriguing lady has no plans to leave whatsoever, once she’s set her eyes on you_______.

Few plants species attract a frown the way Poison Ivy does. Growing slowly but expanding steadily, despite the roughest weather conditions, she’s one of the strongest and most determined plants of all. The three-leafed North American beauty deceives, blending in with the surroundings seamlessly, changing colours with the seasons and playing an interesting role in the ecosystem. While Poison Ivy and its relatives are universally loathed by most gardeners and hikers, the plant has an intriguing history and is seen by the more aware as a opulent gift of nature. At a time when sustainability, luxury and materials-innovation form a dynamic cross-triangulation energizing the creative industries, plant life – including Poison Ivy- has become a bottomless source of re-interpretation for fashion, architecture and interiors. Fusing the past and present, the natural and synthetic, the organic and structured, the luxurious and humble...

Photography: Marta Bevaqua Photography

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Exotic oddity

In the past, European collectors were eager to buy plants like Poisoned Ivy from the new world, seeing them as exotic and even sourcing them for medicine. With that, Poison Ivy remained a cherished oddity for decades, as travelers and settlers sent them to Europe to be cultivated in royal gardens. As much as the plant may have caused irritation to the curious back then, the paradigm that surrounds Poison Ivy as a gift already existed. The key is to learn to identify it and respect its place in nature. By knowing the cycle of the plant one can know when the oils are most active, and that is at the height of summer. During these times we just need to stay away and respect the plant as a protector of her own kind.

Celebrating the sinuous climbing

While keeping our distance we’re able to see the stunning beauty of it, as poets like Henry Kendall and writers like Charles Dickens did. The Ivy has been a muse to countless artists all along. Art Nouveau made a central point of celebrating the sinuous climbing quality of the Ivy plant in architecture and metal work. This visual language adorned everything inside and outside a building; from a mirror frame to a lamp fixture, or a doorframe to the iconic Parisian metro station entrances. Today’s architects take this vocabulary and move it into a minimal aesthetic. Focusing on singular curved lines for stairway structures and bar handles, organically embracing the edges of walls and celebrating the qualities of a single branch climbing its way to the top. This same concept has inspired modern jewelers to start collaborations as Christies x Latest Revival showcasing a central gem emerging out of white gold diamond adorned branches.

The fairy flowers that once did bloom
and smile beneath its shade
They lingered till the autumn came
and the autumn saw them fade the
emerald leaves that blushed between
The winds away have blown but yet to cheer the mournful scene
The Ivy liveth on

Henry Kendall

Celebrating the sinuous climbing

While keeping our distance we’re able to see the stunning beauty of it, as poets like Henry Kendall and writers like Charles Dickens did. The Ivy has been a muse to countless artists all along. Art Nouveau made a central point of celebrating the sinuous climbing quality of the Ivy plant in architecture and metal work. This visual language adorned everything inside and outside a building; from a mirror frame to a lamp fixture, or a doorframe to the iconic Parisian metro station entrances. Today’s architects take this vocabulary and move it into a minimal aesthetic. Focusing on singular curved lines for stairway structures and bar handles, organically embracing the edges of walls and celebrating the qualities of a single branch climbing its way to the top. This same concept has inspired modern jewelers to start collaborations as Christies x Latest Revival showcasing a central gem emerging out of white gold diamond adorned branches.

The fairy flowers that once did bloom
and smile beneath its shade
They lingered till the autumn came
and the autumn saw them fade the
emerald leaves that blushed between
The winds away have blown but yet to cheer the mournful scene
The Ivy liveth on

Henry Kendall

Indoor nature

Along this architectural dialogue lays the recent growing focus on our environment and the need for our lifestyles to bring the environment and the need for our lifestyles to bring the outdoors in. In conjunction with the rise of vertical garden city spaces, we now see the popular return of plant life in interior and retail design everywhere. With concept stores the backdrop for more holistic environments such as the Loose Leaf in Melbourne and its experimental interpretation of indoor nature. Interior designers explore the Ivy plant as a new vehicle for material experimentation using inclusions, carving and digital printing to mould materials. Nynke Koster’s stool collection ‘Elements of time’ casts museum-door-carvings in silicone shapes, offsetting historical patterns with foam finishes and offbeat colours, thereby placing the filigree Ivy pattern into a completely new context, paving the way for further design interpretations.

Nymph

Giambattista Valli’s Autumn Winter 2013 couture collection already embodied fashion’s love affair with the scrolling Ivy pattern. The collection’s nearly mystical interpretations of nymph-like silhouettes references Botticelli paintings and their opulent filigree patterns.
The diaphanous quality of Valli’s silhouettes also taps into Pre- Raphaelite visions of beauty and style, with importance placed on detailed ornamentation forming the ultimate expression of grace. The strength of the Ivy pattern in today’s fashion coincides with a return to abundant detail, intense colours and complex compositions. There is an uncompromising focus on sumptuousness, which sees the unruly Ivy plant reinterpreted into luscious jacquards, brocades, velvets and velours, allowing surfaces to bloom with opulence.

Spring Summer 2016

Fast forward to the most recent Spring Summer 2016 catwalks, luxurious embroideries and embellishments were celebrated from the high-end Valentino Red to the high street Topshop Unique. In contrast, laser cutting and tonal black and white patterns offered a future facing effect, notably in Marques Almeida’s collection. This sharper approach is also inspiring directional menswear and footwear, combining military and sartorial silhouettes with lace and velvet interpretations of the Ivy pattern. However, denim surface treatments offer the most subversion of the Ivy theme for Spring Summer 2016, with burn out and bleached effects creating both a rugged and romantic approach. Loathed or loved, Poison Ivy is here to stay_______.

A selection from Trendland's timeline, @trendland