Our florist Janet Hodgson of The Flower Gallery was asked by The Rock shopping mall in Bury to design a dress made completely of real flowers. The finished frock was displayed at the centre’s first birthday celebrations and was even worn by a model.
The dress was inspired by The Rock’s logo, which is a woman in a flowery dress surrounded by gorgeous, bright blooms. The brief proved to be a bit tricky for Janet. She says: “The challenge was making it last as the original brief wanted us to use plants.”
After a lot of planning, Janet decided that using plants on the dress just wouldn’t be feasible. Instead, she used cut flowers in water tubes. The trick to making the dress endure was to use flowers that wouldn’t wither and die after a few days, so Janet went for hydrangeas, orchids, roses, germini, hanging amaranthus and a lot of leaves.
The frame was provided by a theatrical company, but was nowhere near strong enough. Janet says: “We had to reinforce it with tent poles and chicken wire – it was like we were on Blue Peter!”
It took Janet and her colleague, Kate Cowgill, a week to reinforce the frame and two days to decorate it with flowers. The structure of the dress made it very heavy, so the model was only able to wear it to have a few photographs taken before it was transferred to a mannequin. Janet adds: “I have to admit that when I first saw it on the model it looked so fabulous that I cried! It was a very proud moment for me.”
Janet has never made an entire dress from flowers before, but she really enjoyed it. “I’m even thinking of taking commissions now,” she says, “it was such fun!”
While this dress was made to be displayed at The Rock, it is possible to add flowers to your own outfits for a night out. Janet told us that you could glue flowers to a dress for a more manageable version of The Rock’s dress. It would be much lighter and should last for the evening. Well done to Janet and her team for all their hard work!
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