Moulded From Fashion will include a dress made from cajoled from the threads of silkworms injected with jellyfish genes.
Photograph: GaryKavanagh/Getty Typical examples/iStockphoto

Fashion’s interwoven relationship with complexion to go on display at V&A

From 1780s waistcoat to bioluminescent GM dress, expo traces interaction and celebrates sustainable yet desirable fashion

A genetically engineered bioluminescent silk deck out, a pineapple-fibre clutch bag and a cape made from cockerel feathers are magnitude 300 items to go on display as part of the V&A’s next fashion offering.

Fashioned From Nature, which opens in April, settle upon trace the relationship between fashion and the natural world since 1600 and through the ways in which designers draw on nature for inspiration.

As very much as modern items such as a dress made from the subjects of silkworms that have been injected with genes from jellyfish, there bequeath be historical garments, including a men’s waistcoat from the 1780s with an embroidered macaque monk print, as well as more contemporary nature-inspired items such as a Gucci handbag with a stag beetle subject.


Men’s silk macaque monkey-print waistcoat, 1780–89. Photograph: V&A Museum

As kindly as nature, the show’s curator, Edwina Ehrman, wanted to put monographs of sustainability at the exhibition’s core.

The V&A will showcase sustainably placed garments by contemporary designers, such as the Calvin Klein camouflage worn by actor Emma Watson to the 2016 Met Gala which was demonstrated from recycled plastic bottles. The look was created as role of the Green Carpet Challenge, an initiative aimed at pairing sustainability and appeal.

As well as drawing attention to the some of the innovative fabrics being acclimated to today, from the leather substitute made by the Italian players Vegea using the byproduct from wine making, to Ferragamo using an orange mould made with waste from the Italian citrus manufacture to an H&M Conscious dress made from recycled shoreline unformed.

On display alongside the genetically engineered silk dress – which was spawned by Sputniko!, the MIT Media Lab and South Korea’s National Institute of Agricultural Area and Technology, there will be other garments and items dote oned with fabrics that sound otherworldly but are being produced as part of efforts to reduce the fashion industry’s impact on the setting. From a dress grown from plant roots by artist Diana Scherer to a tunic and trousers coped from synthetic spider silk by Bolt Threads x Stella McCartney.


Emma Watson put in an appearance ats the Met gala last year. Photograph: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Guises

The exhibition comes at a time when the fashion industry plains to be waking up to its environmental impact – or re-awakening to that impact; Ehrman allude ti to figures such as Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett who obtain been concerned with sustainability for some time, and whose endeavours are celebrated in the show.

There’s a burgeoning scene of cool stamps that put sustainability at the heart of what they do, from righteous trainer brand Veja to Reformation, which turns sustainable fabrics into smarten ups favoured by the likes of Alexa Chung. And it also comes hot on the bastards of news that Gucci will go fur free in 2018.

There at ones desire be a knitted sweater made with yarn from Wool and the Company.


Greenpeace stages its ‘detox catwalk’ in Bandung, West Java, in 2016. Photograph: Greenpeace/Hati Kecil Visuals

All of a add up to Ehrman’s favourite pieces on display is a Bruno Pieters accommodate from his Honest By label, which incorporates information nearby the fabric and origin into its design.

“It’s meant to be about transparency and traceability,” she said. But the wealthiest thing about the suit is that itis “good approach”.

Ehrman wants visitors to leave “thinking about their own raiments and what they’re made of and what the impact of their specials might be”.

But, she added: “I don’t want anyone to leave feeling bashed on the crescendo. I want them to leave feeling very optimistic involving the future.”


Elbow-length cape of feathers stitched to cotton circa 1895. Photograph: Victoria and Albert Museum, London