Plastified Ikebana

Plastified ikebana


After  some 1 euro blazers found in thrift stores in the Marais and some japanese prints, we evolved to a plastic dress filled with our childhood memories. How did we get here ? As we shaped our blazers, we found excitement with its trendy shapes. However, this was not our goal, so as the unconventional materials took place, it consumed our project and left us with new inspirations.


First sketches :


My relationship with nature but also with materials recovered from the street has always been intense. When I was younger, I made a trip to Japan that totally changed my vision on Japanese art and culture. The methaphoric title that I gave to my project expresses my passion and my admiration for the art of Ikebana, the respect for flowers and the almost sculptural and artistic composition. That’s how I started to appreciate the artistic side of flowers and I’ve been observing their potential to create a garment with a warning message.


Traces of the precise origin of flower compositions have been lost in the history of Japan. The tradition of ikebana, however, has evolved for nearly six centuries. In 1462, the monk of the Kyoto Rokkakudo Temple, Ikenobo Senkei, became the first known master of the flower organization. His disciples continued his work, spreading his ideas from the religious caste to the samurai class where it became a sign of refinement. Later, the lender and Ikebana master, Ikenobo Senno, wrote in the mid-16th century Ikebana teachings :

“Not only beautiful flowers, but also withered buds and flowers have life and each one has its own beauty.” By arranging the flowers with respect, one refines oneself.




Since this wonderful trip, the Japanese inspiration remains almost present in all my works. Since I was small and until now I have always lived in the Paris region, Le Vesinet, where the atmosphere is very relaxing, and lakes and nature proliferates. Constantly, the reminisence of the memory of the Japanese trip reappeared in my thoughts, every time I walk near the lakes of vesinet. I see Japanese trees everywhere.


Le Vesinet (Japanese inspirations):







Le Vesinet (color theme):






Series of Japanese motifs :















While studying in Paris, I realized how much the city produce waste : in the shopping centers, the supermarkets, the plastic proliferates. That’s why I wanted to use this recycled packaging material as a criticism. I experimented with plastic to unravel original volumes, and I began to study what materials to add, to create a look both unconventional and representative of my inspirations. Finally, I chose flowers and vegetation (pretty Asian such as bamboo) that I made prisoner under plastic. They are especially placed at the level of the heart and torso since all these problem of sustainable development really hold me to heart.



Studying plastic :



Moodboard / Plastic Research :



I made a corset molded with transparent tape to give a dimension to the bottom of the skirt and the shoulder. I chose to make a tape corset to keep this effect of transparency but also to push my limits and try to find ways to recycle materials that I already have. Vegetation and flowers on the torso and chest are forced to evolve in an increasingly industrialized environment, the plastic is an impediment nature growth. Inside, we also decided to add text laser cut on rubans. The text of Jean de La Fontaine “le Chêne et la Fleur” was really important to Nile and me because it deals with Nature and our childhood in France. Through the figure of the reed, La Fontaine recommends finding strength in a prudent wisdom, and not in a direct conflict.


We stole the plastics that fill our oceans and the flowers that fall from trees. We repurposed ribbon scraps from past projects and our designs kept evolving. How do two designers that grew up in neighboring towns and never met, then come together 15 years later for a project in Fashion Illustration ? Our ideas seem to correlate and bring together themes of family, nature, and sustainability. We share our stories back and forth and land on the french poetry, the kind that’s for kids, the kind that our grandparents would ask us to recite for them.

After playing with plastics and prints of nature on  the mannequin, sketching down each step, a rhythm flowed within our work, pinning down each look, making a mess of ribbons and thread. Our excitement for this project flourished as we connected to the material. As we ran through the Monoprix checking for whatever plastic packaging was going to be thrown out, we talked to workers to see what hours the plastics were thrown, to know which time we should come in daily. It was a joyous feeling to know that we were repurposing something that is so easily wasted. The Monoprix workers chuckled at out enthusiasm and where very puzzled to what our goal was. We explained to them that we were creating a garment with it. Then, as we left, we heard a yell: it was one of the women running after us with innumerable amounts of plastic to help us with our quest.

I still lives in the town we grew up in : Le Vesinet, I brought with my leaves and flowers, and lots of bamboo from the city. It’s contrast with the plastic ironically felt compatible to the dress. Inspired by our text filled ribbon we decided that these french poems were a big part of us and had been reflected in our sketches and photos. Therefore, we decided to print this poem from the fables de la fontaine: Le Chêne et La Fleur into a fabric that we then cut into ribbons. They lay tangled among the leaves. Trapped within the plastic covers and contained by a plastic corset.

Book of the process :

The text of Jean de La Fontaine “le Chêne et la Fleur” was really important to Nile I because it deals with Nature and our childhood in France. We decided to  integrate in a poetic way these memories to the garment because it reminds us our childhood learning the Fable de la Fontaine at school. Belonging to the world’s literary heritage, fables are often assimilated to youth, and aim to please and educate (placere / docere). But behind an apparent lightness, the fables always hide important messages related to human nature. In “Le chêne et la fleur”,  through the figure of the reed, La Fontaine recommends finding strength in a prudent wisdom, and not in a direct conflict.

Le chêne et la fleur, Jean de La Fontaine :

A l’ombre d’un chêne avait poussé une fleur,

Désespérément seule oubliée par les Dieux,

Sous l’élan d’un zéphyr qui soufflait merveilleux,

Elle ouvrait sa corolle pour dévoiler son cœur.

Pourtant un beau matin le vent se fît plus fort,

Soulevant dans la plaine brindilles et branchages,

Annonçant menaçant la venue d’un orage,

Déracinant le chêne le couchant sur le bord.

La rose fort cultivée se souvint du roseau,

Esquissant un sourire et se moquant du chêne,

Ouvrant sa corolle pour bien montrer aux herbes,

Que le vent choisissait à qui faire ses cadeaux.

S’en suivirent des jours ou la fleur pavanait,

Se parant au soleil de couleurs prétentieuses,

Secouant ses pétales de façon outrageuse,

Ignorant qu’un beau jour elle le regretterait.

Un matin insouciante elle lissait ses feuilles,

Profitant pour ce faire des perles de rosée,

Se mettant en valeur ignorant les dangers,

Qui menacent les plantes et autres quintefeuilles.

Un randonneur alors vers la belle se pencha,

Et humant son parfum caressa son feuillage,

Puis sortant un bocal comme un triste présage,

D’un coup sec la coupa, ensuite l’enferma.

L’agonie fut fort longue dans son tube étouffée,

De quoi bien méditer sur ses erreurs commises,

Des regrets bien tardifs sur toute vantardise,

Et l’errance éternelle… Au milieu d’un herbier.


Having text on the garment is a way to capture memory, making our remembrance  real and eternal. By mixing the ribbons twisted around nature, sealed inside plastic, we confined all of our memories that we care about. These memories will fly away and disappear along with the deterioration of nature. Unlike fables, the final garment is not necessarily pleasant to look at, and rather brutally imposes the situation of today based on waste. The pleasing aspects : ribbons, poetry, and flowers, are trapped inside the plastic and set the final message, touching the viewer.

Final capsule collection line up :










Prototype :



Our final look resembles the nature of our cities and undeniably pushes forward the consciousness to the paradox. Can nature survive this overconsumption of plastic that our society has grown accustomed to ? Will the trees we grew up besides surpass the plastic film ?



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