Walk the runway at the New York Botanical Garden’s fashion-forward orchid show

February 15, 2024

The Orchid Show: Florals in Fashion, Collina Strada by Hillary Taymour. Photo courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden’s beloved orchid show returns this weekend, bringing the catwalk with it. Designed by artists Hillary Taymour, Olivia Cheng, and FLWR PSTL (a.k.a. Kristen Alpaugh), “The Orchid Show: Florals in Fashion” is transforming the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory into a picture-perfect fashion show with stylish creations made with thousands of orchids and accessory plantings. Tickets are now on sale for the show, which opens on Saturday, February 17, and runs through April 21.

The Orchid Show: Florals in Fashion, Dauphinette by Olivia Cheng

Orchids, often referred to as the “divas of the plant world” due to their diversity in appearance, have inspired generations of artists across the world. For this year’s exhibition, the three designers express their unique vision of the connections between fashion and the botanical world.

Hillary Taymour is the founder and creative director of Collina Strada, a fashion platform that encourages self-expression while advocating for climate and social awareness. Olivia Cheng is the designer and founder of the fashion label Dauphinette, known for creating upcycled pieces through preserved botanicals and repurposed materials. Botanical artist Kristen Alpaugh is the founder and creative director of Haus of Stems, the world’s first on-demand botanical art atelier.

The Orchid Show: Florals in Fashion, Dauphinette by Olivia Cheng

Entering the Haupt Conservatory, guests are greeted by a “First Look” installation of striking floral dresses designed by Cheng’s Dauphinette. On a grand staircase in front of a wall of orchids, mirrors, and other plants, mannequins are adorned with Cheng’s captivating floral arrangements, including headdresses of Tillandsia plants suspended in an orb to create a floating effect.

The floral-based outfits are made of colorful “living materials,” including blue-green tresses of Huperzia, pastel rosettes of Echeveria, and Spanish moss. The initial display sets the mood for the rest of the exhibition and kicks off the exciting journey through the Conservatory’s Lowland and Upland Rain Forest Galleries.

Along the way, visitors can experience an orchid diversity display and later, a tunnel of lights where they can strut as if they were walking down the runway.

The Orchid Show: Florals in Fashion, FLWR PSTL aka Kristen Aplaugh

Situated in the Seasonal Exhibition Galleries, FLWR PSTL’s “Close Up” features a flowing cape made of various Phalaenopsis orchids in differing hues of pink and purple, accented by mini ferns. Additional displays include a water lily hoop skirt fountain, thigh-high floral boots, and eye-capturing “Iritherium” plants.

The final gallery showcases Collina Strada’s “Freeze-Frame,” a series of runway vignettes that utilize upcycled materials such as “rose sylk,” made from salvaged rose plants.” Taymour was the first designer to use artificial intelligence to generate ideas for her New York Fashion Week and Spring/Summer 2024 collections, and some of her creations are on view in flower-filled fashion runway frames. The runways are complimented by geometric plantings with spheres of moss with ornamental florals floating overhead.

The Orchid Show: Florals in Fashion, Collina Strada by Hillary Taymour

Horticulturists at NYBG identified and assembled a vast selection of orchids, including rare specimens found throughout the garden’s collections and from some of the most renowned growers around the globe. At this year’s show, the orchids are complimented by a variety of accessory plants, including epiphytic cacti, carnivorous nepenthes, air plants, and more.

On select nights during “The Orchid Show,” visitors ages 21 and over can experience “Orchid Nights,” featuring exhibition viewing, music, cocktails, live performances by the International House of Miyaki Mugler, and food and drinks available for purchase.

Tickets are available for purchase here.


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