Thursday, December 15, 2011

Butterfly Dresses

You may already have seen this amazingly-gorgeous-wow dress by Luly Yang. Although I'm not really into high fashion this incredible dress caught my eye quite a few years ago and I haven't forgotten it.

(Does that magazine cover say '68??! It must have made a comeback in the early 2000s for me to have noticed it.)

Here's a slightly different version which is being used around the web. It appears to be designed after (ie. "in the style of") the Luly Yang dress but I don't know who the official designer is of this one or when it appeared.

2011 (as far as I can tell) was the first year a designer came close to making the same impact with an original take on the butterfly theme. You have to admit, the monarch butterfly is so striking all on its own. To have a dress that would make as big an splash not using the monarch design and colors would be difficult. One designer seems to have found a way to look beyond this (now) classic, still using the impact of the monarch but in a very different way.

The designer is Alexander McQueen, who has an incredible flair for the fantastic in his designs.

There are even matching shoes! (I'm thinking comfort isn't premium for these sandals, though looks can be deceiving.) 

Check out the Alexander McQueen website and click on The Experience - wow. The 2011 collection in particular all looks like it was designed for a modern court of Faerie, complete with those princess-hip-flares [hip bustles??] you see in King Louis the XIV court styles. The 2011 collection is definitely nature inspired too so, again, perfect for a modern Faerie court.
I only wish the dress were longer with a sleeker silhouette, rather than going for the hip-bustle (?) short skirt look. I think a long sheath version, perhaps with a large and long hem flare and train, would be incredibly elegant and regal.
This is a backstage shot but I love the natural looking lighting here. I'll have to search to see if they did a magazine shoot for this dress. Imagine the possibilities!

Normally you think butterfly dress = fairy queen or Midsummer Night's Dream and that certainly is fitting. I, however, can't help think of a butterfly dress being the perfect outfit for Cinderella. (Has anyone done that anywhere?) The metaphor is fitting and I even found a very different butterfly dress that would work for a Cinderella character too. This dress is now in a museum and apparently marks an emergence in the history of fashion design (although this reminds me of ancient Egyptian silhouettes...).

From the Brooklyn Museum:
This design invites multiple interpretations. The form alludes to the extreme bustles of the 1880s and at the same time can be imagined as a transformation of the female body into that of a butterfly with iridescent wings that shimmer when they move. References to the past aside, it was a form hitherto unknown in the history of fashion. Twenty-five yards of tulle were used in its making.
And since we're on the subject of butterfly dresses I had to include this art piece titled "While You Were Sleeping" by Su Blackwell (perhaps best known for her incredible fantasy paper cut work) which, again, feels very Cinderella-appropriate to me.

Little aside: while butterflies have married well with Cinderella in my brain for some time now, I hadn't thought to connect Cinderella and sleep before. I love that there are so many different ways to look at the tales!

The dress, and other pieces of Ms. Blackwell's work, reminds me of that last beautiful scene from The Corpse Bride (which is, as you probably know, based on a Russian-Jewish folk tale). I wonder if Tim Burton was inspired by Ms. Blackwell and her butterflies? The butterfly is the running theme throughout that movie and is used so beautifully.


  1. You are right. Copying the coloring of the Monarch Butterfly creates exceptional clothing. I loved your examples. The dresses are exquisite.

  2. Amazing! Every dress is so evocative and astounding. A. McQueen was my sister's (and my) favorite designer growing up. So sad that such an artist should fall before the renaissance of Faerie Tales.
    Also, I want those shoes!!!

  3. Those first two dresses are spectacular!

  4. The butterfly dresses r awesome! So beautiful.. And the pink one with butterflies flying around it is so lovely too =D

    I love them!

  5. I love the first dress!! How much is it? and... can I buy it? *-*