I’ve been seriously thinking about bees and how their demise will effect our beloved Earth, we MUST protect them and see that they continue to exist!!! It got me to thinking about how insects, in general, are always with us and how they turn up in fashion, beauty, interiors, art, books…etc., etc! I have gathered so much “stuff” that this will be a two-part post this week and next week.
As I was preparing to do this post I was drawn again to A. S. Byatt’s book, Angels & Insects. I actually saw the film before I read the book. I found both beautifully detailed, the 1995 film, in particular, was visually stunning, (I love Kristen Scott Thomas in anything!) but also disturbing. If you haven’t seen it here is the trailer https://youtu.be/bdqnz-FtIog to wet your appetite.
From the film Angels & Insects, one of the main characters in costume. No, it isn’t for a costume party it is a day dress but why, one would ask, would you want to look like a bumble bee???!!!
A Lasage gold embroidered bee that was created for an Haute Couture garment. Pinterest photo credit unknown.
A truly magnificent gown and hat from the genius of Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. I am obsessed with the faux tortoise shell detail scattered with gold and tortoise bees. The gold honeycomb and bees are all embroidered by hand. Pinterest photo credit unknown.
The Lesage embroidered, on net, sleeve of a Chanel Spring 2016 Haute Couture gown. Pinterest photo credit unknown.
A jeweled honeycomb minaudière from Judith Leiber, I mean seriously…what a work of art!!! Pinterest photo credit unknown. I’ll do a Fashion Flashback story on Judith Leiber in a future post.
A needlepoint chair seat on an antique chair at a private club in Chicago.
Napoleon adored bees and used them in many forms. Here is a woven piece. Perhaps I should adapt it for my logo!!!??? Pinterest photo credit unknown.
Bee hives on the top of a downtown Chicago building. All new commercial roof tops must have green space. Many older buildings such as City Hall have gone green as well. Bravo Chicago. Pinterest photo credit unknown.
The following is taken from the absolutely fascinating website The Honeybee Conservancy http://www.thehoneybeeconversancy.org You can sponsor bee hives and learn so much about bees and their place in history as well as today.
“Although he was never a beekeeper, Napoleon used the honey bee as one of the most important symbols of the power and prestige of his empire.
There seems to be two schools of thought of why Napoleon’s government chose the honey bee as part of its iconography.
One school of thought says the honey bee is representational of the Merovingian kings, the founders of France, with whom Napoleon sought to align himself.
“When Napoleon moved into the Royal Palace at Tuileries he refused to spend money on new decor. However, he could not allow the drapery – with its embroidered fleur-de-lis (the French Royal emblem) – to continue to hang in the windows of the palace. His solution was to have the rich and elegant drapes turned upside down. The inverted symbol of the overthrown monarchy looked like a bee. From then on, the tenacious bee became the emblem of Napoleon Bonaparte. “
I took this photo at last month’s Randolph Street Market at Carrie Homann’s booth, on the Second Floor in the Ballroom, from a collection of insect pins. Isn’t the golden bee especially fabulous! Carrie always has some insect jewelry at the Shows, but she has so many other collections I would suggest you check her out each month (I’ll be posting more from her especially her Bakelite pieces) and remember if you see something you like, at any of the booths, buy it, it many not be there later that day nor the next month. When you find something you like be sure to ask the dealer if they have any other treasures you might be collecting, they will be happy to let you know what else they might not have brought that month. http://www.randolphstreetmarket.com
A close up of a silver bee pin from Carrie Homann’s jewelry collection.
A magnificent necklace (I may need to make this my own, love it!) from the unbelievably talented Stephanie Lake (you remember the week of posts, the week of December 12, 2016, I did on Stephanie, her book on Bonnie Cashin and how she and her husband entertain) http://www.stephanielakedesign.com Photo courtesy of Stephanie Lake Design.
Let’s switch from bees to beetles….a fascinating story about beetle wing embroidery this amazing phenomenon was brought, along with the site infomation, to my attention by my friend and Columbia College Chicago Faculty member, Virginia Heaven (you have seen some pieces from her vast collections of objects in past posts). I, of course, needed to do some research on this and found a couple of photos on Pinterest photo credits unknown, that I am sharing with you.,
The following excerpt is from the scolarly journal, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide http://www.19thc-artworldwide.org It is an absolutely fascinating site.
“The earliest form of insect-adorned Western dress derived its inspiration from beetle-embridroidered fabric from India imported by England in the 1840’s and 1850’s.”
Next Thursday we will continue to explore the world of insects in fashion, beauty and home…don’t freak out, we will look at some more beetles and the sheer beauty of the webs spiders spin. I think you will be interested, and perhaps educated, I know I have been, in how they are used in ways you wouldn’t consider, and no, I’m not doing any recipes using them!!!!!
I leave you with a man and his suit……
Love this post! I planted my garden in Wisconsin with all pollinators! A couple of bees came while I was still mulching! Karen
Thanks Karen. Be sure to see part 2 next week!!! Enjoy your garden.
Stunning fashions with bees!!
I know, who knew!!!!!
I love the idea that Napoleon might have taken the fleur -de -lis and turned it upside down. I will look at my bee fabric on my chairs differently now. Love my fabric, but unfortunately allergic to bees! Great article Nena.
Thanks again for your support and comments. I am also allergic to bee stings, but that doesn’t stop me from admiring them.