As a designer, I personally love butterflies . They are a natural wonder, especially the monarch butterfly who can fly the amazing journey of 2500 miles during migration. Butterflies were fashionable in the 1950’s and 60’s where designers used the actual wings in jewelry. Today, Kate Spade and other designers are bringing the butterfly motif back into trend. It is now possible to find butterfly imagery on computer covers, fabrics, jewelry, fashion, accessories and home decor. They’re colorful, beautiful, delicate yet strong. When I see butterflies, they make me feel happy, light and airy creating an ethereal effect. They also have some interesting symbolism. Read On…
Photo courtesy of www.shop.nordstrom.com
The Greeks believed that when butterflies fluttered from one flower to another , constantly changing from one subject to the next , it represented the restlessness of the mind. The actual word for butterfly in Greek is “psyche”. This is where the word psychology is derived from, meaning the study of the mind. There beauty has always caught the eye of many designers and why not? Each butterfly wing is unique.
Butterflies have long been a fashion favorite but what I love is Vivienne Tam’s HP laptop design. How appropriate to have a butterfly on a laptop! Nature, fashion and beauty finally meet up with technology.
Photo courtesy of www.hp.com
Butterflies in the Western world symbolize:
These symbols seem to resonate through many product designs. Extraordinary designers like Alexander McQueen, Rene Caovilla and Anna Seth were definitely inspired by these gorgeous insects.
Many ancient cultures have used actual butterflies and imagery in design but it was the Victorian era that propelled the butterfly to become a fashion item. They often lacquered the wings of butterflies and insects creating “real ” jewelry. Various pieces that were made included :
The lustrous shine from the butterfly wings were the attraction as well as the unique designs and colors of the wings. As we move forward in time, butterfly motifs continuously come back into fashion. Armani started incorporating butterflies into his fashions early on in 2009 when he designed his Madame Butterfly dress. Judith Lieber, famous designer of luxury handbags designed this gorgeous Butterfly Celestrina Clutch, an object of beauty but with a purpose; just like the butterfly itself. As a designer, Judith’s bag is definitely eye candy!
It’s not always the beauty of a butterfly or an insect that inspires us, but often it’s behavior. Mohammad Ali was known for his famous speech which started with “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Other writings such as poems and quotes like “Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you” by Nathaniel Hawthorne; they all refer to the fluttering nature of this insect.
As a final note, below are my own photographs I took in Door County last summer. I found this butterfly peacefully feeding in my garden. I always plant lots of flowers that are known for attracting butterflies…and it works! Who couldn’t resist to capture the beauty of nature as I have always found it to be the best resource for color, design and inspiration. I just may be inspired to create a butterfly handbag or necklace for next year!
Are you influenced by butterflies? If so, what would you design with a butterfly in mind?