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Flower power! Gorgeous fashion illustrations feature real petals

Nadine Kalinauskas
Shine On
May 5, 2014
flower dress
(via Grace Ciao/Instagram)

Two fashion illustrators are turning flowers into haute couture.

Grace Ciao, a 22-year-old business school student in Singapore, is getting a lot of attention for the fashion illustrations she posts on Instagram — created with real flower petals.

Ciao tells Buzzfeed that she's tinkered with fashion design since childhood, when she first made Barbie clothes from fabric scraps her grandmother gave her.

The inspiration to use flower petals in her designs "stemmed" from a dying red rose.

"I remembered how beautiful it used to be and wanted to 'preserve' this beauty. So I made fashion illustrations out of them," she says.

She's efficient with her flowers, too. Ciao created one illustrated collection of six cocktail dresses using a single rose stem.

"I think petals work really well for illustration also because their delicacy and exquisiteness mimic those of a soft fabric," she says.

Ciao showcases a variety of flowers in her designs, including roses, carnations, lilies, daisies, and orchids.

"Find the potential in everything!" she captions one photo.

Singapore-based Malaysian artist Lim Zhi Wei (also known as Limzy), founder of the #instaartmovement online, is also wowing the Internet with her watercolour illustrations featuring real flowers.

"My newfound love: Eustoma. It is such an unusual flower as compared to others. From green to yellow to pink or purple it changes its petal colours, As a result, the flower forms layers of gradients it adds a whole new dimension to the stalk, or in my case, gown," she writes of one floral illustration.

"There are times I am hesitant when it comes to arranging the flowers to form the dress. I can't decide which is best, a short dress or a long gown, with or without leaves, etc. In this case, I will try out lots of combinations, like playing clothes fitting for your paper doll, take a picture of it, and you have much time to decide later on."

Another illustration depicts her blue-rose interpretation of Lupita Nyong'o's Oscar gown.

Her "Flowergirls" prints are now available for purchase.

"One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art," she quotes Oscar Wilde on her blog.

If only we could find a way to actually wear dresses made of flowers — without looking like victims of a Project Runway "unconventional challenge."

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