Gardens, Fashion, Interiors & Glamour: A Botanical Extravaganza

Out of all the posts on this blog, one of the most popular continues to be Turning Over A New (Design) Leaf. (Found here). I'm constantly amazed that there are so many botanical devotees out there, but I'm also quietly thrilled to see it. It's wonderful to see that gardens, flowers and leaves are loved by so many. {Leaf image by Michel Tcherevkoff from his bestselling book, Shoe Fleur}

Lately I've become even more enamoured with the leaf motif, thanks to some beautiful new fabrics and wallpapers released by Sanderson and several other design houses. I've also noticed that the garden is creeping further and further into both fashion and the home, as our passion for horticulture grows. (Sorry for the terrible foliage pun.) Seeing Bunny Williams' extraordinary conservatory-style dining room at her Connecticut home last month made me realise that there is no end to what we can do with beautiful botanicals. Even Karl Lagerfeld seems to have been inspired by his love of gardens, judging by his Resort 2012 collection for Chanel that was staged among the topiaried glamour of Versailles last month.  {Leaf shoot photographed by Philip Newton for Red magazine.}

The Library may now have to take a brief break for a few days, while we move house. As I write this, I'm surrounded by 40 tea chests, most of them full of books, and tomorrow our computers will join the cardboard shuffle! In fact, the madness of life at the moment means I haven't been able to get on top of correspondence, and I sincerely apologise. I plan to get up early tomorrow and reply to everyone who's sent me the loveliest and most thoughtful notes these past 2 months. I've loved reading each and every one! {Image of beautiful topiary letterhead via Charlotte Moss' wonderful blog.}

Oh – and this post was actually designed by the 10 enormous pots sitting outside my study window that are awaiting their turn with the removalists tomorrow. We've already moved 40 huge urns / pots / planters and other assorted stoneware, and only have the lemon trees, lime trees and topiaries to go. But as tonight is the anniversary of the day RR and I first met, I'm going to try to put aside pots, posts, laptops, leaves and libraries in order to Seasol our relationship for a little while... (NB Thank goodness our pot collection doesn't look like the Orangerie at Versailles, above! Or – to paraphrase Roy Scheider in Jaws – "we'd need a bigger truck".)

In the meantime, here are some of the most enchanting leaf scenes I've seen over the past few years. I hope they inspire and delight you as much as they have inspired and delighted me.

Garden Grandeur
Karl Lagerfeld staged his Resort 2013 collection for Chanel at Versailles last month. In typical Chanel style, it was as grand as Versailles itself. Lagerfeld, a garden lover, also used parterres as the theme for his Chanel spring 2011 collection staged at Paris' Grand Palais in late 2010.

Sartorial Peas In A Pod (Or A Park)
Kristy Hume and Shalom Harlow photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue UK October 1994. {Via Vogue}

 Hedge Fun
Shalom Harlow photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue UK October 1994. {Via Vogue}

Let It Rain On My (Fashion) Parade
Another gorgeous, leaf-inspired shoot for Vogue. {Date unknown}

Avenue Of Elegance
The incredible genius of photographer Rodney Smith, a man who clearly loves gardens as much as he does photography. {Via Rodney Smith}

Greenhouse Glamour
A John Galliano design for Givenchy, photographed for Vogue December 1996. {Via Vogue}

Orchids And Antique Watering Cans
Photographed by Philip Newton for Red magazine.

A Haute Picnic In A Summer Park
 A Lacroix feast, photographed for Vogue 1998. {Via Vogue}

Frills and Spills
Leaf-inspired ballgowns, photographed for Vogue December 2006. {Via Vogue}

Skirting The Issue
A long, leaf-print skirt, perfect for the tropics. {Via Elle and Slim Paley}

Botanical Beauty
Sarah Jessica Parker in an acorn-topped headpiece designed by British milliner Philip Treacy at the premiere of Sex And The City: The Movie.

Leafy Loveliness
Leaf-print frock by Vera Wang.

Green With Envy 
Another leaf-print frock, this time by Badgley Mischka.

Pretty In A Palm Print
And another, by Kate Spade.

Just Add Water
Palm tree swimsuit, perfect for island hideaways. {Via Slim Paley}

Horticultural Heels And Handbags
Gorgeous for garden parties, although sadly, these aren't real. The illustrations are by Michel Tcherevkoff for his bestselling book, Shoe Fleur. {Via}

Growth Spurt
Leaf design #1 by Manolo Blahnik

Ivy League
Leaf design #2 by Manolo Blahnik

Holly Heels
Leaf design #3 by Manolo Blahnik

Welly Whimsy
Oak leaf and acorn-print wellies by Hunter. 

Pine Delights
Pineapple fabric and wallpaper, by Studio Printworks.

Espalier Elegance
Espalier wallpaper, by Pierre Frey.

Topiary Lines
Linnaeus wallpaper, by Designers Guild.

Wandering In A Woodland Garden
Woodland Fern fabric from A Painter's Garden collection, by Sanderson.

I Couldn't Give A Fig (Well, Maybe A Few...)
Fig Leaf fabric, by Peter Dunham. {Via House Beautiful}

'A' For (A Great) Apron
The gorgeous, leaf-print gardening aprons worn by staff of this year's Trade Secrets Garden Fair in Connecticut. (And no, the public couldn't buy them. I asked. I wanted one too!)

A Sunday Afternoon
Leaf-print cushions and lettuce plates in the sunroom of Linden Hill Farm in Connecticut, open as part of the Trade Secrets Garden Fair Weekend.

A Garden On Fifth
A botanical display to showcase Carolina Herrera's collections in the windows of Bergdorf Goodman. {Via Slim Paley}

Lettuce Have Some Lunch, Shall We? 
Potager-inspired plates designed by Anne Gordon {Via the fabulous Bumble at Home blog, at}

Chic Kitchenalia
Leaf-inspired dinnerware and platters in the home of Sydney designer Cameron Kimber. {Via the fabulous Bumble at Home blog}

Sweet William
The Morris cafe at the V&A, designed by William Morris and inspired by being in a forest glade – complete with dappled light coming through the stained glass.

More William Morris-designed products: a leaf print and leaf wallpaper, at the V&A in London.

The Leaf As Lead
The lead image for the William Morris Exhibition at the V&A in the mid-nineties. The exhibition explored the relationship of Morris’ work with nature, so the symbol morphed one of his acanthus designs into a real leaf. (I went to this exhibition and adored it. I still have this leaf poster.)

Leaf Detail
And lastly, this was a vintage leaf poster from Belgium, bought from Izzi and Popo, which hung in our downstairs gardening hall. 
Goodbye to our beloved garden. We will miss you.

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