Self-described as “a painter first,” Brooklyn fashion designer Holly Fowler's big break at the MET Gala proved her hand-painted garments are nothing short of innovative couture fashion. According to the Observer, the young designer was discovered by fashion-influencer Lauren Santo Domingo, who decided to feature Fowler's collections on her e-commerce site, Moda Operandi. Fowler's undeniable talent caught the eye of Samantha Boardman, a high profile art patron, and she enlisted Fowler to design her dress for the MET Gala. In short, girl didn't disappoint.
Fowler incorporated the gala's "China: Through the Looking Glass" theme into every brushstroke of Boardman's dress, painting Chinese birds and native flowers like chrysanthemums, plum blossoms, and peonies across luscious green silk. Boardman later shared how "the exhibit took [her] into another world and the dress gave [her] wings to fly there." I totally understand where Boardman is coming from, and am confident I could legit stare at that dress for hours.
Beyond the MET dress, what makes Fowler's hand-painted trompe l'oeil dresses and separates so unique is the way she truly views cloth as canvas, paired with her attention to detail. She studied painting, printmaking, and textile design intensely at London's Central St. Martin's, where she realized her paint brush and sowing machine would make an excellent team.
"Wearing a canvas is like wearing a piece of art and fashion at the same moment...For a second you might think someone is actually wearing a Cartier, Bulgari or Buccellati necklace. All these different emblems and ornaments move with the wearer."
Brooklyn, especially Williamsburg, is known for some pretty bold fashion statements. With her quirky and fiercely innovative designs, Fowler fits right in.
Images: Holly Fowler/Instagram