Showcased at Berlin Fashion Week, Lena Hoschek’s AW18 collection captures a velvety, dark, wildly flourishing world where elegance and femininity set the tone.

Inspired by ancient books about the natural history of the plant kingdom and the architecture of greenhouses in the 19th century, the Wintergarden collection brings icy winter into full bloom through a variety of botanical prints.

In keeping with the collection’s theme, the runway show was held in the Main Tropical Greenhouse of the Botanical Garden Berlin.

Detailed floral depictions, beetles and caterpillars, majestic butterflies and moths served as a template for the collection’s many magnificent print creations. Antique books about butterflies and plants from the 1880s inspired the Austrian designer to create the collection. In addition to the aesthetics of magnificent butterflies and flowers, the designer focused intensively on the vanitas symbolism inherent in the transience of plants.  Likewise, the delicate hues and textures of the velvety, shimmering wings of the death’s-head hawkmoth have been incorporated into the choice of colour and material used in the design. Materials such as fine velvet and brushed cotton are reminiscent of the texture of the moth in particular.

Hoschek has been involved as a voluntary advisor to the charitable foundation of the Rewe group “Blühendes Österreich” for the preservation of the biodiversity of native butterflies and insects for some time. “Nature is both a source of inspiration and a place of retreat for me,” she explains. “Plants and insects continually fascinate me. What’s more, I have to respectfully acknowledge that nature will always be the best designer. I love visiting Botanical Gardens when on my travels. Especially Kew Gardens in London and the Botanical Garden in Berlin with its internationally admired collection of more than 20,000 plant species from all over the world. It’s perfect place to present my next Autumn/Winter collection.”

Elegant two-pieces, 18 hour dresses, supple cocktail dresses and wide floating skirts are presented in fine tweed, opulent embroidery, silk velvet, damask and brocade. The many botanical prints from Hoschek’s creative studio are central. The influence of Japonism and Orientalism is clearly recognisable – trends that were particularly influential in the heyday of greenhouse architecture – on pieces such as the Orient Pants, the Geisha Dress or the Lotus Belt.