Four Ways to Wear Cattleyas

Deluxe Corsage – An upgraded version of the basic or single corsage in which two or more flowers are wired together. The more stems, the grandeur the look. Complimentary colored ribbon and netting may be added. Orient the blossoms the way they grow on the plant - with petals up and lips down. Best attached with special corsage pins. Orchid – Cattleya maxima, a natural species from Ecuador.
Ponytail Tuck – Understated at first but visible from three sides. Wearers love this style since the blooms don’t get in the way and are not likely to get damaged. One or two stems are attached with bobby pins or clips. Contrast the blossom and hair color for greatest impression. Orchid – a dark purple hybrid bred from Laeliocattleya Princess Margaret @ 1930.







The glamorous corsage days are back, at least on paper, thanks to a new project inspired by images from vintage orchid magazines.

“Cattleyas and the Golden Age of Orchid Fashion” is a collection of photographs about the 1940’s and 50’s that recalls an era when orchids were worn for their artistic style. The exhibit is based on a series of sensational advertisements for cut flowers that first appeared in the American Orchid Society Bulletin in 1946.

The core of the exhibit is modern recreations of those ads using local models, period clothing, and digital photography. Individual captions explain, in detail, the significance of each orchid and corresponding fashion trend.

An assortment of cattleya species and early hybrids have been woven into hairdos, clipped onto lapels, and carried on fans or nosegays. Styles include the Deluxe Corsage, Ponytail Tuck, Flower Fan, and Hair Swirl.

The series concludes with rare photographs of U.S. first ladies – Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, and Mamie Eisenhower – each wearing oversized cattleya corsages.

The American Orchid Society, which is celebrating its 95th anniversary, will be showing “Cattleyas and the Golden Age of Orchid Fashion” at Fairchild Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida  from May 17-21, 2017 as part of the Redland International Orchid Festival.

In Richmond, the collection will be shown at The Gallery @ Nest, 3404 Semmes Ave, from Jan 13 – Feb 23, 2017. Hours: Tue-Sat 10am – 6pm, Sun 12-5pm.

Flower Fan – Perfect for dances or social events because it can be laid down during the activity. Three to six blooms are wired to this lightweight lacy piece with matching ribbon beneath. Primarily white, the fan shows best against darker dresses and doubles as a cooling device. Orchid – Cattleya Ursula Adam, a classic white from 1955.



Hair Swirl – Reserved for the most glamorous events. Three to four large blossoms clipped into the hair and arranged in a circular pattern around the face. More secure than it looks but avoid sudden movements. Two-tone flowers get the most attention. Visible from the opera balcony. Orchid – a semi-alba hybrid bred from Laeliocattleya Jane Dane @ 1937.












Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - 17:45