From Petals to Pride: A Botanic Celebration of Queer Culture

Exploring an unexpected connection between botany and queer identity, the Bloomin’ Fabulous Runway unfolded with LGBTIQ+ community members proudly showcasing French couture-style, botanic-inspired costumes at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

Eleven local community models confidently flaunted these innovative designs within the Bicentennial Conservatory, capturing the attention of an excited audience immersed in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding flora.

This remarkable event was a collaborative effort between SAMESH and the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

Lindl Lawton, the Manager of Interpretation and Cultural Collections at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, said the event brought much joy to the community.

“You could just see during that fashion show how much sheer joy the makers got out of showcasing the works, and the models got out of modelling the works,” said Lindl.

“There was a great deal of pleasure in creating and making as a community.”

Skye Bartlett, Team Leader at SAMESH, not only designed two of the showcased works but also shared his experience of designing wedding dresses during a time when he and his now-husband were unable to marry.

“Before marriage equality, I found it very insulting to have to make wedding dresses for something that I couldn’t do myself,” he said.

“This was quite a cathartic process, making a wedding dress as the first dress that I made since I quit designing. It made me really happy to see it on the runway as a celebration of how far we’ve come with marriage equality.”

While SAMESH predominantly focuses on health promotion and community education, Lindl saw the runway and subsequent exhibition as a unique opportunity to unite the community following the Sustainable Style workshops.

“There was just a great deal of enthusiasm amongst those workshop participants to be involved. Since we’ve had the show, I’ve heard a lot of people say, ‘I want to be involved next year,’” she said.

One design and artist statement that stood out to Lindl was from local community member Greg Kelly.

“Greg modelled his [costume after] the beautiful golden wattle, and he talks about that being a symbol of Australia,” she said.

“This is his love letter to an Australian government that he feels has looked after HIV positive people. And as he says in his closing statement, ‘I am Australian, I am HIV positive, I am wattle, and we survive.’”

Nikki Sullivan, SAMESH Health Educator overseeing the Sustainable Style workshops, marvelled at the community’s creativity and is excited to see the event grow.

“Working with all of these different people, seeing the sort of creativity that is there in in people, [there were] things that they came up with that I couldn’t have even begun to imagine,” said Nikki.

“Bring on next year for a bigger, better Bloomin’ Fabulous.”


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