Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on September 8, 2023.
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The summer shows at Phipps Conservatory are always bright and vibrant. But 2023's special showcase, Flowers Meet Fashion: Inspired by Billy Porter, may be the most unique show yet.
This one is a collaboration with local actor, singer, director, and artist Billy Porter that transforms the gorgeous botanical gardens into a fashion runway with some incredible designs- both made of flowers and plants and more traditional dress!
Although we'd say this is one part flower show and one part fashion experience, the fashion element here quite literally stole the show!
As with all flower shows at Phipps Conservatory, we do not like to give away what you can see at all the rooms. So in this one, we wanted to share a few of our favorites. To see the rest, you'll have to head to Phipps to check out the show which has been extended through September 24th due to popular demand!
The Welcome Center
It is common for flower shows at Phipps Conservatory to not start in the Palm Court, the first room you see past ticketing, but rather in the Welcome Center outright. These normally offer one piece of art designed to showcase what you are about to experience and get you excited to go inside.
The Flowers Meet Fashion Show does this similar to other shows, but features several walls of photos and text where you can learn more about Billy Porter, the show, and it really sets the stage for the experience that follows better than just about any other flower show we've visited to date.
The Serpentine Room
The Serpentine Room is always one of our favorites in any flower show as the twisty nature of the room allows for inventive pieces of art, in this case unique fashion designs on mannequins, to be enjoyed.
Not only does this one do an exceptional job highlighting the motivation for each design, the artists and students involved, and more, the designs are just unique. A fish bowl mannequin dressed with a lettuce skirt? We're all about this one!
The South Conservatory is one of the largest rooms at Phipps Conservatory, and arguably is almost always home to the grand centerpiece of any given flower show. For Flowers Meet Fashion, I wondered if (or rather, when) there would be a true runway experience, and the South Conservatory didn't disappoint.
The central display in the South Conservatory is transformed into a large runway, featuring three large mannequins with elaborate dress, and adorned on both sides are cameras with flashes that are clicking in rapid succession just like what you would expect at a flower show.
The third mannequin, located around the walkway at the back of the South Conservatory, is also facing in the opposite direction and a selfie station prompts visitors to strike a pose to get your fashion experience on as well (in fact, other rooms, like the Serpentine Room, have great photo op experiences, too!)
Ultimately, what really impressed me with the Flowers Meet Fashion show was just how stunning the designs and art on the fashion element truly were. Walking around the conservatory it truly felt like Phipps was transformed into a venue that hosts fashion shows that just happened to be covered in flowers, as opposed to a flower show that happened to have a fashion show taking place in it.
This is a testament to just how stunning the designs are by Billy Porter, the artists and students that collaborated, and the designers at Phipps for pulling it altogether. Even though I am, personally, not terribly into fashion, it all came together for one of the finest shows I've ever been to at Phipps. Don't miss this one!
Flowers Meet Fashion at Phipps Conservatory runs through September 10th, 2023 (extended by popular demand!). Please note that advanced purchase, timed tickets are required to visit Phipps for this show.
After visiting the show, be sure to take a walk around Schenley Park!
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