Bliss Lau was invited by New York Botanical Garden to create her signature bodylei floral garments inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s Hawai‘i paintings. Floral garments are born into wearable art combining Blissʻs signature body chains and the lei techniques she learned from her family as a child growing up in the islands.

Lei in today’s Hawai'i has many meanings, used in celebration, gratitude, love, and in mourning, the lei is given most often as a gift. Yet, something happens when wearing a lei, a transformation that is beautiful - and rare, the lei elevates your day, it is a simple gesture that reminds us of the beauty in the temporary and gives us an appreciation of the moment. 

The dress, made from flowers brought directly from Hawai'i, is inspired by Georgia O'Keffee’s painting “PINK ORNAMENTAL BANANA, 1939” the purple Bozo flowers are used as her canvas, strung in various directions to reflect the clouds in the sky. Bliss used pink Heliconia and Ti leaf to suggest the shape of the Cala Lilly and Banana Leaf. One of the striking elements of this painting is it’s asymmetrical composition, exemplified here by the asymmetrical hemline. 

The vest, is inspired by Georgia O'Keffee's painting "WATERFALL No.3, 'IAO VALLEY, MAUI 1939" made from Ti leaf from Hawai'i Island to represent the valley, are twisted and woven together around the body. The white Orchids represent the clouds and waterfall as they are caught within the Valley. 

Bliss was honored to make lei with MELEANA and also share the stage during fashion weekend with designer MANAOLA, Kapa artist and Kumu Hula MICAH KAMOHOALIʻI, practitioner of Uhi KEONE NUNES, and Kainoa Daines of the O'ahu Visitors Bureau. A warm Aloha to New York Botanical Garden's staff and generosity in welcoming our culture to the garden. The Exhibit is on view May 18th - October 28th, 2018.