The Next Instagram Trend Requires Sunshine and a Sense of Humor

In 2015, Leandra penned a style story about how she wanted to start wearing flowers in her hair.

She cited Stella McCartney’s Resort 2016 presentation as her inspiration, and that was pretty much the end of that…until now. Sometime in the last year, a new generation of flower-wearing champions re-emerged. I’ve been tracing its evolution without even knowing it, starting with this Instagram post I shared on Man Repeller’s account last May:

And this one Leandra shared in September:

And this one I shared in October:

However, things didn’t fully click until just last week when I visited and saw their new spring campaign imagery. I clicked in to peruse and was greeted by a photo series shot by Steven Meisel in which every model was festooned with flowers — tucked behind ears or under bucket hats with silk scarves and complemented by dangly earrings.

That same day, Rodarte released their fall 2018 look book shot by Autumn de Wilde. It was strewn with a powerful pack of flora- and fauna-wearing celebrities who ran the gamut from a pregnant Kirsten Dunst to a rainproof Chloe and Halle Bailey. They wore flowers on their wrists, in their hair and across their shoulders, essentially raising the standard for the term “garden party” for the first time since Eden.

All of this is to say that in 2018, a simple petunia behind the ear would merit the same question as a piece of toast sans avocado: That’s it?? Though adorning your head with flowers is not a new idea by any means (it actually dates back to the ancient classical world and has appeared across cultures throughout history as far apart as Hawaii and Russia), a fresh branch — pun intended — seems to have sprouted of late. Flower-wearing has morphed into something decidedly maximalist and deliciously freaky, as if human beings have become a viable vase from head to toe for the creations of some kind of mad-scientist-cum-gardener.

I would say it is well on its way to becoming the people version of freakebana, the mad-scientist-cum-gardener arrangement trend coined by Stella Bugbee of The Cut, referenced just last week in an MR story about how to arrange the perfect still life. The human version hasn’t quite reached the mutant levels of true freakebana just yet considering I haven’t seen anyone decorate themselves with cubes of Jell-O and Maldon salt crystals, but I did recently bookmark the magnificent self-portrait below — and given the prop choices of a milk bottle and kiwano in addition to more standard-fare florals, I am confident that it is headed in a delightfully weirder direction.

I decided to give it a shot myself, obviously, because when there’s an emerging bandwagon at stake, I like to drive it as opposed to simply hopping on it. That conviction is how I ended up sitting on a table in the Man Repeller photo studio with flowers behind my ears and leaves down my pants. Resident photographer Edith Young actually called me a WEIRDO during the shoot, and considering she’s also the resident nicest person I’ve ever met, that should tell you a lot. She isn’t wrong though; I am a weirdo, and human freakebana is a very weird undertaking. I’m not sure how well it works in terms of practical execution in that I’ve never felt more fragile than when I deigned to balance a plastic lemon atop my hat or retain a colony of carnations beneath a precariously self-fashioned headband, but therein lies the point: It’s not about practicality, it’s about the photo, and man oh man do I have some great new Instagram fodder.

Photos of Harling by Edith Young (a weirdo in her own right).  

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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