Note: Amy Ly (formerly Amy Kunkel-Patterson) of Gather Design Co. in Seattle created the unforgettable SUNFLOWER GOWN for American Flowers Week in 2017. She recently posted about how she produced this exquisite floral garment, along with her recipe and techniques. Here is an excerpt and link to her full post and the full gallery of Anna Peters’ beautiful images.

Amy Ly's Sunflower Gown
From the 2017 American Flowers Week Botanical Couture collection, our first wearable floral fashion series. Designed by Amy Ly (c) Anna Peters

The Sunflower Gown

I am the kind of person who always says yes to an outlandish idea, even before I know how I might make it happen. This dress came from one of those conversations, that went something like this:

Debra: I am starting to think about images to promote American Flowers Week 2017.

Amy: Oh, that’s exciting! What do you have in mind?

Debra: Well, I am wanting something really bold. I’d love to take what Susan McCleary did last year with botanical fashion and commission a designer to create something even bigger, like a whole dress made out of sunflowers. I want it to feel like classic Americana, but with a high end design.

Amy: Great, I’ll do it.

Debra: Wait, are you serious? Do you know how to create a dress out of flowers?

Amy: Not yet, but I will soon!

Amy Ly's sunflower gown
Kelly Uhlig of Sonshine Farm, herself a young flower farmer, modeled the dress. It was photographed by Anna Peters at Everyday Flowers, Vivan Larson’s flower farm in Stanwood, Washington

From this initial conversation in mid-August, we compared calendars and talked to the Seattle Wholesale Grower’s Market about when sunflowers would be at their peak, settling on a day in early September. Debra graciously let me choose the photographer for the project, and Anna Peters was the first person I called. I could tell she was skeptical when I explained the idea of a dress made out of sunflowers (I fear she was picturing something like this), but we’d worked together before and she trusted my idea and agreed.


Amy (right) as she attended to finishing details of the magnificent sunflower gown (c) Anna Peters
Kelly looks divine in the botanical couture ensemble featuring sunflowers and other late-summer blooms from the farms of Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. Makeup by Yessie Libby (c) Anna Peters

Amy’s post concludes with this:

Special thanks to the talented artists that lent their creativity to this one of a kind project!

Model: Kelly Uhlig of Sonshine Farm | Hair & Makeup: Yessie Makeup Artistry | Photography:  Anna Peters | Shoot Location: Everyday Flowers, Stanwood, WA

This shoot was featured as part of American Flowers Week – you can read more of the story behind the gown in an interview with Amy, here.

American Flowers Week 2017, celebrating floral art, American-grown flowers and foliage, and the importance of domestic floral agriculture (c) Anna Peters