“Bees” are in Control

By Yiling Lai

This is one of the busiest seasons for the fashion industry. Just  after the menswear fashion week, the Haute Couture fashion week is proceeding feverishly. When talking about Haute Couture, it’s more like an art exhibition than a fashion show, because what the models wear are all artworks rather than just a garment. Designers devote all their talent in every inch of the clothes to make them be the most beautiful garments in the world.

Almost every single picture taken from the Haute Couture fashion show is beautiful enough to be a phone’s background and this year was no exception. The theme of the Chanel’s spring/summer fashion show was “Garden,” and dedicated to nature. In order to echo the garden theme, the designer Karl Lagerfeld chose bees as one of the most important design elements in this show. The gold bees were tailored on the black voile sleeves, and the small diamonds, which are worn on the chest, are also arranged as bees.

2016 Spring/Summer Chanel
2016 Spring/Summer Chanel
2016 Spring/Summer Chanel

However, bees are a theme for a lot of designers this year. In Dior’s Haute Couture fashion show, bees were used in the same ways as the Chanel’s show. This same blooming garden theme, the use of gauze, and the decorations’ position makes people feel like they are watching the same show.

2016 Spring/Summer Dior
2016 Spring/Summer Dior

Besides Chanel and Dior, there are many other brands that use bees in their design. Gucci used this element early in its 2015 fall/winter fashion show, and maintained this element in its 2016 spring/summer fashion show as well. For Kate Spade, its 2016 spring/summer’s bags look like bees and honeycomb, prominently using this theme.

2016 Spring/Summer Kate Spade
2016 Spring/Summer Kate Spade

It might be so overwhelming because everyone is starting to use bees, but most designers just want to deliver a bustling and blooming concept by this element. On the other hand, these little cuties also bring a romantic sense to the fashion world. While the minimalism was so admired, these bees can definitely spice up our fashion style.



  1. I think this is very interesting! I remember seeing the bee motif in Chanel’s recent S/S show, but not thinking much of it. That being said, the theme for the ZAC Zac Posen F/W ’16 collection was “flora and fauna,” sort of another take on the whole garden/nature thing but with a darker, jewel toned palette so that it’s appropriate for Fall. My company only does the outerwear portion of the line, but I was just at Coterie last week with the whole collection. I noticed a lot of bee embellishments on many of the RTW pieces! I think it’s interesting how one motif can trickle down and be repeated throughout the seasons by totally different designers.

    Here, you can ZZP’s use of bees.

  2. Bees are a very interesting choice as a motif. Bees carry heavy symbolism and are deeply tied to the natural world. Bees of course represent hard work and unrelenting effort, much like the employees at an Atelier. These workers or “Bees” are family and companions to the queen bee, or designer at the company. In Egypt, the bee is a symbol of royalty and power. Royalty and people of status were preserved with honey because it stops rotting. Bees can also be depicted in Greek mythology as a “Stinging Cupid”. The stinger on a bee could be considered to be Cupid’s arrow, and has the duality of sweet honey. Overall, I think it’s a wonderful and storied symbol to choose.

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