With a little luck, the dress and cloak depicted in Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting “The Birth of Aphrodite” may be found on high street stores today. With the help of art historians and dressmakers, American product designer Nikolas Bentel recreated the two garments. “When Botticelli completed the famous painting in 1486, he accidently became a fashion designer when he painted in the dress”, says Bentel.
At the center of the painting inspired by Ovid’s mythological narrative is the newly born Aphrodite arriving at the sea shore on a giant scallop shell.To the right of the composition is a female figure waiting for the goddess’ arrival to cover her naked form with a cloak. Because of the flowers on her dress, it is thought that this figure is the Hour of Spring (the Hours were minor deities, associated with the seasons).
After studying the painting’s materials and taking lessons from art historians and dressmakers, Bentel began to recreate the garments as faithfully as possible; from the blue cornflowers on the dress to the daisies on the cloak. Made of 30% linen and 70% cotton, the “Botticelli Dress” consists of two pieces with about 50 flowers embroidered on it. The knitted cashmere cloak has white and red daisies embroidered on it.
Only 100 dresses and 100 cloaks have been made and one can have a detailed look at the finished garments by visiting the American designer’s website (http://www.nikolasbentelstudio.com/).