Erythrina insularis F.M. Baily, family Fabaceae and butterflies, Papua New Guinea,, alongside a look from Zimmermann's 2021 Spring Collection, Wild Botanica.

In celebration of the inspiration behind fashion label Zimmermann’s 2021 Spring Collection, Wild Botanica, the National Library of Australia is exhibiting designs from the collection alongside the artworks of the 19th century Australian artist Ellis Rowan. Her paintings depict Australian wildflowers, butterflies as well as birds of paradise from Papua New Guinea.

When Creative Director, Nicky Zimmermann came across Ellis Rowan’s botanical art she described it as a style that “traversed science and creativity, painting accurate depictions of wildflowers, insects and birds but with a very feminine, colourful and imaginative handle”.

Read an exclusive Q&A with Nicky Zimmermann

Fashion in the Foyer: Zimmermann + Ellis Rowan is on now

The Ellis Rowan artworks that inspired the fashion

Millettia Pinnata (L.) Panigrahi syn. Pongamia pinnata (L.) Pierre, family Fabaceae,

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana), Papua New Guinea, 1917,

Padanus tectorius Parkinson, family Pandanaceae, ca. 1885,

Left: Erythrina variegata L. synonym Erthrina indica Lam., pale flowered form, family Fabaceae, Queensland, 1891?, Centre: A look from Wild Botanica. Right: Blue bird of paradise, Paradisaea rudolphi,

Hibiscus moscheutos, family Malvaceae (Crimson eyed rosemallow), United States, ca. 1901,

Two looks from Wild Botanica.

Left: Hibiscus heterophyllus Vent. subspecies heterophylla, family Malvaceae, New South Wales, ca. 1886, Right: Orthosiphon aristatus (Blume) Miq., family Lamiaceae and Aneilema acuminatum R.Br., family Commelinaceae, ca. 1887,

A look from Wild Botanica.

Thank You

In late 2020, Zimmermann kindly donated funds to the National Library so that Ellis Rowan’s personal letters and journal, as well as more of the work of fashion photographer Athol Shmith, could be digitised.

Find out how you can support the National Library.

Sir John Longstaff, Ellis Rowan Memorial Portrait, 1926,, alongside Barringtonia sp with larva,

About Ellis Rowan

More about Ellis Rowan