Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What dictates fashion?

As I was putting a flower arrangement together today for a stand in front of my bookshelves, I started thinking what is it the dictates fashion? Who creates idea that certain things are just too old fashioned to be used anymore? And most importantly, why do we follow?

I was showing a friend my new tiles for our kitchen and she commented I was going very modern. Ironic thing is that the new tiles are far from modern. They are reproductions of the tiles that used to be produced in Holland back as early as the 16th century which is why I wanted them. Then today as I placed some red carnations in the arrangement, it got me to thinking about carnations being considered utterly old fashioned here. But why?

They are beautiful. Strong but elegant. They are a flower with memories for me as my father used to give my mother carnations all the time. It was her favorite and I don't think he would have ever come home with roses for her as these meant more to her. I love simple single petal pinks from the carnation family in my garden.

If you have ever read the Penhaligon's "The Language of Flowers", you will know that it reveals the meaning behind flowers during the Victorian times. Carnations had various meanings depending on the color of the flower...

Red carnation for "alas for my poor heart"
Striped for refusal
Solid for acceptance
Yellow for disdain
Pink for woman's love
White for sweet and lovely

From the book...

"The cultivation of these confident flowers goes back over two thousand years and it is said that the plant came to England with the Normans. It may be found growing wild in the walls of the Norman castles of Dover and Rochester and is believed to have been rooted to the stones imported from France.

The Athenians honoured Carnations by calling them Di-anthos, Flower of Jove, and used the flowers to make wreaths and garlands at their festivals, whence came the word "coronation" from which Carnation is derived. Due to their clove-like scent they are frequently referred to as gillyflowers, a name they share with both wallflowers and stocks, coming from the French "giroflier". Carnations were sometimes added to wine and ale to add spiciness and are still known as sops-in-wine in some parts of the countryside today."

Now how could we ever consider a flower like this old fashioned? Do you like carnations? Or perhaps you have another flower which is a favorite that is also considered to be old fashioned? Are you like me and don't care what is called old fashioned?

Thank you for your wonderful comments on my last post. I do love to read your feedback and thoughts about my entries.


Nancy said...

Well, you just taught me something. I never knew what a gillyflower was and it is often in the old fashion books. Thanks, now I know. I do love carnations.
They last so much longer than any other flower. I like your entry and the arrangement you made is really pretty. Very professional.
I remember that book.
Love you, Mom

Pieceful Afternoon said...

I love hollyhocks - also considered old fashioned. One of my favortie things about hollyhocks is that they used to plant them by the outhouse - because they were so tall the ladies could see them easily and would not have to ask for the facilities and embarrass themselves.

I know there is a company that picks a paint color for each year - this year it is a golden yellow - they say because this is a time of hope (in America it surely is, with our new president) - and then they push that color and car sellers, paint manufacturers and clothing makers all go along with it. I think it is just a good way to try and make people buy new things because they are sheep and follow the "fad" color. Myself, I prefer my own choices and have not been one to go with the flow for fads. Too much work - and too spendy. The last fad of neon green and pink adn orange was a bit hard on the eyes - but I'm sure it was picked because it appeals as nostalgia to a certain age of shoppers. It always comes down to the money, doesn't it?

I remember seeing a house in "Country Living" magazine - it had been featured in the 1970s in the magazine - remodeled in somber colors and recently it was being featured again as a remodel - with some bright red walls and other fads that are current. Funny how something that was claimed to be up to date and the best now has to be torn apart and redone to be modern and up to date again. Fads are fickle, that's for sure.

Thanks for the interesting thoughts about old fashioned.

Annemarie said...

I love carnations and have nerver understood how anyone could find a flower old-fashioned. It's the same with begonia's and geraniums. I'm a tulip girl myself :o)
Thanks for the lovely post, Heidi. Hope you're well!

Linda said...


I love carnations - always have. My first husband used to bring me red ones. They are nice. But in actuality, I prefer pink and white ones mixed together. I love the small yellow roses. I love lilacs - especially the purple ones. I love tulips. I smile whenever I see them. I went through a period of time where I was buying myself flowers every week. I need to get back to doing that!

Linda in VA

Carrie ~ Cricketwood Prims and Gardens said...

I love carnations, their spicy scent is wonderful. And Old-Fashion is my favorite compliment. Old Roses from the original vines are also some of the most fragrant. Thank you for the charming post.

DonnaTN said...

Your flower post made me smile. I like snapdragons and try to grow some each summer. It may sound silly, but I still "squeeze" their jaws to see them snap!

Judy said...

It must be carnation day. I was just visiting Eddie Ross's blog and he made some beautiful arrangements with carnations.

Elizabeth-Plain and Simple said...

I love carnations. Often when I go in WalMart they have them just as you enter and I have a hard time passing by without buying a bouquet. I also like the fact that they stay pretty for so long if you keep the water changed. Like you, I don't care what is called old fashioned. I get called that a lot. I take it as a compliment. Thank you for sharing this post. I enjoyed my visit.


Linda said...

Heidi, I really enjoy flowers and try to always have some in my home, and
I love carnations.When I was a little girl I remember using food coloring in water and watching the flowers change color...I always thought it was magicial. The longer they drank the darker the color. I remember my granma's garden and tend to like old fashion flowers....especially sweet peas, glads, hollyhocks and heirloom roses. Hugs, Linda

p.s. I have the same book...it was a gift from a dear friend. L

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

I'm with you! In fact, if anything is considered 'old fashioned,' I probably love it _more_.

My favorite flower is the rose, and two kinds in particular. "Old Fashioned Roses" are the ones my husband loves to grow. Small and not so showy, as more modern roses. Delicate to look at, but strong, because of being grown on their own stock.

My second favorite rose is the old fashioned, overly fully developed, almost falling over with its heavy petals, sometimes referred to, as 'floozy-looking.' ,-) At least I refer to them, this way.

Very fully developed. Mature looking. Bringing to mind the saying, that things grow better, with age. Bringing to mind, a picture of "A Woman Of A Certain Age." :-)

I'm sure your reproductions of 16th century tiles made in Holland, are beautiful. Will we see some photos of your kitchen, when done? Or is it already finished, and you have already shown photos of it? And I missed them...

Aunt Amelia
"... Sleigh ride for snow nymphs"

Sweetie said...

Heidi - what a beautiful post. I love carnations - they can be arranged in so many ways and they last a long time. I guess that Black Eyed Susans would be considered old fashioned. They are my favorite as they were my daughter's. Your "old fashion" kind of reminds me of "dated." I had a conversation with one of my daughters the other day about my "dated" kitchen cabinets. They are probably 20 years old and I really like them - so who is it that makes the determination that the cupboards are "dated?" Actually it kind of sounds like a derogatory term. What do you think?

Brigitta said...

At one time the carnation was my favorite flower, but for years now it's the gerbera, don't ask me why that changed, it just did. I still like them though and buy them every now and again.

Mary said...

We grew a lot of carnations and pinks in our English garden when I was a child - I love them, and I know my mum did too. Now I just have a few dianthus - they seem more difficult to grow here in the hot/humid South. I'm always quite upset when I see them dyed in some florist/store bunches - the colors are so unnatural - whoever would want them in their home looking so fake!

Can't wait to see your new tiles Heidi - bet they are just lovely.

Hugs - Mary.

Pondside said...

I've always loved carnations - especially if I can get the ones that smell so wonderfully spicy. My favorite flowers are Columbine and Tiger Lilies - because they are so tough, coming back year after year - and because they each carry the name of one of my children.

Candy said...

Hi, I came across your blog today. I must really be out of style because I never knew carnations were old fashioned! They will still be my favorite flower!