For the past six months, four sophomore students from the University of Hefei, located in eastern China, have been creating a dress made entirely out of plant leaves. Individuals in the Western world learned about the gorgeous dress after it made rounds on the Chinese social media site Weibo for at least a week.
OddityCentral reports that that the unique dress was made using nothing more than thread and 6,000 plant leaves — and, of course, plenty of patience. Two girls and two boys worked together to create the dress which they submitted to the annual “Animal and Plant Specimen Contest” at the University of Heifei.
The inspiration for the leaf dress was sourced from the gown Chinese actress Fan BingBing wore to the Cannes Festival. Reportedly, the students were amazed by the elegant look and asked their teacher if they could recreate it — but with leaves.
The students spent weeks researching the best way to make a dress from leaves. To acquire the plant matter, the students traveled all the way to Tianzhu Mountain to collect them. To prevent the leaves from shriveling or rotting, the students removed the “flesh” by boiling them in an alkali and sodium carbonate solution for two hours. Reportedly, this method made it easier to peel away the “flesh” of the leaves.
The remaining “skeleton” was preserved, complete with a thin film and all the intricate plant veins. With their teacher’s guidance and plenty of trials and errors, the students finally got the method down.
Because each student had a busy schedule, they could only meet to work on the dress after classes and on the weekend. This is why it took approximately six months to complete the dress. All their handiwork paid off, however. When one of the girls put on the leaf dress, everyone was amazed by the end result. Photos that were taken immediately went viral, earning the students respect for their hard work.
Following are photos of the unique leaf dress:
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