Social media communities can promote fashion trends or new home design styles in a split second. Cottagecore is all the rage right now.
So, we are all now nature friendly and all, aren’t we? Craving simple life, running barefoot around the meadows, saving bees, and smelling flowers despite our morbid allergies. It is called cottagecore aesthetic and reflects an idealized image of country life.
Cottagecore is the last years’ trend but in fact, it has been around for centuries. The idea of being in harmony with nature and return to simple living had been rooted in human consciousness since ancient times.
In cottagecore we can see the revival of Romanticism, especially with its artistic slogans – connection to nature and favouring senses over reason. What are the special features of this social media frenzy in fashion and home design? And how to pick the right art prints for it?
Wildflowers are essential in cottagecore visual language. In particular, blooming meadow plants are popular among the community. They are everywhere in Instagram photos, TikTok videos, Tumblr microblogs, imprinted in dresses and shirts.
When it comes to home design, there is one painter’s art that pops right out into my mind. For Claude Monet, flowers have been an everyday inspiration. As he once said, I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.
Monet’s art prints depicting blooming poppy fields near Argenteuil or famous Japanese footbridge over the pond full of flourishing lilies would fit cottagecore interior perfectly.
Less known Bruno Liljefors with his beautiful wildlife art prints is also appropriate. Finally, Gustav Klimt’s landscapes, for example, Cottage Garden with Sunflowers, 1907 match the trend’s imagery.
English country as a blueprint
Cottage in the trend’s name is the very specific one – it is a typical English cottage with thatched roof, whitewashed stone walls, crooked chimney, hedgerow in the front garden, rustic benches among blooming flowers in the front garden, etc.
In general, the English countryside is the ultimate point of reference for all cottagecore images. It is actually an idealised version with happy people in a rural environment, full of cute animals and nature shaped carefully but not invasively. Cute is a keyword here.
Looking for inspiration in the art world, cottagecore reminds the atmosphere taken from John Constable’s paintings. It is countryside full of natural light, with predominantly green and earthy hues, full of domesticated animals and people living in harmony with their environment.
Sisterhood in fashion
As cottagecore is predominantly feminine in its style, philosophy, beliefs, and even politics, its vision of fashion could not be different. All these floral crowns, lacework clothes, braids, and frills are reminiscent of women’s portrayal in English pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood art.
The problem is, such a reference would not be viewed in a positive light among sisterhoods who regard themselves as progressive, LGBTQ+ friendly and feminist. After all, pre-Raphaelites have been accused of prejudice against women.
For the record, Alphonse Mucha’s prints depicting Slavic beauties or Scandinavian folklore paintings would be more appropriate as an archetype of cottagecore looks.
Vintage flora and fauna
Cottagecorers admire botanical prints. Their Instagram and Pinterest accounts are full of vintage encyclopedic illustrations from before the digital or even analog photography era. As one can predict, technology is not welcome in such an idyllic community.
Flowers and plants in these illustrations are taken out of their natural context, presented in great detail of a naturalistic manner. As a wall art, they are often put against floral tapestry and surrounded by bouquets of fresh flowers, wicker baskets, clay pots, etc.
The same accounts for illustrations of mammals, birds and insects, especially butterflies. Apparently, such representation of nature appeals to trend’s fans.
A little bit of magic
Cottagecore believes in magic. If country life supposes to be some kind of cute fairytale, it needs fairies to make it true. All the enchanted world behind folk mythology is regarded as a part of getting closer to nature. Therefore, all imagery associated with that kind of folklore is welcomed.
But there is also the darker side to this style, cleverly named cottagegore. It adds some Goth vibe to the style. The countryside is murky here, misty forests are full of ghosts and witchcraft symbols, plants and mushrooms are decomposed and not suitable for foraging.
Fashion gets darker in colour selection, not all so leafy green and pastel anymore. The home decor becomes esoteric and creepy. The same applies to art prints. No more sunny landscapes by Constable but underexposed night images by Caspar David Friedrich and Johan Christian Dahl.
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Social media communities create endless, usually short-living variations of fashion and design trends. Besides cottagecore there are very similar: naturecore, honeycore, bloomcore, mushroomcore, mosscore, forestpunk, natural philosophy and so on.
Everyone can deduce from the names what those aesthetic cores are focused on. Cottagecore though seems to appeal to a wider audience.