Flora McLean is a British fashion designer born on 2 April 1971. McLean is the daughter of performance artist and photographer Bruce McLean. Some of her first self-made designs were the hats and turbans made for her father's 1996 film, Urban Turban. Influenced by Vogue magazine and her mother's tendency to make clothes, Flora McLean began sewing and making items as young as six. As a student she studied an MA in fashion womenswear at the Royal College of Art and, in her final year, she was commissioned by Ashley Page and began designing for the Royal Ballet.
House Of Flora, McLean's own design house, was founded in 1996 when she started taking on private commissions and making millinery props for magazines, advertising and fashion shows.
McLean is notable as a designer who produces haute couture millinery for other established designers such as Givenchy, Katherine Hamnett, Caroline Cornu, Bruce Oldfield and Matthew Williamson, and her work has featured on fashion runways around the world.
House Of Flora/McLean's designs have been exhibited in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London as part of the Anthology of Hats exhibition curated by millinery doyen Stephen Jones. Jones, considered 'one of the world's most radical and important milliners of the late 20th and early 21st centuries', chose the work of Mclean and four other designers Piers Atkinson, Nasir Mazhar, Justin Smith and Noel Stewart.
As well as teaching at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design and The Royal College of Art, McLean was senior fashion lecturer and program leader of Fashion Design, Styling and Promotion at Middlesex University, London. She now teaches at the Architectural Association. She also works as a travelling lecturer, representing the British Council in Poland and Kazakhstan. McLean is a co-editor, with photographic artist Anne Hardy, of the art book project, FASH n RIOT, which is sold in Paris, Zurich and Tokyo.
Her designs are known for their graphic lines and angular references as well as inspirational use of materials and technique. McLean specialises in avant-garde headwear for haute couture designers, catwalks, fashion campaigns and personal collectors. The designs are made often from a variety of different materials not normally associated with millinery, such as PVC, Perspex, felt, leather, wood veneer, fibreglass and nylon, and are influenced by strong geometry and historical figures as well as concepts in modern art. The geometric nature of the designs and the bespoke fabrication detail of the work often leads to it being described as part fashion/part art.