René Geneva’s dresses are really growing on me. No, I’m serious.

In the last few years, much has been written about eco-couture. Repurposed fabrics, organic cottons, upcycled belts made out of old tires and milk cartons: I don’t have to remind you how far we’ve come since the days of hemp drawstring pants.

Here in Austin, eco-chic designer René Geneva has always been one of our little green gems. She won Critic’s Choice for Best Designer at last year’s Austin Fashion Awards, and this Fall, she’s headed to Vienna for a show titled “Grüne Mode – American Style.”

Now, gowns have long been René’s bread and butter. But see this dress below?

It’s  alive.

What you’re seeing (pardon the pixelated screen still) is a living dress. Check out the interview with René and Cathy Benavides on News 8 about this. Actual plants (specifically, sweet potato leaves) are growing down the back, and a solar-powered umbrella that attaches to a water pump hangs over the dress, watering it.

When René first told me about this dress, I was like: “come again?”

I wish I could create a whole photo shoot around this dress! Imagine the possibilities. But René was generous enough to provide something even better: A time lapse video that shows the whole 40-hour construction of this dress, condensed into a few magical minutes. The final result? The dress’s exihibition last weekend, at Austin Museum of Art.

How ridiculously cool is that?