Supermodels with Six Legs

When the world's greatest couturier presents a collection, she reserves her most fabulous designs for the insects. For more than 400 million years, insects have modeled Mother Nature's bold shapes and gorgeous colors, often with devastating allure.

Tailored to the wearer, whether it dwells in the Amazon rain forest, beneath the boiling lava of a volcano or in the ice of Antarctica, MN's designs are wildly popular. Today some one million insect species — about 166 million insects per human — strut her stuff. To show the diversity of insects and how design aids in their survival, Gilles Mermet spent six months in the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris photographing tropical insects from among its 30 million specimens, one of the largest insect collections in the world.

MN credits her choice of material with her designs' success. "I love the look, the feel, of chitin. Mandibles, exoskeletons, all those legs — nearly all chitin. It's the mainstay of every insect collection I've ever done."

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