Prêt-à-Papier: Isabelle de Borchgrave’s Textile Illusions

Isabelle de Borchgrave re-creates elaborate costumes, in paper. She crumples, pleats, braids and paints the surface of simple rag paper to achieve the effect of textiles and create the illusion of haute couture. Her work is inspired by fashions from European paintings, famous costumes and the designs of grand couturiers. These works are from an exhibit called Prêt-à-Papier. (Above, from the 1700s, influenced by Antoine Watteau’s fêtes galantes)

For the exhibit at Hillwood, Marjorie Merriweather Post’s former mansion in Washington, D.C., the renowned Belgian artist creates the illusion of lace, brocade, delicate silk, and sumptuous embroidery. The fashions cover a range of styles from the late 17th to the early 20th century. (Above: A French 18th century dress)

Red Fern of London dress, 1924 (left) and 1924 Lanvin Dress in spirit of Chinese prints and lacquers with diamanté and bead embroidery effect in paint (middle) and orange dress after Mariano Fortuny (from The Daily Mail)

The exhibition website is fascinating and includes a video exploring de Borchgrave’s technique.

See more styles, studio views and links to other exhibitions at Isabelle de Borchgrave’s website, here.

Prêt-à-Papier: The Exquisite Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave, through December 30, 2012

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