Eat That Paper

Jumns1 Jumns2

The Paper Fashion exhibition at the MoMu in Antwerp
gave me a lot of Googling food for thought, names I had heard of
vaguely but not known a lot about.  One of them was Jum Nakao, the
Japanese Brazilian-based designer whose S/S 05 collection A Costura do
some of you might already know about.  Still a revisit to
this temporal fleeting moment in fashion is worth it especially if
images like this exist.  For this paper collection, more than 700 hours
of intricate work went into it, a lot of it which is documented in the
DVD A Costura do Invisível, which can be seen on this YouTube channel
Then in one crazy moment, after the models went down the runway at Sao
Paolo fashion week, the paper dresses were ripped off, torn and
destroyed by the models and you can actually see visible shock on
spectators’ faces in this show video

must be some sort of work-destructing masochist because as if seeing
his models tear his work to pieces wasn’t bad enough, he then recreated
the entire collection again in miniature for the Revolver exhibition at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum and put them in a glass case where mice were let loose to eat away at the dresses until they fell apart. 

munching aside, at least Nakao at the sense to photograph his human
size pieces from the collection as a permanent reminder of how many
papercuts he undertook to complete this delicate feat… 


45 Replies to “Eat That Paper”

  1. absolutely amazing!
    I would have definitely been one of the spectators with a shocked face seeing those gorgeous creations being ripped up!

  2. Are you still in Antwerp today? Most museums are free today for “erfgoeddag” (heritage day)! You may like the diamonds museum (next to central station) or the museum of photography (South)

  3. Jum Nakao’s work is amazing! He was one of the first designers I blogged about way way back along. Its nice to be reminded of his work again – its so stunningly beautiful!

  4. They are so fascinating, They distroyed them! That is work destructive alright, it has to have made a nice effect though… But after all the tearing and miss gluing under construction … Oh, frustations. Its so amazing though, true art!

  5. Blimey… I don’t know how he managed to bring himself to destroy them after the crazy amount of work that must’ve gone into them. They’re incredible

  6. ok there is just so much going on in this brilliant designer’s concept/show! in brief, it’s genius how he plays with the idea of fabric and textile with the fragile medium of paper, and illustrates the ephemerality of clothes…thanks for posting his amazing work!

  7. I went and had a look yesterday and really enjoyed the whole exhibition, though the designer Jum Nakao was probably the extreme end of paper fashion! I did love the Karl Lagerfield/Chanel paper fashion.

  8. People tought they were fabric dresses, because of their texture and the way it was so carefully put together, that’s also why everyone was so shocked when the models ripped them appart. That’s what I remember from reading about it at the time tho 🙂 It was commented a lot here in Brazil.
    Love your blog btw X)

  9. hehe, she’s got lego person hair! I love the dresses, but the hair has tickled me beyond recognition and I can therefore not say anything intelligent about the fashion
    lego hair!!! hehe, that would be a great halloween costume, OoOoO, genius 😛
    hey, mind if we trade links now that I’ve babbled on about action figure (well, sort of) tresses? hehe

  10. Imagine him trying to preserve paper clothing though?! I can see the logic in it being destroyed after use…
    Maybe there is also spiritual release and the ability to move onto the next creation!

  11. I was there and it was certainly the greatest and the most spectacular moment I’ve ever watched in my whole fashion experience within the industry. Insanely incredible as someone up here has pointed.

  12. Paper dresses were popular briefly in the 60’s where they were intended as cheap, disposable items for everyday use. However, in today’s cultural and social climate, how do you think the use of paper in fashion affects the way people view a piece of clothing?
    Our performance was not a fashion performance, it was a performance about fashion and all others metaphors. The material is not the key factor for a work meaning, but yes the symbols articulation, when ideas and concepts get form. According the intended interactions, you make your choices. The people’s view are not result of the use of paper or any other material, it’s too far more complex. See attached file “mapping the invisible”(available at in the middle end of the page).
    The paper dresses for Sewing the Invisible can almost be described as paper sculptures. What inspired you to accentuate the sculptural qualities of the dresses?
    Despite the simplicity of paper as material, the dresses should be very elaborated to create a link between the observer and the object. This link was very important for the next moment. The break apart.
    Did you ever see the possibility of creating a more wearable line of clothing from your designs for Sewing the Invisible? Or even a paper collection of clothes?
    never. Neither.
    This work is about the impossibility.
    Sewing the invisible has caught the attention of the international community and awed the audiences at the Sao Paolo Fashion Week at the theatrical element of the show. How have people from all over the world responded to the work?
    I never could imagine such great reaction. This work was considered one of the most important fashion shows of the century by Galliera, Fashion Museum of Paris. All the art curators considered a stunning performance. But the most impressive reactions, that really touched me, were 3 commentaries.
    After the show, when I was going home, a cleaning lady shouted my name, left behind her working tools, and came running in my direction. Enthusiastically she shook my hand and deeply thanked me for what hers eyes had seen. As the fashion show access is very restricted for press and buyers, I asked her how she could see the show. She explained that exactly at the moment of my show, she was in front a big screen, that was showing my performance alive, and at that moment she stopped working and started gazing it. I asked: why did you like so much? She replied: I think your works means: people are not important for what they carry outside, but inside.
    The next day I was going inside a sponsor lounge. A very big security man stopped me at the entrance, all the public relationship staffs started to explain who I was. He calmly said: I know. He took from inside his jacket a newspaper with pictures of my show in the front page, polite he asked me: Please can you sign for me? I ‘m collecting everything about your work to tell this tale to my wife and sons.
    A journalist came inside the dress room after the show. He couldn’t spell a word. Tears in his eyes. He was very very touched. With his hands, he signalized he was going to call me later. Next day he called me: Jum, you broke my legs yesterday. I was seated in the first row watching your show. Writing about what was in front of my eyes. As usual, I thought I understood everything. When the models started to tore off. I could barely remain stood. I seated and started to cry. My certainties got me blind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *