>> Who works in a a studio like this….?  (Surely a television show needs to be in the works mimicking Through the Keyhole format but focusing on creatives… I'd certainly be happy to see Loyd Grossmann back on my screen in this context…)


As it happens, the person who works in the vast studio above is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at the Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.  I got an email nudge last night that reminded me of getting my West Coast tour this summer underway.  I might have to bump the tour forward to accomodate the exhibition dates of 'Pulp Fashion: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave' which opens on 5th February and ends on 5th June

Isabelle De Borchgrave's work could be considered as sheer random madness if you're the sort of person that continually asks "But what's the point?".  For fifteen years, de Borchgrave has been recreating life-size historical costumes entirely made out of paper, working from paintings, costumes in museums, photographs and more impressively, literary descriptions.  These replicas are completely intended to trick the eye into thinking that they're the real artefacts helped by the minute detailing and techniques of emulating fabrics that involves crumpling, pleating, braiding and painting paper. 

The exhibition has gathered up 60 of these combined odes to paper craft and the history of fashion with dresses spanning from the period of the Medici family in the 14th century through to gowns worn by Elizabeth I and Marie-Antoinette as well as replicas of Frederick Worth, Paul Poiret, Christian Dior and Coco Chanel pieces.  A special section is devoted to Mariano Fortuny where de Borchgrave immersed herself into the world of this designer to recreate Fortuny pieces as well as revealing Fortuny's own inspiration points.

The level of minute obsession and attention to detail is fascinating when you think about other examples of paper fashion that seek to turn the material into a functional and practical material.  Here, de Borchgrave who is first and foremost a painter, seeks to recreate and emulate historical dress without any intention of adding any function to the pieces and these are purely created to be an aesthetic and for us to gawp at their intricacies. 

Still, de Borchgrave's discplines have been applied in other means that fund these precious replicas that are genuinely labours of love.  For example, she's created displays for Herm√®s in the past… I wonder why her skills as a paper dress replicator haven't been applied in more instances…


Perhaps it is her primary love for dress of the past where there is plenty of challenging detailing to be reproduced in paper form and I'm guessing that copying more contemporary pieces may not hold the same allure for de Borchgrave…

Now, how to magic a San Francisco trip happen within the next six months…



Leave a comment
  1. edoardo

    2011-01-13 at 4:16 PM

    I love the Hermès window so cool! Hermès is the best brand inf act of markentig, campaign and visual merchandising!!

  2. Raffles Bizarre

    2011-01-13 at 4:30 PM

    Ohhhhh that studio looks like heaven!!

  3. Emma

    2011-01-13 at 4:44 PM

    I wish my studio looked like that!!! xxxx http://www.emmaslittleblackblog.blogspot.com

  4. karolina

    2011-01-13 at 5:31 PM

    I love ur blog!!! It’s never ending inspiration 😀
    drop by me if u have time. Kisses ;*

  5. Misanthropic Pulp

    2011-01-13 at 5:43 PM

    Brilliant images and those details, amazing!

  6. Neda

    2011-01-13 at 6:06 PM

    This work is truely inspirational,almost surreal at a sense; the attention to detail seems painstaking, although the final creation is nothing short of a masterpiece. The Hermes display is unbelievable; Agree totally, i cant figure why she hasnt done such work for other fashion brands, i mean, the tourist attraction would be immence, and thats just seeking minor qualities…Great Post-as always! X Neda X

  7. Dorothy

    2011-01-13 at 6:57 PM

    I just pored through that book at work yesterday! It’s exquisite and awe-inspiring, for sure.
    You should also come to Seattle on your West Coast tour! Summer in Seattle is absolutely lovely, I promise.

  8. Terri

    2011-01-13 at 10:10 PM

    Ingenious. I would love to see this exhibit myself, but hope that YOU will do a thorough review.

  9. Melissa

    2011-01-17 at 9:05 AM

    Thank you for this post!!! The exhibit looks absolutely wonderful and I hope you get a chance to visit… since I most likely will not. It is extremely cool and quite beautiful!

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