All Mapped Out

>> Isabelle OC beat me to her mapped out post but the origin is the same.  My faithful Acne scarf printed with an old map of Stockholm on it has served me well in the printed map front.  The fresh influx of printed map activity from Carven's resort collection has been tempting enough but when paired with captivating birds of flight made out of maps or pleated map dresses seen at The First Cut paper art exhibition, it only exacerbates the need to get some new mapped out garments in my life.  

Claire Brewster's intricately cut-out vintage map birds made me wish I was the sort of person that put away money for a rainy day to buy an extravagant piece of art.  Brewster creates movement and breathes life into old maps and atlases with incisions, mimicking birds in flight, swarms of insects or tropical plants.  They're often installed standing away from the wall or foundation board so that they cast complicated shadows that make the cut-outs look like they're fluttering about on the walls.  I've got my eye on any one of the London map pieces by Brewster to start my spiralling downfall towards being one of those people who say "Oh, I'm a collector…"






Carven is no stranger to maps printed on garments.  Guillaume Henry's girl has always tended to be a bookish creature, travelling in her head by flipping through atlases.  Last summer she was skipping around a bright chartreuse-tinged map of Maine.  This time round, she's closer to her home turf, bounding about an old engraving of Paris.  Now's the time to say cheesy French phrases like "Ooohhh…tr√©s jolie!"  There's no way you can't feel that old cartography printed on to cute blazers, A-line skirts and blouses is anything but jolly/jolie.  The temptation would be to buy the whole lot and skip around the streets of you guessed it, Pareeeee…


Carvenmap2Carven printed jacket, skirt and wedges from Matches Fashion, Carven printed dress and shirt from Net a Porter.  

Elisabeth Lecourt is perhaps the most common answer on Google if you search for "map dress".  Her famous series "Les robes g√©ographiques" reach almost iconic levels, when it comes to being blogged and reblogged, so much so that I suspect some people are looking at these flat pleated dresses and wondering whether they're actual wearable garments.  It would be criminal to leave Lecourt out in an exhibition about artists who cut, sculpt and manipulate paper.





Christopher Raeburn made some incredible new strides in his Deploy/Flight S/S 13 collection.  The signature lightweight macs and nylon outerwear is injected with femininity seen in the trapped lace parkas and a delicate looking ripstock lace looking like a camouflage pattern.  The most impressive part of the collection though was the "Remade" element, which is always present in Raeburn's design ethos.  Raeburn came across a cache of old 1950s military escape maps that were printed on lightweight silk so that they wouldn't get destroyed in the rain.  Raeburn didn't even have to transfer any print to a wearable fabric as they were already printed out for him, ready to make playsuits, bomber jackets and dresses.  Up close, it's fascinating to make out the physical geography on the maps but from afar, it's a beautiful print that looks anything but upcycled or reused.    









This 1970s vintage Chloe dress has been hanging around the Merchant Archive website for a while.  What with their starry clientale these days with fans such as Florence "and the Machines" Welch, it's surprising that there's anything left to be honest.  I might falter and give in to this dress anytime soon though if nobody shares my love of this abstracted colourful globe pattern.  



Chris Kenny's piece Capella is based on a galaxy formation of found map pieces.  For him it's "a fetishistic accumulation of data" – an observation of human presence in a world divided up by unnatural territorial borders.



Finally, trusty Etsy (which has somehow become more interesting than eBay in terms of unique pieces…) has a mapped out specimen, printed with the highway routes of USA and set into a diagonal window pane shift dress.  



40 Replies to “All Mapped Out”

  1. I love cartography inspired work! Have you checked out the book “Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography”? A lot of the artists you featured here are also in the book–along with a lot more inspiration on the topic, I think it is definitely worth checking out if you are interested in this kind of work. For a quicker access there is also a really cool online initiative called “Radical Cartography” ( that generates beautifully rendered artistic maps. I know these aren’t specifically clothing oriented but they are still really cool.
    I have been a long time reader of yours (for years now) and I think this is the first time I have left a comment so I just want to say thank you for always providing amazing content for your readers!

  2. Just desire to say your article is as surprising. The clarity in your post is simply excellent and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject
    Wholesale Camouflage

Leave a Reply

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