When you the think of paper, it’s a material that can possess opposing characteristics; delicately or firm, light or heavy, fragile or strong. From money to posters, diaries to letters, paper-towels to facial tissues, the use of paper seems endless. That is until someone asks you to entertain the idea of dresses made out of paper. And that’s exactly why the work of countess Isabelle de Borchgrave of Brussels, Belgium is so astonishingly beautiful.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, an exhibition titled Pulp Fashion: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave is currently displaying some of Isabelle’s exquisite work until June 12th. For more information about the exhibition and previews, please visit Legion of Honor’s web page.
February 5, 2011 – June 12, 2011
Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave is a painter by training, but textile and costume are her muses. Working in collaboration with leading costume historians and young fashion designers, de Borchgrave crafts a world of splendor from the simplest rag paper. Painting and manipulating the paper, she forms trompe l’oeil masterpieces of elaborate dresses inspired by rich depictions in early European painting or by iconic costumes in museum collections around the world. The Legion of Honor is the first American museum to dedicate an entire exhibition to the work of Isabelle de Borchgrave, although her creations have been widely displayed in Europe.
Pulp Fashion draws on several themes and presents quintessential examples in the history of costume—from Renaissance finery of the Medici family and gowns worn by Elizabeth I and Marie-Antoinette to the creations of the grand couturiers Frederick Worth, Paul Poiret, Christian Dior, and Coco Chanel. Special attention is given to the creations and studio of Mariano Fortuny, the eccentric early-20th-century artist who is both a major source of inspiration to de Borchgrave and a kindred spirit.