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My Little Corner of the Net

Monday, July 23, 2018

Costumes from Paper

On a recent visit to Oklahoma City, my wife and I visited the Oklahoma Museum of Art.  One of the temporary exhibits was by Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave.  The displays were full size trompe l'oeil paper costumes based on historical paintings and photographs.


The first piece was based on the Ruben's portrait of Princess Conde shown below.  Every detail was captured, from the pearls, ribbons, laces, and even the texture of the silk satin, even jewelry, shoes and accessories - all created with paper!




This grouping of clothing was pretty breathtaking.


This piece was inspired by the gown that Queen Elizabeth I is wearing in a portrait from 1599.  The artist was even able to create the starched lace collar out of paper.




The green dress with silk ribbons and silk roses is based on a dress worn by Madam de Pompador, a favored mistress of French King Louis XV.  The painting dates from 1756.


The gown in the back is a style worn by women at court in eighteenth century England. The original dress was found in an attic in Cambridge England before finding it's permanent home in the Victoria and Albert Museum.  


This late sixteenth century jacket is based on a painting of Margaret Layton from 1620.  The actual jacket was silk-lined and sewn with silver and gilt thread.


This paper dress circa 1790, is inspired by a dress at the Kyoto Costume Institute

This paper dress is based on a 1791 Neoclassical painting of Rose Adelaide Decreux 


The black and white paper gown was based on a silk dress created by Charles Frederick Worth and dates from one of his designs from the late 1800's.  The actual dress is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art 


The inspiration for this paper gown was a portrait of Marie-Clotide-Ines de Foucauld from 1856.  The original dress was made from a French manufactured textile inspired by far eastern Ikat weaving which is characterized by a blurred appearance.


The paper dress is based on a mid-nineteenth century fashion.  The dress gets it's bell shape from many layers of petticoats and the steel cage crinoline invented in 1855.  The bodice of the dress, the trims and pagoda sleeves help to create an illusion of a small waist.


The inspiration of this paper dress is a high neck line which was in fashion in the 1840s.  It was also to highlight printed textiles which came from Mulhouse France during that era.

These paper dresses are based on actual dresses from the 1870's.  The blue dress on the right is based on English design and the shorter hem allowed for outdoor walking or boating.  The actual dress is is located in the Victoria and Albert museum is cotton, trimmed silk and carved bone buttons.  The tan dress based on an American design of the same period.


This costume was based on Sarah Bernhardt's promotional poster from 1894


The piece above and several of the following are based on designs by Italian designer Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949) 





A Royal Family:


The royal designs above are base on paintings - the male figure was from a painting of Cosimo l de' Medici from 1550 and the female figure was based on clothing in a portrait of his wife Eleanora of Toledo from 1544


This design was based on a fresco from 1459 depicting Casper, the youngest of the three wise men.


The paper design was based on a painting from 1596 of Marie de' Medici who became Queen of France in 1610.  


This piece was inspired by a mythological painting from 1482 by Botticelli


Flora, the goddess of spring is inspired by another Botticelli painting dating from 1478


The piece on the right is from a painting of Caterina de Medice from 1600
The boy on the pedestal is Giovanni Carlo de' Medici (1611-1663) and his paper clothing is based on a painting of him in his childhood.  
The red paper dress is based on a painting of Anna de' Medici from 1622
The small boy's costume was Leopoido do' Medici and also dates from the 16th century.


Maria Maddelena d'Austria's paper dress is based on a painting from 1622.


Bia de' Medici's paper dress is based on a painting from 1542.  


Maria de' Medici's paper dress was based on a painting from 1555.  


The following designs were based on costume designs from Les Ballets Russes and 
date from 1909 - 1929.   The artist worked with photographs and drawings to re-create the costumes.


One of the things that I enjoyed about this part of the exhibit was that most of the paper costumes were suspended by a single wire and would spin and sway.  I dont know if this was by design or not, but it added to the show







The last of the designs were based on Kaftans that the artist saw on a trip to Istanbul.  Kaftans have a rich history due to trade along the Silk Road which connected Eastern Asia and Europe.




The museum tour ended with a project table that allowed visitors to create their own souvenir paper Kaftan.


My wife was inspired by the paper lace in the exhibit, I liked the contrasting fabrics that lined the inside of the Kaftans.