An Invitation to Dream
The words “paper dress” typically call to mind the free-spirited, disposable high-fashion-meets-art paper frocks of the 1960s. Usually short and mod in cut, they were often a subversive stab at the social mores of the times. But for Belgian painter Isabelle de Borchgrave, paper dresses are much more. They are a doorway to a world of whimsy and fantasy, an invitation to dream, a canvas upon which to blend the ageless beauty of the past with new imaginings.
Paper, a somewhat surprising material for a subject matter so steeped in fashion, history and textile arts, was a familiar medium for de Borchgrave years before her first paper dress. With a background in drawing and painting at the Centre des Arts Décoratifs and Brussel’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, her career began with handpainted fabric dresses. The source material for these painted garments was a premonition to her later work, with scenes from travels to Turkey and the Indies, impressions from the Ballets Russes and other worldly experiences brushed on the threads.
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