Monday, March 21, 2011

Pulp Fashion, the Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave

Pulp Fashion at the Legion of Honor
Photo by Ingrid Mida 2011
The Legion of Honor, Museum of Fine Art is currently showing a retrospective exhibition of paper dress sculptures by Isabelle de Borchgrave. These recreations of costume, which have been inspired by paintings, photographs, museum archives, and literary works, are made entirely out of paper that is painted, manipulated and glued to mimic the look of fabric, lace, trim and gems. The exhibition presents a retrospective of Isabelle de Borchegrave's work as a paper artist over the past 15 years. Divided into six sections including a recreation of her studio, the exhibition is a marvel from beginning to end. . As well,  textiles and objects from the museum's collection have been displayed alongside adding historical references and context to her work.

Elizabethan gown by Isabelle de Borchegrave
 Photo: Andreas von Einsiedel
Papiers a la Mode includes Isabelle's earliest work which were created in collaboration with Canadian costume designer Rita Brown and previously exhibited in a show by that name. The gowns in this room include iconic pieces from costume history, including the Elizabethan gown shown above as well as gowns by Worth, Poiret and Chanel.

In White presents eight gowns constructed out of white paper to illustrate the changes in silhouette in women's fashions over history.

The Fortuny Room, which includes a recreation of an exhibition tent from the 1911 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris,  was inspired by the work of the Spanish born fashion designer Fortuny. The tent is an exotic creation with a mystical sensibility that highlights Isabelle's great skill with paper and provides a total immersion into the Fortuny oeuvre.

The Medici Room which includes life-size recreations of the women and children of the Medici family was  based on historical paintings. Some of Isabelle's most extraordinary work is featured in this room. The eye-popping details of lace ruffs, jewelery and rich fabrics have been meticulously crafted and bring to life costumes that otherwise only exist in paintings.

Inspiration includes the recreation of five new costumes inspired by four paintings in the museum's collection. 

To see more photos and read a more detailed review of this exhibition, see my article in the online journal Fashion Projects.

Pulp Fashion, the Art of Isabelle de Borchegrave continues its run at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco until June 5, 2011.