Paper, Paper, Paper: a sartorial tour de force

I saw this fascinating exhibition the other day in Bellerive Museum, Paper Fashion:

I love paper and have worked with it for years so it was very interesting to see clothes made entirely of paper by young virtuosos and well known designers:

Stephen Hann recycles couture in his “comic fan” creation below:

This jacket took newspapers to another dimension:

This is PAPER people!

In an ad from 1960s, the International Paper Company is asking how long will the paper bikinis last…

Fancypants anyone?

Paper clothes were used for PR purposes, to spread news, or to promote politicians and their campaign. Here you see Nixon’s and  Eugene McCarthy:

Robert Kennedy and Romney (the father of the 2009 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney):

“In 1966, Scott Paper Company invented the paper dress, intended as a marketing and publicity tool. For one dollar, women could buy the dress and also receive coupons for Scott paper products.”

A brief fad for paper dresses swept through America from 1966 to 1969. The ultimate gift to the lazy, adventurous youth!

There is a 40 year difference between the dress on the left (in blue) and the one made for the exhibition (in orange):

I was blown away by these intricately cut and folded hairpieces for Chanel by Japanese hair stylist Katsuya Kamo. He used 2 packs of plain white 11×17 copier paper!

Another creative genius of the show was Jum Nakao, the Brazilian Japanese designer. His “Sewing the Invisible” show was on the display and I couldn’t take my eyes off the monitor! I spent a long time on his great site. It is a spellbinding collection of paper Haute Couture:

Just noticed that both above wizards are Japanese: Master Origami makers!

Here is a little explanation for the word sartorial; let’s see if you can guess who is the sartorial queen of all times to me from the picture below:

That’s all folks!  See Isabelle de Borchgrave’s magnificent creations here.

Take a look at Jum Nakao’s defilé here.

Chanel’s fabulous whites here.


To see a way better alternative to paper go here.

6 thoughts on “Paper, Paper, Paper: a sartorial tour de force

  1. I did a commercial with Ali MacGraw for International Paper in the 60s Ali is wearing a paper Bikini …. She dives into the water and swims underwater for 57 seconds ala Easter Williams … a ballet of eavesdropping, intimately exploring her body.

    Cut to the beach looking at the water. Ali comes out of the water and begins to remove her bikini top … throws it at the camera, covering her nudity and confidentials … The bikini top covers the lens. … BLACK OUT

    Her voice over the black screen she says. “If you get tired of your bikini. You can throw it away” If I remember correctly it won a Clio.

    Keep up the interesting and also excellent work.

  2. Definitely a step up from the paper gowns you get at the Dr. office. I will never look at those in the same way!

  3. Dear Michele

    You have amazing gift of exploring finer things of life and connecting them with our day to day realities…and above all communicating and sharing.

    I reckon you would be wonderful teacher of Art..

    “At times I think and at times I am.”
    – Paul Valery.

  4. La chanson n’a pas la mode en papier pour thème mais écoutez donc “Les p’tits papiers” de Gainsbourg, chanté par Régine.
    Et si vous écrivez sur du papier, choisissez du “Vergé de France”, un merveilleux papier à lettres qui donne du relief même aux mots les plus ordinaires.

  5. Fascinating and beautiful images. My guess for the sartorial queen is Jackie Kennedy.

    After seeing, reading, and exploring, now I’m left wondering why paper didn’t take off for clothes? I can see it’s certainly not because the designs aren’t esthetically pleasing, nor for lack of promotional efforts (see advertising, and Ali MacGraw above!). Maybe it’s the missing tactile element?

    BTW, I just learned that technically paper is material made of cellulose pulp. So Tyvek, which is made out of plastic, isn’t technically paper; even though it has most of the properties we associate with paper.

    Merci, philippe, pour la référence musicale. Parfait pour un matin gris d’été finissant.

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