Jan 25, 2011

Paper Doll: Isabelle de Borchgrave

Isabelle de Borchgrave

As you know, I lived in Brussels, Belgium for 6 years and while I was there, I had the pleasure of meeting a remarkable artist who creates beautiful costumes and dresses....out of paper.  But don't think of these as the two dimensional paper doll frocks from our youth.  Far from it. Isabelle de Borchgrave brings creativity to new heights and hautes using history and costume as her muses to hand manipulate, pleat and color simple rag paper into magnificent gowns and costumes.  AND...............
She's coming to San Francisco (5 February -5 June 2011)  to The Legion of Honor!!!  I hate the triple exclamation but I'm excited.  You don't want to miss this exposition.  Her work has been widely displayed in Europe, but this is the first American museum to dedicate an entire exhibition to the artist's work.  Great to be in San Francisco.
Costume for Russian Ballet
Stepping into her atelier through a non-discript door on Rue de Lens (in the Ixelles neighborhood)was like falling into Alice's Wonderland, or in this case, Isabelle's Wonderland.
Brushes, paper, color splashes, filtered light, shelves stuffed with design books, fabric, enormous flowers and giant pencils hung and stacked and leaned in every corner. Oh my! To the common eye it might have seemed chaotic and cluttered, but looking around I could see it was both the workshop of an artist and the attic of a creator, where her vocation was both thrusting forward and stored for safe keeping. I weaved around wire mannequins and long tables where assistants manipulated and painted and folded paper into these trompe l’oeil masterpieces.  I would have loved to have spent the day there.
At work in the Atelier de Borchgrave
Pulp Fashion will show 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. 

Madame de Borchgrave has a contagious energy and it's clear she loves what she does.  How could she not?  While her name is closely linked to her fashionable paper, she is also a designer, potter and a painter---her first love---with her masterpieces often displayed alongside her paper perfections. In short, she's an artist who is in a committed relationship with magnificence. Quite a couple.
San Francisco will also fall under her spell. Look at her website and admire the photos. Mine don't do her justice and my words don't come close to expressing my admiration for this remarkable talent.

Families...listen up!  February 5 at the museum, Madame de Borchgrave is 
giving workshops and demonstrations to children from 6-12.  

Paper dolls have come a long way baby!
A few colorful costumes

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