Fashioning Art from Paper

I don't think I have ever re-published a story in all the years I have been blogging, until now.  I had originally seen Isabelle de Borchgrave in Washington at Doris Duke's home, Hillwood,  When her exhibit popped up in Palm Beach years later, I wanted MORE.  These paper creations are so poetic, so ethereal!  There was a Q and A with her and it was fun to here the story I painted for you here from her own French accented lips.

Isabelle de Borchgrave, a Belgian artist, after a visit to the Met, began thinking about the stunning period clothing she had seen and wondered, "What those would be like if made out of paper?"  She turned her eye towards tromp l'oeil paper costumes.

ph: Rene Stoeltie

This painting by Francois Boucher of Madame de Pompadour inspired de Borchgrave's dress depicting the excess of mid 17th C France.

"Crumpled, pleated, and painted, ordinary paper becomes haute couture in the hands of the Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave."

From a distance you cannot tell this is not fabric, beads, trim, pearls, jewels, and lace.  She manipulates the humble material into extraordinary interpretations of costumes from museums around the world.

These highly complicated to reproduce costumes are very true to the original inspiration that they are inspired by. This is Isabelle's trademark.  You can see (in person) the painstaking detail that goes into every piece she creates, and she isn't one to shy away from the heavily embellished, accessorized or highly stylized dresses.

Robe à la polouaise is an ankle length dress with 3 distinct draped sections operated by a cord pulley system.  Can you imagine?  To further complicate the project, the paper was waxed for a contrasting, see thru effect.  I literally stood there agape for 10 minutes examining every nuance of this gown.

A Mantua dress ~ a T shaped dress worn by the ladies in the court of England.  The intricate bodice and wide hips made this the most challenging dress in the collection

To date she has reinterpreted four collections:

 I Medici ~

Fortuny ~

Ballets Russes ~

ph:Renee Stoeltie

Papiers à la Mode ~ a fresh look at 300 years of fashion.  This is the largest collection.

Poiret, Lanvin, and Redfern inspired these paper dolls and represented a loosening up of the corseted dresses of the previous century.

Some costumes were placed in the rooms at Hillwood.  In some cases, an outfit was inspired by the decor of the room or a painting hanging on the wall, almost as if it jumped off the canvas.

Japanese textiles inspired this robe for Tsar Peter the Great ~

In Isabella's deft hands, Countess Samoilova's dress, lifted from the painting, appears carefree and quite accurate in its depiction.

Some of Isabelle's creations are in permanent exhibitions around the world.  She is often commissioned to create something specific, as in the case of Jackie Kennedy's wedding gown in the Kennedy Memorial in Boston.  She said this was one of the hardest dresses she ever created.

ph: Ghislain David de Lossy

She also creates designs for paper products and porcelain for Gien.  You have probably seen her work and not even realized it.

For Target ~

For Caspari ~

To read more about Isabelle, there are several books including Pulp Fashion.

all photos not marked; CLI, except for last 2 courtesy of

Mad Man Ad Man

I was having dinner with some of my girlfriends and we got to talking about Donny Deutsch.  He seems to be quite a polarizing figure (at least to women of a certain age).  Many of us love him, others less so.  But one thing we can all agree upon ~ he has a magnificent Manhattan townhouse!

A wrecking ball was taken to the interior of this circa 1889 upper east side townhouse a few years ago.  The only thing untouched was the limestone facade of this 15,000 sq. ft, 6 story townhouse. Donny and his designers Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper created a clean, well curated, art filled home fit for "the billion dollar man."

The white on white interior with pops of color and an enviable art collection create a sophisticated "man about town" bachelor pad.  This home looks like the guy we have come to know; dishing on everything from dating advice to marketing strategies on the TODAY show and others.

I love the choice of console tables by Hervé Van de Straeten in the entry available at Ralph Pucci.  You know you're in for a treat when that is greeting you.  This is one sexy pad!

Donny is a fan of Damian Hirst, as he owns several of the artist's paintings.  The medicine cabinet looks dynamic over the sofa, speaking to the pops of ruby and the blue Yves Klein cocktail table across the room.  Didn't someone recently do a blog post on the pill popping subject matter?

An all white Boffi kitchen is streamlined and glamourous; again featuring a few Damian Hirst's on the wall.  I wonder if Donny cooks?

I love how easily the contemporary art coexists with the more traditional and antique furniture.  For example ~ the high back dining chairs from the 30's sit comfortably within the light filled space amongst the Doug Aitken text wall art.  I read somewhere it says LUST in the hall outside the bedroom;  I'm just the messenger...

In the master bedroom, the Marilyn Minter above the bed looks great balanced with the furnishings like the Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann chairs and the Warhol sketches, of which he has many.

Donny's obviously comfortable with his feminine side

His daughters, like all little girls, love pink but how many have Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons art ?

I wonder if his "leaner, meaner, faster, smarter" philosophy applied to the renovation of his home?

There's no arguing ~ it's gorgeous!  
Thanks AD and Donny for giving us a sneak peek into Deutschland.

ph:Nikolas Koenig via AD magazine

Swinging into Summer

Beth Webb

These beds and souped up sofa swings just say summer.  Summer camp, lazy summer days drinking lemonade (and I picture myself whittling for some reason), warm sea breezes blowing in while the rhythmic rocking lulls us into a dream state.  The fresh mountain air blowing thru the Aspen trees ~ Ahh, idling the hours away curled up relaxing under the summer sun sounds perfect!

Brad Ford ID

via Stagetecture


via dornob

via flickr

Cathleen Gouveia


Caldwell Flake