Paper has been used in fashion in various cultures and historical periods, but it is still a little known and little studied phenomenon. With the Paper Fashion exhibition, the Fashion Museum, in collaboration with Atopos Cultural Organization, reveals this exceptional niche in the history of fashion.
Beginning with a unique collection of 1960s paper dresses from the Atopos collection, the exhibition focuses on the use of paper and related materials in modern and contemporary fashion. At times of war or crisis, alternative finishing methods were required for clothing, and paper provided the easiest and cheapest option. Paper dresses became particularly interesting at the end of the Sixties, without a crisis, when fashion houses and designers discovered the material for themselves.
Paper still speaks volumes to the imagination as an alternative material for clothing and diverse contemporary designers continue to seek ways of incorporating materials that resemble paper in their collections.
Paper Fashion brings together the most remarkable of these creations. In addition to the historic objects, the exhibition includes designs by Hussein Chalayan, A.F. Vandevorst, John Galliano, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene, Issey Miyake and a video by Jum Nakao.
Jum Nakao’s video presents how Brazilian designer Jum Nakao in April 2007 produced a miniature version of his paper collection, “A costura do invisivel”, which he presented in 2004 at the São Paolo fashion week. The performance ended with the models tearing the paper dresses from their bodies – destroying over 700 hours of work in just seconds.
The miniature versions were made for the Oscar Niemeyer Museum’s “Revolver” exhibition, which means 'to play with' in Portugese. The paper dolls were placed in a Marquette of the museum building - which is shaped like an eye. Then, mice were let loose in the Marquette and they chewed away at the dresses until they fell apart. The process was filmed and simultaneously projected on to huge screens in the adjoining spaces.
GoSee presents some of his paper dresses and the results of the general Paper Fashion exhibition. Walter von Beirendonck and Dirk van Saene have each designed their own exclusive paper dresses, which can be ordered online for 60 EUR (a snip!).