I'll tell you. The Flint Institute of Art. And until September 7 they have a remarkable exhibit by Isabelle de Borchgrave called "Fashioning Art from Paper." If you are a paper nut like me, or a fashion/costuming fan, this is your cup of tea. So, for my birthday excursion there really was no second choice. This was the exhibit I had to see.
And if you're not, this post might not be for you, because it is packed with photos of the exhibit. And remember, every outfit, every gown, every costume in this post is made completely of paper. They even had samples on hand we could touch. Some was leathery. Other pieces very delicate. (But I will tell you, Rick seemed very interested and I don't think he was when we started out!)
Even the accessories and jewelry are crafted from paper!
De Borchgrave has pulled her inspiration from a variety of sources. For example this portrait of Maria-Maddalena d'Austria...
...inspired this almost-to-the-button gown.
Check out the detail. Her painting is remarkable.
She is very big on the Medici family and her work showcases any number of the family known for their art patronage.
Not all of her gowns are exact replicas but inspired by paintings of the individual. Such is the case with Maria d'Medici. In the corresponding portrait, there are few differences, just the collar of the dress.
This trio is Lorenzo, Il Magnifico, Eleanora of Toledo and Cosimo I de Medici.
Lorenzo's ensemble was inspired by a fresco in the Medici Chapel in which he is depicted as Caspar, the youngest of the Magi, in "Journey of the Magi." His title was granted because of his lavish patronage of the arts including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, among others. In Lorenzo's outfit, the jewels on his belt are painted on.
Eleanora of Toledo's gown is modeled after a Bronzini portrait.
Cosimo I is depicted in his coronation clothing or ermine with a crown and scepter. And yes, the ermine is painted on.
Two of my favorites were based on women in classical paintings. "Pallas and the Centaur" by Botticelli was inspired by ancient Roman mythology. The painting was commissioned by the Medici family and hung in their Florence palace.
Also hanging in the Florence palace was Botticelli's "Primavera," in which Flora, the goddess of spring, is seen dropping flower petals in a scene that includes Venus, Cupid and the Three Muses.
This style of gown, worn by women in 18th century England, is called a mantua and was inspired by a gown in the Victoria and Albert museum. The museum curator said this was shipped in a crate slightly wider than the gown and as tall, on its stand, as others were shipped.
This court dress was inspired by a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I and includes starched lace (yes, paper) and pears and other jewels (also paper!)
Here you get a sense of the detail.
And, in the last of the historic gowns, a look at a couple of little numbers based on Madame de Pompadour! Mistress and later friend and confidante of King Louis XV of France, she was known for her political aspirations as well as her fashion.
Here is another of Madame de Pompadour's gowns.
Too long? Just a couple more dresses of a more contemporary mode. I have worked with the gossasmer like paper in this shawl. Don't snag it!
And this one is fun. From even a fairly close distance the sparkles look like jewels and sequins.
I took photos of every single one, I think. But I'll spare you some for now, though in another post I'll show you some of the paper sculptures she did based on costumes from the Ballet Russes. Meanwhile, one more look at the accessories...
...and one more gown.
It took my breath away.
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