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Isabelle de Borchgrave, Blue Delphos Dress and Shawl

Isabelle de Borchgrave, Blue Delphos Dress and Shawl (2007), paper [Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue WA, Nov 21-Feb 16] Courtesy of Isabelle de Borchgrave Studio Photo: Philippe Leclercq / fortuny collection

A World of Paper, A World of Fashion:
Isabelle de Borchgrave Meets Mariano Fortuny

Bellevue Arts Museum
Bellevue WA – Nov 21, 2013-Feb 16, 2014

Isabelle de Borchgrave, Green Delphos Dress and Shawl

Isabelle de Borchgrave, Green Delphos Dress and Shawl (2007), paper [Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue WA, Nov 21-Feb 16] Courtesy of Isabelle de Borchgrave Studio Photo: Alain Speltdoorn


Isabelle de Borchgrave, Brown Delphos Dress and Jacket

Isabelle de Borchgrave, Brown Delphos Dress and Jacket (2008, modified in 2012), paper [Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue WA, Nov 21-Feb 16] Courtesy of Isabelle de Borchgrave Studio Créations Isabelle de Borchgrave


Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave has been producing collections of costumes and fashion-inspired garments made entirely of paper for over 15 years of her 40-year career. In this work, the acclaimed artist references centuries of fashion history influences, from Queen Elizabeth I to Coco Chanel.

This exhibit focuses exclusively on one of de Borchgrave’s collections: pieces inspired by the work of Spanish-born fashion designer Mariano Fortuny (1871-1949). Fortuny was best known for his “Delphos” dresses, which borrowed from the airiness and loose draping of women’s garments in classical Greece and the Italian Renaissance. His exquisite use of hand-pleating, custom-dyed fabrics, and printed velvets and silks lends a timeless artistry to Fortuny’s elegant dresses.

In her “Fortuny” collection (on show here in its entirety), de Borchgrave employs many painting and drawing techniques to create the effect of silk and velvet, using media such as gouache, charcoal, oil, watercolour and pastels. Intricate folds mimic pleats, while detailed stencilling echoes textile designs. The result is an authentic fabric look in these 35 stunning, three-dimensional paper dresses and numerous flat costumes and accessories in paper (such as shoes, jewellery and vases) – all together evoking a true Fortuny-era sensibility of innovatively crafted sculptures.

Allyn Cantor


 Fri, Nov 8, 2013