My plan had been to visit the Hillwood Museums and Gardens with friends, but a sudden and unexpected snowstorm caused us to turn around mid-trip and return home. The object of our visit to Hillwood was the exhibit by Isabelle de Borchgrave entitled Prêt-à-Papier.Amazingly, all of the pieces in this exhibition, which ends January 20th, are made from paper.“Crumpling, pleating, braiding, and painting the surface of simple rag paper achieve the effect of textiles and create the illusion of haute couture…”Isabelle de Borchgrave deftly crafts a world of splendor in trompe l’oeil. Cutting, gluing, and painting with imagination and exceptional mastery, she creates the illusion of lace, brocade, delicate silk, and sumptuous embroidery.
From the 17th century to the early 20th century, these dresses cross many of the key periods in fashion history. Some of the pieces are paired with the paintings that inspired them. It’s quite amazing to realize and understand that these gorgeous dresses have all been hand-crafted out of paper. I am so disappointed that we didn’t make it to DC to see the dresses, and given my schedule over the next few weeks, I doubt I will have time to see it. But if you’re in DC, go see it and let me know whether you liked it.