December 27, 2012


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.imageAmazingly, all of the pieces in this exhibition, which ends January 20th, are made from paper.image“Crumpling, pleating, braiding, and painting the surface of simple rag paper achieve the effect of textiles and create the illusion of haute couture…”imageIsabelle 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.image

From the 17th century to the early 20th century, these dresses cross many of the key periods in fashion history. imageSome of the pieces are paired with the paintings that inspired them. imageIt’s quite amazing to realize and understand that these gorgeous dresses have all been hand-crafted out of paper. imageI 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.


  1. Saw the exhibit two weeks ago. It was incredible. The dresses were absolutely gorgeous.

  2. I've been reading about this famous artist. Unbelievable work.
    Thanks, Mary
    (Stay warm and dry)

  3. This looks fascinating and fabulous! Would love to see it. Stefan or Architect Design posed on a similar exhibit a year ago (I believe), which alerted me to this artist. Amazing! It looks like a scheduled trip of ours to see the renovated and expanded (and recently reopened) Yale Art Galleries may have a similar fate, for the same reasons... Reggie

  4. Reggie is correct, I saw this exhibit when it first opened in June and LOVED it. I wrote a blog post on my experience seeing it here. I live about 6 blocks from Hillwood so visit me, Meg, when you see the exhibit!

  5. Looks fab. Glad smoking indoors is no longer allowed... one wrong match, and *POOF*! 8-)

  6. Saw it a few weeks ago when visiting Hillwood for the first time ever - wonderful to have experienced it. Hope you may be lucky enough with unexpectedly free time to see the exhibit, as it's definitely worth it!

  7. OMG.

    I want to thank you so much for sending me the link to your blog to see this my dear. First of all,your header is DARLING! That has to be your dog? CUTE!

    Seeing this post has given me a spark of encouragement and this is why: I am currently working on my biggest piece, a paper wedding dress, that will be delivered next Saturday to a local bridal stationary store. It is gorgeous. Perhaps you can view it when I post it by New Years. But I have been very discouraged...I will come to you via Etsy to explain.

    Oh her work is wonderful, and I know I can do this as well. The only think I lack is an appropriate studio!!!!


  8. Fabulous works of art! So glad to see Anita came over! These are simply stunning!

    Wishing you all the best in 2013!

    Art by Karena

  9. Funny - the weather kept me from making it to Hillwood on Wednesday too. I went yesterday instead. The dresses are exquisite. You really must try to it it into your schedule. The attention to detail is unbelievable. The lace and sheer "fabrics" are amazing. Just gorgeous.

  10. I am devastated (well...that 's a slight exaggeration maybe) not to have known about this exhibit when I was in D.C. in early December! How could I have missed this one? My daughter offered to go for me next week, but no, that just isn't the same thing!!! I'm wondering if it's going on anywhere after this? I'll try and find out.
    Happy New Year to you Meg,


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