Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pulp Fashions: San Francisco and Venice

Yesterday I visited Karin's lovely blog, La Pouyette, where I first encountered the intriguing work of Belgian Isabelle de Borchgrave. (Where have I been?) She introduced us to the book, Paper Illusions, which offers Barbara and Rene Stoultie's stunning photos of Isabelle's art. Look closely.

What you see is paper- in beautiful colors, with amazing details. 

 Isabelle de Borchgrave, first and foremost, is a painter. She loved it growing up and has always had her hands busy in some form of painting or another. Isabelle began her own studio, Creations Isabelle de Borchgrave, in 1983. Over the years, she has painted commissioned murals in fine hotels and homes throughout Europe, worked with fashion designers to provide them with painted fabrics, and developed lines of fabrics and textiles for the home. 


In 1994, inspired by a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, she began recreating her paper costumes sculptures. Based on paintings and the high fashion dress of the period, Isabelle has gifted the world with four different collections: 300 years of fashions, from Elizabeth I to Coco Chanel, with "Papiers a la Mode", the Fortuny collection with 19th century fashions of Venice, the "I Medici" collection with the ceremonial dress of famous figures in Renaissance Florence, and the costumes for the 20th century ballet companies of the world.  

Here is a peak into her to-die-for studio:

How I would love to be working right with them!

Isabelle starts with sheets of rag paper that measure 1 meter by 1.5 meters and applies her magic with her colors, brushes, gilding and trompe l'oeil techniques. 

Just look at the incredible definition of each painted object! Just the "fabric" background alone reads pure silk to me.

In 2008, Isabelle exhibited her creations in the Fortuny Palazzo in Venice. She described herself as "Fortuny's spiritual daughter", inspired by his devotion to reinterpretations of ancient textiles.

Fortuny's art of plisse (pleating) is meticulously captured by Isabelle...

The "fabrics" are so colorful and realistic.

What a setting!

For those of you lucky enough to live close by, be sure not to miss the new exhibition, "Pulp Fashion: The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave", at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. It runs from February 5 to June 5, 2011 and features 60 costumes and works from the collections of Isabelle de Borchgrave.  

[Photos courtesy of Isabelle de Borchgrave and the Facebook page of Isabelle de Borchgrave]


  1. Annie, I saw the same post & thought I should post about it, now I'll just refer everyone over to you! Amazingly beautiful art; just a medium we don't often think of, right? Aren't you just dying with the details of all this? Blogging is such a medium too...sharing everyone's ideas and inspiring even more ideas. xx's

  2. Dear Annie, Amazing! Thanks for bringing the Exhibition to our attention. And thank you to Karin also.

  3. Oh my, this is very interesting! So beautiful details. I wish I could see this. But as it is not possible, thank you for sharing this, at least I get glimpses!

  4. I love her work it's amazing!

  5. Annie i couldnt sleep what a lovely surprise yes Ive seen the crds they had at the Strozzi palace of the dresses of the Bronzino paintings and also the medici They are wonderful thankyou fay xxx buona notte

  6. Such excuisitely great post!!!
    Thank you for share this passion work:-)*


  7. Perfect post Annie!

    Thanks for all extra info about "Isabelle"......

    And thanks for mention my post. Good to know that there are people in the world, like you, who have same ideas.



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  10. In all the fashion shows that have taken place so far, a new standard of fashion rise up is seen. The latest trends in women fashion 2010 have been inspired by yesteryear's classic styles with a dash of sex, skin, colors, embellishments and of course attitude and glamor. Let us see some of the latest women fashion trends 2010.

  11. And for 'you' creatures that are bold, beautiful, gracious and smart, wrapping and carrying yourself is of utmost importance. our website



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