Updated: Feb 4, 2022
Taking a Look at Fashion Made From Paper
Marie Antoinette may never have dreamed of a gown constructed of paper but that doesn’t stop me from searching the Internet for couture fashion made from alternate fibers.
I love fantasy when it comes to fashion. Theater and film costuming inspire me. I’m all for practicality — the whole “form follows function” concept makes perfect sense. But fashion is a grand exception to that rule as far as I’m concerned.
Clothing made from paper is my obsession as of late. I’ve come across some gorgeous pieces, lovely, impractical bits that I’d love to share with you.
Designer Issey Miyake did a line in 2012 utilizing paper. However, what he did was to incorporate it with textiles to create his runway collection. What I’m more interested in for today's commentary is clothing created solely from paper. Not only its aesthetic beauty but the resulting impermanence of using such a medium. While it’s important to consider sustainability and longevity with the real garments hanging in our closets, I must confess to an ardent admiration of something so fleeting as couture gowns crafted with paper.
Paper fashion actually reminds me of couture in the way that what you see on the runway is hardly what you will see anyone wearing on the streets of Buenos Aires or Tokyo (goodness knows the large design houses aren’t making any of their money from the couture they send down the runway in spring and autumn, it's all about the ready to wear and the accessories). This is about creativity and possibilities. It's art.
It’s architecture for the body gone wild.
Image credit: unknown Pinterest artist
While multiple layers must make for a weighty skirting I imagine this dress to have a certain diaphanous quality to it as well. It looks…fluffy. I’ve not personally attempted construction by newspaper so I’m left to wonder whether the paper was treated in some way to make it stiffer or if the illusion of light airiness comes merely from the way it's layered.
After all, paper by its very nature retains its shape when crumpled.
Image credit: Fedisa Institute of Fashion
If layering yesterday’s headlines doesn’t appeal, how about interlocking folds? This men’s jacket from the Fedisa Institute of Fashion is made from piece after piece of paper folded and connected to one another like a perfect puzzle. It reminds me of when I was a child and my friends and I would fold bubblegum wrappers in much the same way to make necklaces to wear, only this is a much better outcome than the ten-year-old me could ever dream up.
Plus, what dreamy ruffled cuffs! They're reminiscent of the New Romantics trend of the 1980s.
In my Internet deep dive, I found more than just clothing made of paper to ogle. There were wigs and hats! Well, not so much hats as headpieces.
Image credit: Asya Kozina and Dmitriy Kozin.
Artists Asya Kozina and her husband Dmitriy Kozin create exquisitely ornate sculptural pieces made from plain white paper. Their work calls forth the milieu of various historical periods, employing an elegance one would not normally associate with such a medium.
The above piece aims to mimic the French Baroque era and, in my eyes, does so perfectly. Not only in the style of the wig; that shawl conjures up images of women wrapped in chantilly lace, leisurely strolling cobbled stone boulevards in the morning sun.
This is only a small sampling of the beauty wrought by the manipulation of paper. You can shred it, fold it, press it, cut it, paint it, and shape it into anything your imagination desires. It can be avant-garde in its contemporary reach or mimic your favorite historical period. Wear it to the library or on a fun photoshoot—just maybe don’t wear it out in the rain!
Paper isn’t the only compelling medium with which to create an interesting ensemble. There’s cork, metallic mesh, even molded glass among other alternatives to industry standard fibers. What sort of materials are you interested in? What have you worked with? I'd love to hear from everyone!
So many more things to talk about with textiles…more to come there soon!
Until next time~
*Vivie V. is a fashion enthusiast from Chicago with a penchant for handmade and vintage pieces. She holds a B.A. from Columbia College, where her passion for the creative arts was heavily cultivated. When she’s not blogging for Tailor Village she’s concocting DIY fragrances, sewing her own clothes, and running her consultancy, Vivie V.’s Adorn Yourself.