The story begins in a little house in Sablon, which Isabelle turned into a studio. There, she gave drawing classes to her friends’ children and other neighbourhood children and, thus, was free to think about her own designs. It was the seventies and, so, La Tour de Bébelle was set up there. Processions of hand-painted clothes, rolls of fabrics strewn about, pigments, brushes, gouaches, canvasses, pastels and travel journals. Everything alongside each other in a friendly, colourful and modern setting.
Journeys followed, one after another, all over the world. Isabelle discovered different cultures and began to see the world in a new light.
Following a visit to the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 1994, Isabelle dreamed up paper costumes. While keeping her brushes in hand and her paintings in mind, she worked on four big collections, all in paper and trompe l’œil, each of which set the scene for a very different world. “Papiers à la Mode” (Paper in Fashion), the first, takes a fresh look at 300 years of fashion history from Elizabeth I to Coco Chanel. “Mariano Fortuny” immerses us in the world of 19th century Venice. Plissés, veils and elegance are the watchwords of that history. “I Medici” leads us through the streets of Florence, were we come across famous figures in their ceremonial dress. Figures who made the Renaissance a luminous period. Gold-braiding, pearls, silk, velvet … here, trompe l’œil achieves a level of rediscovered sumptuousness. As for the “Ballets Russes”, they pay tribute to Serge de Diaghilev. Pablo Picasso, Léon Bakst, Henri Matisse, … all designed costumes for this ballet company, which set the world of the 20th century alight. These dancing paper and wire figures play a very colourful and contemporaneous kind of music for us.
It’s true that, today, Isabelle de Borchgrave has become a name that is readily associated with fashion and paper. But her name is also closely linked to the world of design. By working together with Caspari, the potteries of Gien, Target, and Villeroy and Boch, Isabelle has turned her imagination into an art that’s accessible to anyone who wants to bring festivity into their home. Painted fabrics and paper, dinner services, curtains, sheets, decor with a personal touch for parties and weddings,… All this tells of the world in which she has always loved to move.
But in a 40-year career, she has never put to one side the thing that has always guided her in her life: painting. She still exhibits her paintings and her large folded paper works all over the world. With an imagination increasingly stimulated by her knowledge and interpretation of art, Isabelle, a follower of the Nabis movement, has a fresh perspective of a world that flies around her like a dream.
The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave
Author Jill D'Alessandro
Editor Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco & DelMonico - Prestel
Language : English
ISBN : 978-3-7913-5105-6
This beautiful volume (catalogue of the exhibition "Pulp Fashion : the art of Isabelle de Borchgrave" now at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco) explores the exquisite paper costumes of the Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave. Author Jill D'Alessandro contextualizes de Borchgrave's work against the rich tapestry of art and couture history, examining how the artist brings long-lost fashions to life through an intricate process of tailoring, crumpling, braiding, pleating, and painting paper.
The Art of Isabelle de Borchgrave
Author Barbara & René Stoeltie
Editor Fonds Mercator, Bruxelles, 2008.
Isabelle de Borchgrave is an artist and designer, whose collection of dresses made entirely of paper - an astonishing tour of 300 yearsof fashion history - caused a worldwide sensation. These 160 sumptuous photographs by Barbara and René Stoeltie highlight the achievements of this exceptional artist, whose talent, creativity and sense of colour invite the reader into a fleeting, marvellous realm. Shoes, beads, hairstyles and costumes, all made from paper, make each page a feast of colour and invention, of finesse and elegance.
Language: French, English
Preface: Hubert de Givenchy