Marcie: Fashion As Art

By Marcie Everhart

My friend Ron and I went to the opening of a new exhibit at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art last week, an exhibit of paper dresses representing fashion from the 16th to 20th century. Many of the dresses in Isabelle de Borchgrave’s “Fashioning Art from Paper” are famous and seen in other two-dimensional works of art. This is what I mean:

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A Peter Paul Rubens painting depicting 16-year-old Princesse de Condé, Elénore de Bourbon.
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The dress in the painting re-created by Isabelle with just PAPER.

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There were several rooms, and the experience was like strolling through history, imagining the real women of those time periods standing before you. They had stepped out of their paintings. What struck me most? Many of the details seen in these artworks are trending right now. You can buy something today and feel connected to these street-style stars of yesteryear.

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Military Style Jacket, Red, Limited Sizing, Boohoo, $33.

Free People Sunset Dreams Ruffle Top, Red, Nordstrom, $108.

Isabel Marant Etoile Melina Embroidered Top, Nordstrom, $100.

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A paper recreation of the iconic 18th-century Robe à la Française, as worn by Marie Antoinette.

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Tiana B Velvet Top with Pleated Bell Sleeves, Mauve, Stein Mart, $25.

Gianni Bini Fan Fav Kammie Tie Shoulder Pleated Bell Sleeve Blouse, Pink Quartz, Dillard’s, $79.

Vince Camuto Pleated Bell Sleeve Blouse, Pink Mist, Limited Sizing, Macy’s Last Act, $40.

Sandro Botticelli’s “Pallas and the Centaur.”
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Isabelle’s paper version …

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Sherwood Embroidered Blouse, Anthropologie, $128.

Floral Blooms Tiered Sleeve Wrap Top, Boston Proper, $78.

Cool Shoulder Swing Tunic, Eva Varro, $152.

A 1599 portrait of Queen Elizabeth 1 …
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Isabelle’s paper version … no one could out-dress the queen!

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Lightning Bird Tunic – Honeysuckle Paisley, Limited Sizing, Show Me Your MuMu, $168.

Duran Cape – Honeysuckle Paisley, Show Me Your MuMu, $162. (The matching cape to the tunic)

Forget Me Knot Kimono, Free People, $98.

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Maria de Medici, a daughter of the famous wealthy Italian banking dynasty, was known to be intelligent and educated, symbolized by the book in her hand in her portrait.
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Isabelle’s paper interpretation of Maria’s blue-and-gold finery.

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Free People Alexa Floral Kimono Caftan Duster, Dillard’s, $148.

Free People Beat of My Heart Floral Tunic, Dillard’s, $98.

Low-Rise Skinny Premium Jeans, Zara, $30 AND Striped Shirt, Zara, $30.

The English Sporting Dress  housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
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The paper version … this 1870s dress, inspired by the colors and stripes of sailors’ uniforms, was designed for boating or seaside walking.

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Lauren Ralph Lauren Embroidered Bell Sleeve Top, Bloomingdale’s, $87.

Free People Embellished Denim Jacket, Macy’s, $90.

Striped Pleated Top, Zara, $46.

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An entire section of the exhibit contains paper recreations of costumes worn by the Ballet Russe, and it is suspended from the ceiling so that the pieces may twirl and sway. This one reminded me of how much we still like today to pair bright red with gold-and-black patterns such as leopard or red with hot pink.

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Striped Top, Zara, $40, and Striped Pants, Zara, $70.

Alice + Olivia Leopard Lips Blouse, Nordstrom, $295.

Red Color Block Anderson Swing Top, Tuckernuck, $250.

What Did I Wear?

What does one wear to a paper dress exhibit? Floral embroidered net tulle …

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My olive green grommet belt has slipped down and the top fallen off center down one arm but you get the idea… a white tee as background to let the embroidery detail shine.

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Belle + Sky Embroidered Mesh Top, Blush, JC Penney, $19.

Belle + Sky Embroidered Mesh Top, Black, JC Penney, $19.

Sisters, this may surprise, but we seem to be every bit as stylish, ornate, and interesting as our great-aughty-aught grandmothers.

The Real-Real Behind the Scenes

Even my friend Ron in his contemporary men’s fashion reflected a concept art piece titled “Staccato.”

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This photo from the Palm Beach Daily News shows the artist Isabelle discussing one of her creations in the exhibit. I couldn’t help but notice her own outfit.


A Little Background Music

Pop music as art.


*Photos of art shot by Marcie Everhart

*Photos of Marcie shot by Ron Spence

1 Comment

  1. Your blog was very interesting today and informative. Every thing is in a circle of time. So glad clothing is so carefree today. Soft fabrics, with lots of movement. Loved your story. And thank you for doing the session on Charlotte, (I shed some tears) between you and my wonderful Tammy it was so much fun to cry and laugh on my B’Day.


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