Papier Mache? Paper Dolls? Paper Sculpture Becomes High Art

English Day dress


Centuries of fashion are recreated in the breathtaking art of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave. Painting and sculpting --yes --paper, she recreates historic fashions that are trompe l’oeil masterpieces, and an entirely new art form. Each costume's sculpture is inspired by early European paintings or fashion collections from around the world. Rarely seen in the U.S., this exhibition presented iconic examples in the history of fashion—from the Renaissance finery of the Medici family and gowns worn by Queen Elizabeth I, to the creations of the great couturiers of the 20th century, Charles Frederick Worth, Paul Poiret and others.


Paysanne (2009) after a costume conceived for Ballets Russe de Monte Carlo by Leonide Massine

While de Borchgrave’s work has been seen throughout Europe for more than 20 years, this is the first time American audiences can see her Les Ballets Russe series, wild extravagances of theatricality and costuming. The organizing partner, the Frick Art and Historical Center, commissioned de Borchgrave to create a gown inspired by a painting from Peter Paul Rubens,Portrait of Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, Princess of Condé,” from c. 1610.  Both the dress and the original Rubens portrait are in the exquisite collection.


Iksander, costume by Leon Bakst for "The Flowers of Immortality"


DeBorchgrave’s Kaftans series, inspired but the Silk Road textiles of Central Asia, is riveting. The exhibition also highlights the creations and studio of Mariano Fortuny, the eccentric early 20th-century artist who was a major source of inspiration to De Borchgrave, and lives on on Fortuny fabrics.




To see the schedule of program, classes, performance and exhibitions in Palm Beach, go to


Cosimo I de Medici and wife, Eleanor de Toledo


Gown for Anna de Medici, daughter of Cosimo II de Medici and Maria-Maddelena of Austria


Describing the splendor of the de Medicis


The Empress Eugenie evening dress and shoe


The entrance to the main gallery of Four Arts Society, Palm Beach


The poster at the entrance to the gallery





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