Pap(i)er Fashion on Display in Zurich Museum

paper fashion photo

Images from ATOPOS

This looks like such a great show--it's been in Paris and now it's in Zurich, at the Museum Bellerive, if anyone is travelling there this summer.

Called Pap(i)er Fashion and created by ATOPOS, a Greek cultural organization, the exhibition examines the use of paper in modern fashion: in design, art, advertising, sound, video, and catwalk shows. The fashions reflected what was happening in art, politics and culture at the time; Pop Art and Op Art, company logos, newspaper prints, and even the election candidates of 1968.

tin tin photo

Images from ATOPOS: Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.

It shows some of the delicate and well-preserved paper creations of some of the most famous designers of our times such as Paco Rabanne and Issey Miyake. But it also celebrates the ephemeral, fragile, humble and poetic nature of paper garments.

The first paper dresses in our time started in the Swinging Sixties in the USA. They were used for PR purposes, to spread news, or to promote politicians and their campaigns. They were hip, clever, and disposable, but the trend didn't last long and they were consigned to the dust bins of fashion history. And to ATOPOS which has a collection of more than 400 paper dresses from that period.

The exhibition shows examples from the big designers of the time, such as Paco Rabanne, Issey Miyake, Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, and Akris. There are also dresses with images of Bob Dylan, Robert Kennedy, Campbell Soup cans via Andy Warhol, hats for Chanel and even comic books.

paper hat photo

Image from Lagerfeld for Chanel
Paper was invented in China in approximately 100 A.D., and has been used to manufacture garments and accessories in various cultures in the past. ATOPOS has other paper garments in their collection such as 17th century Japanese kimonos, ceremonial clothes for the dead, hats, bags, underwear and even a bikini.

dress studio photo

Promotion paper dress with portraits of Universal Studios' popular stars
ATOPOS is ancient Greek for out of the ordinary, eccentric, unregistered. It is an Athens-based, non - profit cultural organisation which aims to bring modern technologies together with fashion, design and contemporary art. Founded in 2003, it operates as an international, cultural think-tank, as well as an experimental forum for visual culture.

atopos dress photo

Images from Baby Ruth and Butterfinger dresses, by MARS

Given the ephemeral nature of the material, they have only been able to conserve about one third of their collection. The RRRIPP!! Adoption Programme is an "adopt a paper dress" donation to enable them to continue their restoration programme. Preserving a dress is a complicated process because they have to keep the pieces in museum-like conditions. Items are catalogued and researched; inspected and assessed by a conservator, and then conserved and restored. Finally, it is photographed before being placed in its very own storage box. All of this costs money which a small organization doesn't have. Nonetheless they seem to have mounted an extraordinary show.

Pap(i)er Fashion on Display in Zurich Museum
This looks like such a great show--it's been in Paris and now it's in Zurich, at the Museum Bellerive, if anyone is travelling there this summer.

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