Isabelle De Borchgrave Paper Dresses

Isabelle de Borchgrave
b. 1946, Belgium
Elizabeth I Court Dress, 2001
Inspired by a ca. 1599 portrait by the studio of Nicolas Hilliard (English, ca. 1547-1619) at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

Le Noir du Roi (The Black King), 2009
Costume designed by Léon Bakst for La Belle au Bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty) in 1921
(220 x 135 x 95cm)

Painter, designer, artist, visual artist, discover the amazing dresses and creations of paper that made it famous worldwide! Robe pour le sport, 1870 by Isabelle de Borchgrave. Paper dress created in March 2000 inspired by a dress in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection (London).

Isabelle de Borchgrave’s paper garments are made of common pattern paper, but she sometimes uses much thinner paper for lace and other fine materials. Her paints of choice are usually acrylics, but. Dec 18, 2016 Though her name is automatically associated with them now, de Borchgrave has not always made paper dresses. She started out as a student at the Academy of Drawing and Decorative Arts and the Royal Academy of Arts of Brussels, specializing in painting and drawing. These skills are still very much part of de Borchgrave’s work as she paints minute and intricate patterns on her paper creations. Isabelle Jeanne Marie Alice Jacobs, by marriage, Countess Isabelle de Borchgrave d'Altena (born 1946) is a prominent Belgian artist and sculptor, best known for her colorful paintings and intricately painted paper sculptures. She is married to Count Werner de Borchgrave d'Altena. Pret-a-papier: The incredible period gowns recreated with paper, glue, paint - and not a stitch of fabric. Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchagrave's collection of period costumes at Hillwood Estate in Washington, DC are cut, glued, braided, ruffled, crumpled and painted.

Madame de Pompadour Court Dress, 2001
Inspired by a ca. 1756 portrait of Madame de Pompadour by Francois Boucher in the collection of Alte Pinakothek, Munich
69 11/16 x 40 3/16 x 25 9/16 inches
(177 x 102 x 65 cm)

Lorenzo il Magnifico, 2007
Inspired by the painting Journey of the Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli in the Medici Chapel in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence. He is represented here as page Gaspard, down from his horse.
(200 x 75 x 71cm)

Isabelle De Borchgrave Paper Dresses

Isabelle de Borchgraveb. 1946, Belgium
Day Dress, 1994
Based on an English Day dress 1855 inthe collection of the Kyoto CostumeInstitute

Isabelle De Borchgrave Original Paintings

Paul Poiret Evening Ensemble and Shoe, 1997
Inspired by a ca. 1912 ensemble designed by Paul Poiret (French, 1879– 1944) in the collection of The Museum at FIT, New York
Shoe: 6 ¼ x 9 x 3 ⅛ inches

Robe à la Polonaise, 1994
Based on a ca. 1780-85 gown of handpainted Chinese export silk in the collection of The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,
1970.87ab 59 ⅛ x 39 ⅜ x 31 ½ inches

Worth Evening Gown and Shoe, 1994
Based on an 1898 dress designed by Charles Frederick Worth (English, active France, 1825–1895) in the collection of The Costume Institute, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Dress: 59 ⅛ x 27 ⅝ x 59 ⅛ inches

Isabelle de Borchgrave b. 1946, Belgium
Mantua, 2011
Based on a court mantua ca. 1750 in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Isabelle De Borchgrave Paper Dresses Free

Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper
February 19, 2021 – August 22, 2021


Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper features the life-size, trompe l’œil paper costumes of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave (born 1946). Following a visit to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in 1994, de Borchgrave began working in the new medium, creating trompe l’œilpaper works in what eventually would become four major paper fashion collections.

The first, Papiers à la Mode (Paper in Fashion), takes a fresh look at three hundred years of fashion history from Elizabeth I to the Ballets Russes. The World of Mariano Fortuny immerses museum-goers in the elegant world of twentieth-century Venice. Splendor of the Medici leads visitors through the streets of Florence, where they come across famous figures in their sumptuous ceremonial dress. And in Les Ballets Russes, de Borchgrave pays tribute to Sergei Diaghilev, Pablo Picasso, Léon Bakst, and Henri Matisse, who all designed for this extraordinary ballet company.

Isabelle De Borchgrave Paper Dresses

Isabelle De Borchgrave Paper Dresses Collection

For this exhibition, all four collections will be presented together, for the first time, in a survey of de Borchgrave’s innovative work. Along with these pieces, a series of kaftans highlighting Silk Road textiles will be included as well.

Isabelle De Borchgrave Chair Covers

*If you would like to see both Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper and Promise, Witness, Remembrance on your visit, you can reserve tickets for both at once HERE.


This exhibition is organized by Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, in cooperation with Isabelle de Borchgrave Studio.

This exhibition is supported by:
W. L. Lyons Brown, Jr. Foundation
(Cary Brown & Steven Epstein)
Hardscuffle, Inc.
Media sponsorship from:

Isabelle De Borchgrave Paper Dresses Sale

Exhibition season sponsored by:
Cary Brown and Steven E. Epstein
Paul and Deborah Chellgren
Debra and Ronald Murphy

Inspired by the rich history of fashion represented in European paintings, famous costumes in museum collections, and designs of the grand couturiers, Isabelle de Borchgrave has turned her passion for painting toward the recreation of elaborate costumes – crumpling, pleating, braiding, and painting the surface of simple rag paper to achieve the effect of textiles and create the illusion of haute couture.

Crumpled, pleated, and painted, ordinary paper becomes haute couture in the hands of the Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave.

Isabelle De Borchgrave Paper Dresses

The Exhibition

By reconstructing dresses from key periods in fashion history, Prêt-à-Papier presents a range of styles from the late 17th to the early 20th century. Isabelle de Borchgrave deftly crafts a world of splendor in trompe l’oeil. Cutting, gluing, and painting with imagination and exceptional mastery, she creates the illusion of lace, brocade, delicate silk, and sumptuous embroidery.

The sumptuous apparel of the royalty of the 18th and 19th centuries revered by Marjorie Merriweather Post, and depicted in the paintings and decorative arts she collected, take on an added dimension in the work of de Borchgrave. The costumes of Tsar Peter the Great and Empress Josephine, for example, come to life, with de Borchgrave’s own intricate painting and manipulation of the paper convincingly mimicking the finest brocades, damasks, and silks. For the work commissioned by Hillwood, de Borchgrave draws inspiration from the life-like details, textures, and opulent colors of the main figure’s dress in Karl Briullov’s The Countess Samoilova. This dress will be displayed in the Pavilion at Hillwood with the grand-scale painting that inspired it.

The exhibition is located in Hillwood’s Adirondack Building and also animates spaces in the Mansion, reinterpreting both the art objects and Post’s extraordinary collection of 20th-century apparel.


The Artist

A painter by training and by passion, Isabelle de Borchgrave turned her talent for trompe l’oeil to the paper sculptures that reinterpret and recreate almost 300 years of fashion. With fashion historian, Rita Brown, she created Papiers à la Mode, a collection of costumes in paper and paint that offered a fresh look at fashion history. Her collections that followed included an immersive dive into the 19th century Venice-inspired line from Fortuny, a look at the famous figures of I Medici, and a study of the Ballet Russes, whose playful figures and saturated colors nod to her love of the Nabis movement. De Borchgrave’s name is also readily associated with the world of design.

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