"Pallus" after Botticelli's "Pallas and the Centaur"
and "Flora" after Botticelli's "Primavera"
De Borchgrave knew from a young age that she wanted to be an artist. When she was only 18, she was already teaching art classes to kids and turning silk dresses into works of art by painting them with one-of-a-kind designs. But her passion was truly ignited when she visited the Met's Costume Institute in 1994 with friend--and costume designer--Rita Brown. The two were so taken with the exhibit that they decided on the spot to create works of their own recreating clothing from across the ages. The rest is history.
Fun fact: The triangular shaped piece in dresses
from this era is called the stomacher.
The exhibit yielded so much to talk about that the docent tour lasted a full 90 minutes. Here are a few of the tidbits we learned:
--De Borchgrave has a studio in Brussels where she works with a team of 10 artists to create her sculptures.
--The "fabrics" are created through a combination of free hand painting and stenciling.
--Each sculpture takes approximately a month to come into existence.
|Delphos Gown with Shawl inspired by Fortuny|
--The sculptures in the Fashioning Art from Paper exhibit were delivered to Artis-Naples in crates via two trucks. Two of de Borchgraves' assistants accompanied the delivery from its previous showing in Pittsburgh. (I learned at a talk at the Ringling that art couriers physically stay with the art at all times. When art is traveling by truck, the only stops along the way are to eat and gas up. It's not nearly as glamorous a job as it sounds.)
When the sculptures arrived, the assistants repaired any damage that occurred along the way. They also steam ironed the "fabric" of each piece to perk it up.
--The exhibit featuring replicas of the designs of Mariano Fortuny premiered at a show in the Fortuny Palazzo in Venice. Fortuny's Delphos gowns were inspired by Greek columns. The pleating is so unique that Fortuny was awarded a patent on it. In the original of the gown shown here, the beads were made from Murano glass.
"Teapot" dress -- likely used only for introductions in court
since dancing, sitting down or eating would be impossible
In other cases, de Borchgrave works from paintings. The dresses shown in the first picture in this post were inspired by Botticelli's "Primavera" and "Pallus and the Centaur," respectively. (Click on the names of the paintings to see them.) These dresses were part of the Spectacle of Medici exhibit. They are positioned together because the Medicis displayed these two paintings in the same room in one of their many palaces.
Stay tuned for more from this exhibit, including a sampling of the fabulous sculptures recreating clothing from Les Ballet Russes.