Last Friday evening, we attended the premiere screening of Design Eye Creative paper on skin 2020 – The Film. It was wonderful to watch these fabulous garments brought to life on the big screen and to have been a part of the journey. The film can be viewed as a whole or in sections and another presents a forum with the judges explaining their rationale. They can be viewed on the Burnie Arts Council website here, sit back and enjoy.
The inaugural paper on skin competition transpired in 2012, the brainchild of Burnie denizen, paper artist Pam Thorne. The concept of wearable art links a strong history of paper making in Burnie with the creative talents of local and international artists. When we learned the major sponsor had withdrawn, we didn’t hesitate to offer our support and so, Design Eye Creative paper on skin 2020 became the new incarnation. Usually, the competition culminates with a gala parade and award evening, however, with the advent of social distancing regulations, a new strategy emerged. The award ceremony was live-streamed through Facebook followed by an exhibition of the garments at Burnie Regional Art Gallery for four weeks. In lieu of the catwalk parade, a series of films have been produced to allow a greater audience appreciation. We were privileged to witness some of the filming at the Burnie Arts & Function Centre. Tasmanian artist, Marion Kennedy, was on hand for last minute adjustments to her entry, Fathoms
and the seemingly simplistic Flow will be explained later.
The movies will be released on 4th September and I will publish the links when available. Meanwhile, join me at the exhibition. The competition is not themed and each entry, which must be made from at least 80% paper, has its own story. Guardian of the Southern Convergence, made with hand dyed indigo kozo paper by Liz Powell & Dr Denise N Rall (NSW) is based on the Antarctic Convergence, the threat from environmental change and the alliance of countries protecting it from exploitation.
Over 2,300 folded paper and silk paper spheres have been mathematically engineered and sewn together to create Flower of Life. Brielle Killip worked with Chris Geissinger & Jennifer Garber (Denver Colorado, USA) to produce a garment that is both a bold statement and is comfortable to wear, earning them the $2,000 Runner-Up Award as well as the $500 Public Vote Award.
When Queenslander, Karen Benjamin, conceived her idea for Flow, she had no idea how pertinent her entry would be. Made from toilet paper, each circle has been coloured with permanent marker and hand stitched, creating the illusion of flowing water. The degree of difficulty was enhanced when pandemic panic buying brought a halt to production but, on the up side, the idea for the face mask accessory was born.
Burgeon is an interesting collaboration between Portuguese paper artist and jeweller Renata Fukuda & fashion designer Marta Lisboa, playing with proportion in unpredictable ways.
Lorreny Vera from Victoria has tapped into her Venezuelan roots to create Queen Guacamaya, the queen of the jungle.
Toyo paper braid is the basis for Calligraphica by RR Pascoe (NSW) who has been creating artworks from reclaimed and sustainable materials for more than two decades.
Jade Kahle (VIC) has mastered the art of knitting and crocheting with paper string, enjoying the texture, stitch definition and sculptural effects to culminate in her entry The Esther Dress.
Paper card was the material of choice for Janine Hilder (VIC) for her pastel creation, Lantern Lass.
Although we had a preview of Fathoms at the filming session, I hadn’t realised the detail of the underwater world featured on the gown.
It may not have won any awards but Connie’s Coat stole my heart. A wonderful collaboration between Anne Gason, Barb Adams, Chris Rose, Chris Smith & Gail Stiffe (VIC), the handmade paper gives the illusion of a well-worn coat with a treasure in every pocket. There is a story behind this garment; “The Coat of Connie McBride: Connie sailed from Dublin to Melbourne in 1885 with her brother Darcy. After a few years trapped in the city slums they travelled to Jamieson VIC to prospect for gold. Darcy moved to Beechworth, but Connie befriended the publican of the ‘Diggers Exchange Hotel’ where she worked until it closed in 1911 due to the actions of the ‘Liquor Licence Reduction Board’. Connie lived until she was 95 (died 1970).”
Plotting paper has been used by Laila-Inga Mueterthies (Germany) for her piece, Papyria.
Stunning by design, the kozo and recycled paper entry Snowy Mountains Dreaming by Polly Crowden (NSW) pushed the boundaries of ‘wearable’.
Technology, art and fashion synthesise in Rockabetty by Tara Morelos & Liz Bradshaw (NSW).
If you have ever enjoyed a cup of tea you will appreciate the ingenious re-use of tea bags in New Life. Denise Lamby (QLD) spent hours drying soggy tea bags to reincarnate them in a fabulous, colourful art form.
The throwaway culture of the fashion industry is highlighted in the entry from Kate Dunn (NSW), Exposure.
The enigmatic Foggy Lady by Mali Klein (Netherlands) comprises an ensemble of handmade paper dyed with natural pigments.
Local Burnie artist, Joan Stammers, has created a spectacularly grand costume using recycled papers. The floral trimmings on Let them eat cake would be worthy of any garden competition.
With her 100% paper entry, Loong (Dragon) Tale, Simone Guascoine (NSW) has used sewing techniques taught by her grandmother to create her Japanese themed outfit.
The winner of the $5,000 Major Award, Amanda May (VIC), designed a beautiful, bright representation of the Australian native flower, Waratah. The vital work of our Australian native bees hasn’t been forgotten with the eco-addition of a Blue Banded Bee.
The pretty Pretend Print-cess by Kelcie Bryant (NSW) is reminiscent of a feminine sundress accompanied by a playful rabbit mask.
Handmade paper has been used by Amee Dennis (NSW) for her creation, Study of Grass.
The TasmAsian by Cynthia Hawkins is an intriguing fusion of her Malaysian roots and adopted home of Tasmania.
A second entry by Laila-Inga Mueterthies (Germany), Showtime, is truly stunning. With the use of plotter paper, we are taken back to a time when style meant elegance and sophistication.
Another local entrant, Chloe Townsend, has successfully transformed her concept to reality with the aptly named Flame.
With so many fabulous entries, choosing one for my public vote wasn’t easy but Musings On Things Ethereal by Kathryn Wilkinson (NSW) was outstanding. Mulberry paper, teabags and silk organza combine perfectly in this stunning creation, I would love to add this to my wardrobe.
Donna Vo (NSW) has used artisanal Japanese washi paper along with paper raffia for her composition, The Shedding. Her piece, “represents the shedding of ideals placed on a female as a child, a young adult and as a mother.”
Inspired by the natural world, Svenja (QLD) has shared her fascination in her design, Cosmic leafy sea dragon.
Unfortunately, two artists missed the judging due to upheavals in the postal system. Romanian Antoaneta Tica was selected as a finalist but her work was stranded when international freight and postage lines closed. However, she organised a photo shoot and it can be viewed on the paper on skin Facebook page. Tony Williams (Cleveland Ohio USA) also encountered problems with freight and his three entries arrived after the judging and filming but in time for the final week of the exhibition. Tony’s spectacular creations can also be seen on Facebook.
This exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria was top of our ‘must see’ list when we visited Melbourne in June. Philanthropist and NGV Foundation Board Member, Krystyna Campbell-Pretty has purchased more than 250 garments since 2015 and gifted them to the NGV in memory of her late husband, Harold Campbell-Pretty. We took our time absorbing the wondrous collection of haute couture garments on display. This was more than just a presentation of beautiful attire, it was a reflection of a changing society and the evolution of women’s roles. The gowns of the Belle Époque, French for ‘beautiful era’ (spanning 1871– 1914), portrayed a diverse range of styles. Around the turn of the century, the exaggerated S-shape was attributed to the diabolical corsetry endured by women of this time.
Callot Soeurs was established in 1895 by four sisters who had previously owned a small shop that specialised in quality lingerie, ribbon and laces.
Charles Frederick Worth, considered to be the father of haute couture, founded the House of Worth in the 19th century.
Around 1906, dresses became more linear and women were freed from their constricting undergarments.
The Jazz Age of the 1920s brought loose fitting, unstructured garments adorned with sequins, beads, lace and fringing.
The Parisian couture house of Boué Soeurs opened in 1899 and was known for its feminine, romantic style. Their 18th century inspired robe de style featured lace, embroidery and ribbon-work flowers. The contours of the wide skirt were achieved with the use of hoops underneath the fabric.
Elsa Schiaparelli began designing her own collections in 1927. This beautiful green evening coat, part of her Speakeasy collection in 1932-33 during Prohibition, had a small back bustle where a flask of contraband alcohol could be concealed. The black silk velvet evening coat was created by Lucien Lelong in 1935, around the time he was elected chairman of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture (the governing body of the French haute couture industry).
In 1854, the U.S. forced Japan to open up its borders to international trade and the French term, Japonisme, encompassed the resulting fascination with Japanese goods. Capes, cloaks and coats of the early 20th century reflected the form of the kimono, often embroidered with Japanese motifs.
Madeleine Vionnet was known as the ‘Queen of the bias cut’, her designs were feminine, streamlined and close fitting.
Formally trained as a sculptor, Madame Grés began producing high fashion in the early 1930s. The art of pleating and draping was perfected in her designs, the bodices were exceptionally elegant.
Jeanne Lanvin’s garden party dress and Jean Patou’s afternoon dress of the 1930s were floral and feminine.
A marvellous display featuring many incarnations of the ‘little black dress’ took centre stage in a gallery among mid 20th century paintings. The inception of the LBD has long been associated with Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel.
Evening dresses of the 1930s exuded glamour and luxuriant fabrics enhanced the female form.
The 1940s brought a spectrum of silhouettes, from evening dresses to dinner jackets and day suits.
Schiaparelli’s afternoon dress seemed remarkably demure next to Molyneux cocktail dresses.
Moving into the 1950s, the evening gowns were nothing short of spectacular.
Christian Dior created thousands of pieces in the ten years he presided over his couture house, continually manipulating hem, bust and waistlines. His stunning, shorter style dresses were in company with those from Rochas, Lanvin and Carven.
The creations of Cristóbel Balenciaga reflect the changing trends through the 1950s and 60s.
Paco Rabanne liked to make garments from unconventional materials rather than cloth. I don’t think I’d like to sit down wearing this metal mini dress.
Through the 1960s and 70s, Yves Saint Laurent presented more contemporary designs with masculine lines and bohemian elements.
His garments from the 1990s returned to more feminine contours, the tribute to his couture house ensemble (on the left) took 700 hours to complete. The rock-crystal and gilt embellishments were all hand embroidered.
The square shouldered, tailored suits of Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler were a sharp contrast to the flowing form of Azzedine Alaìa and golden ensemble of Zandra Rhodes.
Christian Lacroix is known for his opulent, colourful garments and his varied designs reflect fashion history.
The exhibition also included original sketches and drawings, photography and fashion magazines as well as handbags and shoes. Far too many to photograph.