To call the works of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave "paper dresses" does them no justice; they are ornate and painstakingly accurate life-sized replicas of historical garments made entirely of crinkled, pleated, hand-painted, twisted and braided paper. Sixty of these elaborate pieces are now on view in "Pulp Fashion," a four-month exhibit that opened February 5 at San Francisco's Legion of Honor. De Borchgrave calls it "a wink at history," as the collection includes trompe l'oeil facsimiles of Renaissance dresses worn by the Medicis, gowns once donned by Elizabeth I and Marie-Antoinette (one can imagine the attention to detail required there) and couture from the houses of Worth, Fortuny, Dior and Chanel. The four designs created for this exhibit should be of particular interest: As part of the museum's "Collection Connections" series (in which participating artists are asked to reinterpret pieces from the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts's permanent collection), de Borchgrave will unveil new work inspired by fashions depicted in paintings such as Anthony van Dyck's Marie Claire de Cory and Child. At 100 34th Ave.; 415-750-3600; legionofhonor.famsf.org.
Photo courtesy Andreas von Einsiedel