There are always so many brilliant and interesting things to do in London and last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to a private viewing of the ATOPOS Paper Dress Collection, which is being held at the Hellenic Centre, Marylebone until 24th February 19 (entrance free).
I didn’t know anything about paper fashion before going along, which it is probably why it is described in the press release as ‘the little-known story of paper garments’. The exhibition attempts to show the relationship between paper and text (words, logos, poems, slogans, headlines) in paper fashion. Apparently, the Paper Dress fad was pretty big in the US towards the end of the 1960’s.
The exhibition has been lovingly curated by Stamos Fafalios and Vassilis Zidanakis and is part of the Hellenic Centre’s 25th Anniversary. Stamos is very informative and is more than happy to answer any questions and to give lots of little anecdotes and theories about the exhibits.
I loved the fantastic 18th-19th century Japanese waterproof kamiko cape which looked for all the world like it was the inspiration for Driza-Bone raincoats, and maybe it was.
I really liked the dresses…
…and the paper jeans.
There was also a ‘Bob Dylan’ dress which was designed by Harry Gordon in 1967.
Paper dresses were sometimes used as promotional materials for presidential campaigns such as the one for George W. Romney in 1968, designed by Mars Manufacturing Company’s ‘Waste Basket Boutique’ line.
It wasn’t all about the dresses, though. There were also some rather fetching shirts on display.
Obviously, there had to be an Andy Warhol design somewhere as you can see here with ‘The Souper Dress’ created in 1967 by Campbell’s Soup Company.
I wonder if the creators of these clothes ever really thought they would catch on. After all, the downsides were surely many; they were generally ill-fitting and scratchy on the skin, the dye would rub off and of course they were often flammable and finally ended up as waste. The movement was finished by 1968.
All in all, it is a lovely way to spend an hour if you happen to find yourself in that part of London or if you are looking for interesting things to do with visiting friends and family. There is also some more information and beautiful photos of paper dresses on the V&A website. Check it out.
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