Wrapped in Fashion – the Paper Dress
Project Runway SPOILER ALERT!
Folks in media are constantly speculating on the death of print. Ironically, one of the most collectible garments in vintage fashion is the the paper dress. Last night’s Project Runway was such a thrill to watch because the designers were challenged to design a dress made of Los Angeles Times newspapers. Booth Moore, Los Angeles Times fashion critic, was a guest.
Tim Gunn gave a brief fashion history lesson on the paper dress – Project Runway contestants always seem short on their history knowledge don’t they?
In 1966, Scott Paper Company created a paper dress as a marketing tool. For one dollar, women could buy the dress and receive coupons for Scott products. No one could’ve predicted the popularity of this new and practical fad. Even Andy Warhol joined the paper dress craze with his famous Campbell’s soup print dress.
In my interview with Katy Kane, Katy revealed her affection for vintage paper dresses. She owns a few collectible examples and is always looking for more parchment frocks. My friend and vintage colleague, Jonathan Walford, co founder of the Fashion History Museum in Guelph, Canada, wrote a must read book about vintage paper dress titled Ready to Tear: Paper Fashions of the 60s. In the book, Jonathan explains the history of the paper dress, which we associate with the 1960s, but actually can be traced to the 1800s.
An image of a paper raincoat from the 1920s caught my eye, especially after watching Irina win tonight’s Project Runway challenge with her stunning trench coat.
Like this week’s Project Runway show, creating something wearable out of paper takes risk, creativity, and innovation. Proof positive that the last time we saw something new in fashion design was up until the mid 20th century.