I had seen this exhibit years ago in Toronto and remembered how amazing it was to see paper transformed into what looked like wearable garments. At Hillwood, the garments were spread out in the house and in one of the outbuildings. What was even better, some of the dresses had been commissioned to either copy or be inspired by some of the artwork in the mansion.
These two Provence-style outfits were inspired by the tapestry behind them. It's hard to believe it but everything in these garments is paper, including the lace.
I loved this dress, mostly for the unusual darting in the bodice.
This confection of a gown was in Mrs. Post's bedroom.
The dresses in the Adirondack House building were much more accessible; you could get really close to them (as long as you didn't touch... and there was a VERY attentive guard keeping watch!). In the bodice above, you can see jewels and buttons... all paper.
The textural effects were achieved by crumpling and ironing the paper multiple times, then painting details, then crumpling and ironing again, then forming the paper over the base form. In the visitor's center, there was a video playing of the process, but it was terribly pixilated and skipping so it was impossible to watch.
I can't imagine how long it took to create each one of these gowns. And how on Earth did they ship them?? Remember, these are not like real clothes that can be folded... They have to be crated and padded and very carefully placed.
This was Diana's favorite: a Fortuny-pleated underdress with a sheer overdress.
If you are in the D.C. area, I highly encourage you to visit the museum and see this exhibit, which runs through January 20. And if you've seen it, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!