Monday, 1 October 2012

The History of the Paper Dress
The 60s represented an era of radicalism, flamboyance and disposability. Already adopting a ‘throw-away’ attitude with the invention of disposable cutlery, plates and nappies - an age becoming obsessed with convenience - it was only logical for fashion to become disposable too. Breaking free of the social constraints of the 50s, fashion was taken to new heights and we bore witness to an overnight sensation that was all the rage in the mid-60s; the paper dress.
In the spring of 1966, as part of a marketing stunt, the Scott Paper Company were the driving force behind the phenomenon when they created two dresses made of out paper to promote a new colour line for paper product. For a dollar, you could buy a dress and receive coupons for Scott Paper products, and be relieved of the chore of washing, drying and ironing. It was an instant success.
Made up of 93% cellulose and 7% nylon or Dura-weve reinforced with rayon, the papers were more fragile, which meant there was much more flexibility and made it easier to create soft lines and draping making it more appealing. Within its first week of production; an estimated 500,000 dresses were produced and women across the United States bought into the gimmick of a carefree lifestyle, which saw company sales soar through the roof. Even though styles were simple and only available in a black and white, pop art-inspired style and an orangey red and yellow paisley print, the classic A-line dress was a massive hit.
During a time when it felt like we were living in the space age - with man traveling to space and landing on the moon - Scott had taken clothing to an age beyond its capabilities and paved the way for the future of fashion as convenient, cheap and fashionable. It was a time when anything seemed possible.
The birth of convenience and the age of consumerism had taken centre stage and mass produced paper clothing sparked a fashion craze not just for the average woman, but for women from affluent backgrounds trading in their pieces of Dior for more elaborate paper gowns. One of the most recognisable pieces was Andy Warhol’s, “Souper dress”, inspired by his rendition of the Campbell’s soup image, combining art and fashion at a time when women were eager to exercise their own freedoms and values.
The Souper dress. Image: AFP/Getty Images 
Fast becoming a trend, the paper movement swept through the American Fashion industry and it wasn’t long before paper dresses were sold in major department stores and a string of paper clothing boutiques were set up, capitalising on the craze. Not intent on breaking into the fashion industry Scott Paper stopped making paper dresses and major companies like Mars Hosiery filled the gap by producing 80,000 to 100,000 dresses a week.

Unfortunately, it was to be no more than a fashion fad that would become obsolete once the physical limitations became apparent following the rise of the eco-friendly culture which drew attention to a wasteful natured society, and the rising issues of flammability, when one too many fashionistas went up in flames!

Although the novelty wore off, it has inspired young contemporary fashion designers such as Morana Kranjec and Sandra Backlund, whose origami-inspired designs have brought new meaning to the paper dress in modern times.
Croatian designer, Morana Kranjec, showcased her geometric installation at this year’s Vauxhall Fashion Scout in London. Her “Origami-Armour” was an artistic take on the female form by using paper to explore traditional Japanese techniques and the modernity of design construction. Intricately folded by the designer herself, this display of immovability with the decadence and clear influence of Iris Van Herpen’s quest to transform fashion design, combines fashion with architecture.
Paper dress by Morana Kranjec
Not afraid to play with paper, Swedish designer Sandra Backlund’s approach to design is like a sculptor. She tests the boundaries of her craft by creating abstract pieces experimenting with materials like paper and incorporating origami techniques to produce conceptual art.
Paper dress by Sandra Backlund. Image: Peter Gehrke
Paper was not practical enough to stand the test of time, but influential enough to inspire sculptural wearable art. 

Shopping Destination 2012: Vienna

Magnificent views of lush green pastures and glaciated mountains, scents of alpenrose, gentian and rare edelweiss and the unforgettable scene of Julie Andrews famously swirling on the hill top of the Austrian alps from the phenomenon ‘The Sound of Music’. Austria’s skyline is a picture of beauty and its mainland represents a wealth of culture unscathed by an eventful history making the capital, Vienna, the root of its beginnings and an exciting and refreshing summer break for 2012.
Foothills of Schneeberg. Image:
Vienna is the largest city in Austria, which lies close to neighbouring countries Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary. Broken into 23 districts, it is the heart of Austria’s history and home to contemporary art, galleries and architectural structures such as beautiful imperial palaces of Hofburg and Schronbrunn, homes to past rulers and emperors of the many dynasty’s that ruled the country, attracting visitors from all over the globe. Now, it is a city transformed as a modern destination for the new generation of the funky and stylish, it is making way for the future without forgetting the heritage of its past.
Why not indulge into the whirlwind of originality and take a stroll down the narrow graffiti streets, just beyond the Museums Quartier, to 7th District. Considered the ‘Mecca’ for modern Austrian fashion. Here, you will find anything from elegant designs to outlandishly quirky creations, exposing shoppers to a variety of styles of clothes, handbags and accessories.
In search of something original, other than what the popular retail chains have to offer, located near the centre of Vienna, Neubaugasse is a hip secret to be kept close to your heart. Countless stores are a gateway to home-grown designer studios and fashionable stores, and the area has become a pilgrimage for shoppers looking for chic fashion from the likes of edenBERG to Park. On the corner of Mondscheingasses you’ll find international designers Ann Demeulemeister and Martin Margiela. While taking the time to scour the hidden back streets is a fabulous alternative to shopping the boulevards and malls to grab that one-off piece and explore Vienna’s trendiest district.
Park Boutique. Image: WeinTourism/Karl Thomas
If you fancy an intimate and truly unique shopping experience, 7tm shopping tours, is a two to three hour excursion, for a maximum of eight people, offering a personalised touch, where an experienced stylist gives you a guided tour in which you may be given the opportunity to meet and converse with designers themselves.
7th Shopping Tour.
Fashionistas’ interested in the current fashion scene, in an area fast becoming a fashion forward hotspot for young Viennese’s, are in for a treat. The twelfth ‘Festival of Fashion and Photography’ begins on 29 May through to 5 June. This annual event is a glorified testament to Austrian creatives and is jam packed with seminars, lectures, exhibitions and fashion shows.
Festival for Fashion & Photogrpahy. Image: Elke Krystufek/ Maria Ziegelbock
Elicit plush bars, clubs and restaurants scale the city and the ‘in’ crowds are just as complementary to the surroundings they choose to wine and dine in before heading off for a night of partying until the early hours of the morning. The club everyone is talking about at the moment is the Babenberger Passage. With a futuristic ambience created by the clean-cut design and state-of-the-art lighting, it is the place to be if you want to dance the night away. Streaming sounds from electronic, house and mainstream tunes, there is something for everyone.
But if you’re not up for the late hectic nightlife, blessed with hot and humid days during the summer months, with temperatures reaching a soaring 35°C, you may choose to visit one of the many public parks like Stadtpark, a link between the city centre and the third district.  Drift and dream through the hilly meadows from Ringstrasse or stand impressed by the Viennese art nouveau near the “Stadtbahn” railway pavilions; this is the perfect way to end the perfect holiday.