This shoot came about when Pam Pierce asked if I could do a style feature for MILIEU. We tossed around ideas, and I kept coming back to one about making clothes out of wallpaper—but in a more artistic way than real. I trawled manufacturers for days, later looking up ideas for paper clothes and mannequins. Producing these features is always a process and slowly I refined the ideas and the papers and was ready for a shoot.
I sketch a page plan for all shoots, and this was no different. Sourcing the mannequins was difficult and involved trips all over London until I found a mixture of some new and vintage ones. Coming up with clothing ideas was challenging because we were using paper, which tears, creases, and comes usually in only narrow widths. Melanie, who made everything for the shoot, experimented with different papers on her machine. Some just transformed themselves into garments with little effort, while others proved difficult. We came up with a lot of pleating ideas, as that was a way to finish things off and also to produce circular shapes, such as the tablecloth, necklines, and belts. We also pre-creased the papers, then crumpled them to look more lived in. The papers were ironed afterward, to achieve an evenness. The paper for the ballgown happened to be a wide width grade that was quite malleable, so the gown looks almost like fabric.
Transporting these works to Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, a four-hour drive from London, was challenging, especially as it was raining. But everything proved to be resilient and hardy. Simon Brown, our photographer, had never been to this most romantic of houses, and he fell in love with it. We came up with our shot plan and got to work. Simon’s assistant, Milo Brown, kept track of everything.
Haddon is a big, meandering house; I clocked over 25,000 steps on our first day! The geometric paneling, extraordinary leaded windows, and beautiful plasterwork, all lent themselves brilliantly to the mostly geometric designs of the wallpapers.
See the entire story in MILIEU’s Winter 2018 issue, in an article we've entitled Off the Wall.
Written by Katrin Cargill, MILIEU European Contributing Editor
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