Pratt’s Paper Dolls

Most of us learned how to make paper doilies at some point in our early childhood. Take a piece of paper: fold it in quarters, cut it this way and that, open it up, and like magic: a thing of beauty. At least to the eyes of a 6 year old. Take that same piece of paper, think on the Zen side of things, and fold, fold, fold. What little bird, or phantasmajorical animal emerges, comes from the art of origami. Paper pleases. Paper gives us tactile reality, and transforms children of all ages into artists-in-making.

Take that same piece of paper, and an assignment from your teacher at Pratt and voila! You get extraordinary fashion filling the windows of Macy’s Herald Square in this winter of 2011. New York City, snowed, snowy, and white windows: what better?
The series of white paper gowns, ensembles, skirts, and accessories are able interpretations of garments usually seen turned out in silks and warmer surfaces than paper. But paper gives another dimension to the fashion. It allows pure line to emerge. In the Macy’s windows, the designers have used the paper dressed mannequins along side the fashion flashing ones, and create an active, rather than a passive, backdrop for the designs being showcased. Look at both together, and perception becomes a natural flow, taking the eye from design, into appreciation, and back to design. It’s art for the masses, taken from the galleries of museums into the street level point of view of the common man.

Paper dress, photo by Fanny Littmarck
Christmas windows are a spectator sport in New York City, but after Christmas, we usually have nothing but white sales. With the white paper backdrops of fantasy fashion in Macy’s windows, we have something to see. It’s a concept. No, it’s a dress. No, it’s a hood. After all, Paco Rabanne made his collection from metal rings. Fabric is sometimes an afterthought. Sometimes it’s the inspiration.
Showing fashion as thought, and the development of that thought, opens up the industry to the public. Some of those people may see fashion and especially haute couture as something to be afraid of. Looking at fashion as process, not unlike planning a meal for your family, or plotting that football play in the locker room, allows everyone to see what the fuss is all about. The planning, the magic, and then, the reveal, is all.
The magic of store windows in New York City brings a dialogue between the public, consumers all at the end of the day, and designer. Sometimes that designer isn’t designing specifically for that public, but it’s all part of the big picture. And the big picture windows.

One Response to “Pratt’s Paper Dolls”

  1. Ellen Christine says:

    thank you, and we hope you pass all of our insights along