Bea Szenfeld’s Strangely Exquisite Paper Collections
I think that paper has an endless amount of structures and technical solutions that open the door to new perspectives. ~ Bea Szenfeld
Sweden-based fashion designer, Bea Szenfeld, has a fascination with paper unlike any other clothing designer that has come before her. Her focus is to draw attention to the modern cosmic view of paper both as a delicate and disposable medium. She has created several collections of apparel made entirely of paper that are held together only by thread and glue. Her latest collection, Haute Papier, features designs comprised of animals and clusters of geometric and organic shapes.
Who is Bea Szenfeld?
She was born in 1972 in Poland and her family moved to Gotenburg, Sweden, when she was ten years of age. Before attending the highly regarded Beckman's School of Design in Stockholm, she studied at Cutter's Academy. The reality show, Fashion House, which is similar to America's Project Runway, granted her significant media exposure back in 2003. She was one of five Swedish finalists competing across Europe and eventually won a three-month internship with Stella McCartney.
Sur La Plage
The Sur La Plage (on the beach) collection features twelve garments inspired by bathing suits, the vastness of the ocean and the mythology associated with it. The collection is seemingly from another dream-realm of existence, long faded into time. It whispers of ancient sea nymphs and sailors seduced by their song and dragged into the sea. Paper cuts are precise, many with layers that are incredibly elaborate.
Neptune's Daughter Collection
Neptune's Daughter is an exhibit from the spring and summer of 2009 that is dedicated to the spirit and aquatic accomplshments of Hollywood's eternal mermaid, Esther Williams. The designer's purpose was to create swimwear that makes women look beautiful, even underwater. The collection is a wonderful blend of new styles and designs that whisper of Hollywood's golden past.
She also completed two other exhibits made entirely of paper. Paper Dolls, which was displayed at the Nordiska Museum of Cultural History in Sweden and Whatever Forever, inspired by the worlds of burlesque, tribalism and religious iconography exhibited earlier this year at Paris Fashion Week.
The Paper Dolls and Whatever Forever Collections
Her purpose for the Paper Dolls Exhibit was to recycle paper in an unexpected and unique way and experiment with different available variations that range from stiff cardboard to fragile toilet paper. Whatever Forever is a continuation of Paper Dolls, revealing the medium of paper as complex and highly versatile.
The Haute Papier Collection
Haute Papier is Szenfeld's latest collection, created for the spring and summer of 2014. Incorporating the theme of the animal kingdom, Haute Papier is a unique showcase of bearskins, elephants and lions. Lady Gaga wore one of these hand-made, paper couture pieces, a white teddy bear, at a recent event at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City.
The creations of Bea Szenfeld are neither wearable nor washable and yet they are iconic and at the very core of fashion design. They mark the intersection where paper engineering and fashion meet and explode. Bea Szenfeld sees beauty in every aspect of human existence, no matter how mundane or ordinary, albeit seen through a looking glass that does need some special modification. She raises a most important question with every garment she creates: Can paper clothing change society's vision of objects that are integral to our everyday lives? The answer may well be in that proverbial Bob-Dylan wind, or perhaps it already lies on the other side of it.
M Dee Dubroff
Fashion and Technology Blogger