Fashion’s Night Out in L.A. featured a myriad of memorable moments (think Ferris Wheel on Rodeo Drive), but Rami Kashoú (that’s right, one of our fave Project Runway finalists) stole the show at the Beverly Center when he unveiled an Origami Paper Couture Gown made entirely out of Papyrus greeting cards and paper goods. The talented designer’s created tons of to-die-for dresses for red carpet celebs from Jessica Alba to Penelope Cruz, and this groundbreaking design was no different. Modeled by Nadia Alexandria who had her hair and makeup done by celeb stylist Clark Russell, the dramatic, fairytale-like flamenco gown exuded a sense of life and celebration and was “the first of many illustrious displays of Fashion on Paper the public can anticipate in upcoming months,” said Papyrus CEO Dominique Schurman. This unprecedented alliance between Rami and Papyrus became an instant FNO favorite when thousands of FNO attendees lined up to view the dress and pick up specially signed Papyrus-made limited edition prints of the design from Rami himself. Read on for our interview with the acclaimed designer:
I got a call from Dominique one day asking me if I would be interested in working with her on this project. I felt honored to have the opportunity to work with Papyrus products on such a creative project as I have always been a fan of their cards and merchandise.
After meeting with the creative team at Papyrus I went home with my mind racing with design ideas. I wanted to create a cerebral design full of color and life. I began sketching and testing some of their paper materials in my studio and one design idea lead to another. With time as I was working on the design it gradated from an evening gown to a collage of images and origami art piece. I used their cards and and cut out images from them, creating flounces, lined with their beautiful gift wrapping paper. I used their colorful envelope linings and created origami flowers, butterflies and hummingbirds. I also applied their sparkling gift bags and other materials all around the gown that gave the design a life and a 3-dimensional angle. In the end I pieced together an origami flamenco one-shoulder vibrant evening gown full of detail and explosive in color.
My inspiration was an origami 3-dimensional flamenco gown that is full of color and detail, a gown made entirely of Papyrus paper products that was fairy tale like and that encouraged the viewer to imagine without limitation.
How long did it take to make the dress?
3 weeks. Lots of sewing and cutting!
You’re most known for your beautiful draping, but with origami and paper, that’s a bit more difficult; did that play a factor in your creation of this gown?
I love to drape, but I also love to construct and create architectural shapes and lines. The origami was the perfect skill to learn and apply on such a creative and artistic project, so that was an instant inspiration for me.
As you can see the skirt has over 20 flounces made entirely out of Papyrus paper collage. Each flounce alone took me one hour to make, from start to finish. The most challenging part of this process was sewing the skirt part of the gown. The paper is very delicate, and for those who know sewing, a machine usually doesn’t allow a lot of space to maneuver such a large garment. It was difficult to control and slide all the paper through the needle, but with a lot of patience and many hours later, the hard work paid off.
I enjoyed very much the freedom to try new ideas and not plan so much. It was a free flowing process that I think surprised me in the end result. I also enjoyed the fact that the Papyrus team trusted my creative intuition and gave me complete freedom to translate their products into my design.
Any fun behind-the-scenes anecdotes about the making of the dress or fitting Nadia into it?
Well many of the Papyrus cards and bags have an endless amount of glitter. Therefore by the end of every workday I would go home completely covered in glitter, as though I was at some type of rave or parade. My friends used to make fun of me. Nadia was a pleasure to work with. She is beautiful and made the fitting process so easy, not to mention how proudly she showcased the gown at the event!
On Project Runway, the judges praised you for your design for the challenge where you had to create a dress made out of candy wrappers. How was your approach to this dress different/did this remind you of that challenge in any way?
It certainly was some kind of ”déjà vu.” The best way to answer this question is it was like the Hershey’s challenge times 20! I think this gown is much more advanced and complicated than the design for the Hershey’s challenge.
Are there any other materials you haven’t worked with yet that you’d like to use?
I would like to work with vinyl and rubber.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I am working on a dreamy and angelic wedding gown for Papyrus also made out of their paper products. I am also designing dance costumes for the Helios Dance Theatre. Also I am designing wedding gowns for soon-to-be bride clients. My collection also.
Super constructed clothes.
If you could design a greeting card for Papyrus, what would it look like/say?
It would be an inspired design/sewing kit for those who love fashion.
Did you get a chance to enjoy any of the other festivities at FNO?
I had such a blast at the Papyrus event that I stayed there the whole time
[photo credit: Gina Blair]