Matthew Brodie’s dresses for the March 2011 issue of Madame Magazine features dresses made out of a very interesting medium..paper! These pieces truly bring out the extravagant and vibrant qualities of such a plain material. The dresses are not only breathtaking but flawless, representing creativity and thinking that’s outside-of-the-box. Rather than using paper in a boring way, Brodie worked with a team to create something unique, unexpected and different.
“We really wanted to create something beautiful from a material that doesn't normally lend itself to being draped and shaped on a living being,” he says, “it had to be apparent that it was paper, but not because it looked like shit.”
The photo shoot is absolutely stunning, showing a great fusion of skills. While the dresses leave viewers absolutely speechless, credit must also be given to the rest of the team. The set design is clever and playful, while all the styling makes for a near-perfect execution.
My favorite piece is the pencil shredder dress. Don’t you love how the dress extends into a giant pencil sharpener? Such whimsical design makes this editorial almost doll-like and unreal!
We were lucky enough to get in touch with photographer Matthew Brodie to ask him a few more questions about this shoot. Read that interview, below.
Your Madame Paper Dresses set is incredibly creative. How did you come up with the idea for it?
I worked on this project with Hattie Newman who works extensively in paper, and in all we batted 6 paper ideas around and submitted them to Madame Germany who I work with a lot. They came back saying they liked our idea of paper dresses.
I have done a little dressmaking in the past, and Hattie is a genius with paper but we knew it was going to be a huge learning curve for us both. We began by thinking of all the properties of paper, what you could do with it – fold, crease, burn, tear it, thick, thin, shiny, matte etc. and from there we broke it down into eight dresses and sketched ideas for each. I’m quite methodical in my work, Hattie is much more organic but it’s a mix that works well. We began making prototypes, most of which failed or were just going to be so mammoth a task we would never have time. On day five, after a long week hitting the wall, we sat eating tea and cake, looking at our creations and the idea of stationary dawned on us.
You say the shoot was the “most fun, and most challenging to date.” Why was it so challenging and how did you get through it?
The biggest challenge was arriving at the idea, seconded by the execution of it. We just ploughed our way through it, you get brain freeze and you just have to keep writing and drawing and making stuff to arrive at the good stuff. The fun is in the reward, the high when it comes together, and the silly outfits you wear around the studio to make each other laugh.
Who are some other fashion designers that you are inspired by?
The idea stemmed in part from a Jum Nakao dress I had seen that looked like a child’s playpen with strips hanging from a hoop. I’m a big fan of couture, I’m always impressed by Givenchy and I really love designers such as Gareth Pugh and Hussain Chalayan who push it beyond, yet manage to do it beautifully.
What’s next for you?
I’d like to shoot some moving image next year, there’s more opportunity with narrative. Stills-wise, I have a few more playful ideas I’m toying with.