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Edge Zone

World Arts Building

2214 N Miami Avenue,

Miami, FL




Show V:  The Fashion of Paper 

by Stephen R Lang

You know those days, even though they tell you, “Be careful…it’s a full moon!" you still find some craziness that blows your mind?  Thursday, March 16, 2006 was one of those days.  It started out normal [blasé] work, dealing with customers, dealing with coworkers, lunch, then—just as I’m throwing out my garbage, a gift from the fun Gods came to me.  There, on top of the garbage can was something so strange, so unique, something that actually made me late coming back from work—let alone semi-unproductive the rest of the day.  There before me was this week’s City Link and was left open to the Art Listings page, and there, in black and white, was one of the strangest pictures I’ve seen.  It looked like Glenda the Good Witch from “Wicked” with Rapunzel-esque hair…all in white—stark white.  Headline went:  “Paper cachet.  Designers from around the world present Show V:  The Fashion of Paper” and then gave times and address.  Well, as it turns out, it was tonight!  So I scoured the rest of the page and found out that it was “…a fashion show of 15 dresses made entirely from paper, created by designers to represent diverse countries, from Australia to Madagascar, and Poland to Tibet.” 

So, now I know what I have to do, but how do I get there, not get lost, and have fun?  Whom do I invite?  Just then, the Gods of Fate & Fun smiled on me…my ex-roommate CoriLyn called and had no plans for the night.  Best part, she used to live in Miami!  She knew pretty much where it was, but, with the help of a coworker Senufa, pinpointed where it was to be.  I was drooling. 

As we got into the Edge Zone at the World Arts building on North Miami Avenue, I had no idea what to expect.  Would they be on models or mannequins?  Is it a fashion show or an exhibit?  Well, let’s say, judging solely on the parking situation [bleak]—that should have been an indication.  Everyone, and when I say everyone and their mother showed up, they did.  We could barely get through the door, the auditorium was beyond standing room only, but we managed to squeeze in and stake a spot and enjoy the show.   

The show was an AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) event that actually made me feel like I was watching a Project Runway fashion show.  It was creative, ingenious, and mind-blowing. The show was phenomenal, and the music they chose to walk the runway in matched the theme of the country it was to represent.  I have no idea that paper- simple paper, could be manipulated into such designs.  Through the textures, colors, and stitching, these designers amazed and touched every soul in that theater, so much so that I did not want to blink.        

There were 15 designs displayed, each one represented something unique about their country.   Represented were:  Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, The Bahamian Junkanoo festival, Bolivia’s Carnival, Cameroon’s Africans tribes, Fiji’s exotic florals, Iceland’s Viking folklore, Jordan was a moving mosaic, Madagascar’s rare flowers, Philippino traditions, a Polka dress, Saudi Arabian belly dancer, Tibetan icon, Uraguanian tango dress, an American 1920’s Flapper dress, and finally, the world represented with a futuristic vision of Metallics.  One right after another, each more intricate and unique, making CoriLyn and I proclaim, “That’s my favorite!” 


Country:  Australia

Designer:  Blanquier

The Great Barrier Reef and Sydney’s Opera House

Model:  Astrid Montgomery

Paper:  Topkote 

This dress represents the fun and carefree spirit of Australia.  I did not realize, being so far back, that the top was supposed to be The Great Barrier Reef—until I got home and worked on the pictures.  Amazing and intricate, yet showstopper with the spikes on her head.


Country:  Fiji

Designer:  Designer’s Edge FAU

The carnival in the Oriental and tropical side of Bolivia

Model:  Candice White

Paper:  Neenah Colums 

This dress looked like it was carnival.  The designers of this piece not only constructed it with pinpoint accuracy but the birds on the ropes gave movement like it was the parade.




Country:  Philippines

Designer:  Our Secret Agency

The Nouveau Pinoy.  Reinvent the traditional into ‘hip & chic’

Model:  Elizabeth Borrelli

Paper:  Gilbert Esse



It is hard to imagine how they got the paper to look like that, but I guess, it’s their secret [ha ha ha].  This, along with some others, looked two ways;  very wearable—almost like fabric, and on the other hand, like one deep breath and it would snap.  But I loved the way that they danced on the line quite elegantly with this piece.

Country:  Poland

Designer:  Sarah Ballard NWSA

Traditional Polish Polka dance garment

Model:  Melanie Grace Ryan

Paper:  Monadnock 

The ruffles on this dress actually flared out so beautifully that that it did its job, to make the top part almost horizontal.  It also gave the dress bounce, an almost whimsy feel.  I wonder what they did to make the corset top; I could swear that it was molded to Melanie.

Country:  Saudi Arabia

Designer:  BCC Anchor Point

Belly Dancing Costume with jewelry accents

Model:  Linh Nguyen

Paper:  Gilbert Gilclear


This article was given life by Linh.  She did not only just model the garment, but she gave a show—almost making the bottom tendrils look and act like dancing snakes. 



Country:  Tibet 

Designer:  Saybel Guzman NWSA

Beauty is the detail

Model:  Sonali Echevarria

Paper:  Domtar Feltweave 

From the time that Sonali came out from the curtains until she left, she walked with the graceness of a true Tibetan shaman—almost like she was on a conveyer belt.  The highlight being when she turned her head one-third, exposing a similar facemask, then another third—exposing the third mask.  Mind blowing! 

Country:  Uruguay

Designer:  Julie Rogge AiMIU

A Tango dress that drives Uruguay’s passions

Model:  Karen Denisse Soto

Paper:  Starliner MacTac Label 

The only thing that looked like paper on this dress would be the feathers on the bottom.  The look was achieved, even down to the bra, feathers in hair and necklace.  Not one detail was left uncared-for and had a pliability that could be actually be worn out in public!


Country:  USA

Designer:  Luis Ortega

Playful evening dress in 1920’s style

Model:  Jacky Skelton

Paper:  Porcelain Ultra Silk


This article was fun and carefree in the same style as the 1920’s.    I could see it hanging in a museum, with other memorabilia of that time. The boa was unique and, after seeing this, probably won’t look at the document shredder the same way!



Country:  World

Designer:  Laser Advertising

A Futuristic vision in metallics

Model:  Michelle Hoogveled

Paper:  Unisource Mix 

It is hard to fathom that this entire dress is paper.  There is enough sequin-esque material here that would make a Drag Queen gag…literally!  The fan attached to the corset reaching to her head looks like a deck of cards fanned out and strips bouncing down look like silver film rolls.  Can we say The Hottest Oscar Dress?!?!




Country:  Bahamas 

Designer:  Nathalie Mezard NWSA

Energetic rthymic Bahamian Junkanoo Festival

Model:  Patricia Rouzard

Paper:  Domtar Solutions



Country:  Fiji

Designer:  Sebastian Aristizabal

The exotic flora and fauna of Fiji, seen in art

Model:  Natalie Sannemalm

Paper:  Corniche



Country:  Cameroon

Designer:  Nathalie Calvin

Spirit and culture of African tribes in Cameroon

Model:  Maleka Bell

Paper:  Weyerhaeuser-Cougar


[Opening picture, with wings on head]

Country:  Iceland 

Designer:  Raymond Gems & Mariella Adrian

Beautiful land and the nostalgia of Viking folklore

Model:   Bianca Castro

Paper:  Unisource Coated

[Not pictured]

Country:  Jordan

Designer:  Four Diaz Vargas

The old and the new expressed in a moving mosaic

Model:  Sofia

Paper:  Smark Kromekote Candy 

Country:  Madagascar

Designer:  Julian Ochoa

Nouveau Pinoy.  Reinvent the traditional into ‘hip & chic’

Model:  Elizabeth Borrelli

Paper:  Gilbert Esse