Well, did you survive the Thanksgiving-Black Friday-Cyber Monday-holiday? There's no escaping the fact that it's official: the Holidays Are Here. *dramatic music* But that doesn't mean you have to go into a hyper-holiday festive fit. How about giving yourself (and maybe a friend) a nice afternoon at the museum, looking at beautiful gowns, and zero pressure to shop, since... well, it's art, you just enjoy it. 

I was very pleased to attend the opening gala for Bellevue Arts Museum's newest exhibit, A World of Paper, a World of Fashion: Isabelle de Borchgrave Meets Mariano Fortuny. Quite a mouthful of an exhibit title, but to put it simply, it's the very unique, very gorgeous work of Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave and her ability to interpret European period costumes through the medium of paper. She uses paintings and period photographs as reference to inspire one of a kind fashions of a particular era. She'll work the paper with her hands, crumpling, pleating, braiding and painting the surface so that it resembles woven textiles. You'd swear her dresses are made of layered silks or heavy, embroidered material, but it's all paper, and it's beyond exquisite. The exhibit is on display from now until February 16th of 2014. Make it a point to visit BAM and admire these pieces, the detail and craftsmanship is mind-boggling. 

Something to consider, since it's the holidays, is gifting a museum membership -- whether it's to BAM or any favorite local museum. It's a nice perk to be invited to preview parties like this -- I really loved all the special things they did for this event, like having models walking around in beautiful, fun paper dresses. There was one gown made of coffee filters! And they even had the Fashion Police, handing out citations or awards. Don't worry, this Birdy received an award -- best use of patterns. Winning. I know I'll be visiting this exhibit many times, so with a BAM membership, it makes it easy to slip away for an hour and just enjoy the peace of a museum after a hectic day. That's a gift that keeps on giving, believe me.  

Jaunty Fine Print: Photography by Denise Sakaki

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