Friday, 8 May 2009

Paper jewellery - I feel like Fred Butler!

Two summers ago the V&A played host to a couture fashion exhibition from the sixties, and I promptly trotted down, both for dissertation research and of course personal interest. I have always been interested in sixties fashion and the social and literary influences surrounding it. Time magazine said in April 1966 that "In a decade dominated by youth, London has burst into bloom. It swings; it is the scene. This spring, as never before in modern times, London is switched on." To me London is still "the scene"; the city to look to for fashion innovation, and I guess that's why the sixties are both so important and so fascinating for me.
Although I had read all about them, whilst at that exhibition I saw my first paper dress. I was amazed at the vivid colours, the amazing patterns, and how thick the paper was! Paper dresses were a brief but spectacular Sixties sensation. They were cheap and disposable, and their simple 2-D shape was ideal for the bold graphic prints that were so fashionable. Some were produced as free gifts to promote paper products, and though prone to tearing and creasing, they were marketed as 'instant fun from London'.
What I hadn't heard of though was the paper jewellery that accompanyied these dresses and was popular in its own right. Of course I knew Fred Butler was making popular paper jewels right now, but I didn't realise it was something that had been happening for years!
But apparently by 1967 paper fashioning had become a full blown trend; Hallmark picked up on the trend and produced paper dresses with matching paper plates, gift wrap, napkins, placemats and other party paraphernalia for a complete party theme! Then along came paper jewellery, paper mache shoes and even paper dog clothes!!

Yesterday, tired of reading magazines and in need of more bread to go with my sickness soup, I had to (shock horror!) leave the house. Whilst out I happened upon an amazing book in poundland (of all places!) for just a pound; The paper jewellery collection; easy to wear and ready to make pop out artwear. It comes complete with all the metal findings and instructions and, as well as being interesting from a socio-historic point of view, taking away the status attached to wearing jewellery, it also seemed like a lot of fun! It's such a lovely book that I was tempted not to make the jewellery up and preserve it, however my desire to see how it would look got the better of me. Here are the results of my labours (no face shots of course, I currently frighten small children!):
I'm not sure about the eighties style necklaces and the bracelets feel like they'd break the minute I flexed my arm, but I am really pleased with the earrings and you can also make the matching brooches and hatpins which look great and which I can't wait to soon as i've had another little nap!
I hope you all have a great weekend!
Love, Tor xx


Wanderlusting said...

Great post - paper jewelry sounds super cool. I think earrings would be most practical of all (knowing me I would start doing dishes with the bracelet on!)

x0x0 Lusty

Wanderlusting said...
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