As a special tribute to iconic London store Harrod's, Social Butterflies campaign, Zoe Bradley was asked to create a store-wide moment that celebrates the British Summer Season at Harrods. The bespoke butterfly chandelier was unveiled in-store on 15th May as a central feature located within the entrance hall of the newly refurbished Door 5 escalator.
Bradley in the studio creating the initial design
This spectacular installation is one of Bradley's largest to date measuring 5m x 4m. Bradley was specially commissioned to design this spectacular installation made up of over 4,000 blue, laser-cut butterflies. The creation is a testament to Bradley's truly unique and intricate work.
"I wanted to make something bold and beautiful, but also quite clean-lined and modern. I knew I wanted to focus on the colour of the Blue Morpho Butterfly and create this floating sculpture after watching a YouTube film of an enormous swarm of Monarch butterflies migrating to Mexico. Millions of them were flying in synchronicity like they were performing a poetic dance – it was breath-taking."
The Harrods window at Door 5 where Bradley's chandelier hangs.
“I was thrilled to be asked,” “After all, Harrods is an iconic store and has a huge International audience. I started by visiting the space. When you enter door five at Hans Crescent, it is very impressive with a strong Art Deco feel to the hall. In effect, the space itself was a great starting point. It’s like an art gallery, but in a retail setting. I wanted the design of the chandelier to the Art Deco design of the space, but also bring a touch of modernity with the silhouette."
The original paper butterflies were design and hand painted by Bradley and then cut out or pleated into shape.
"The real challenge on this commission has been translating the piece from hand-sculpted paper to a fine plastic which is a new material for me. Also due to the scale of the piece at 5m x 3m and incorporating over 5000 butterflies, it needed to be made with a production company in London. This was certainly a departure for me, as, I usually work from design through to manufacture within my own design studio. On this occasion I was able to watch it's creation from cutting floor to final 3D sculpture. " says Bradley
"In the initial design stages it was important for me to capture the texture of the Butterfly wings using brush strokes applied onto an iridescent paper. I designed a series of hand painted metallic butterflies incorporating delicate folds and lace cut out designs into the wing shape to give depth and movement. This design was captured photographically and printed onto the plastic surface giving the impression of folds in the light and shadow of the print."
Above: Millington Associates Production team working in there studio on the production of the butterfly chandelier.
"My work is based upon repeat textiles the organic formation of the textile is important. There is a lot of attention to detail as the my sculptures are created by hand, which can require hundreds of man hours.
Photo credit: Melvyn Vincent
"My aim is for visitors and shoppers as to feel like they have been transported to a tropical place. To be pulled in by nature. The piece is huge, so it means you get to see if from all different angles as you move around the store. I wanted the shoppers to feel as though they’re being surrounded by butterflies.”
Bradley designed a special set of souvenir goods for Harrods including a Tote bag, note book and plastic drinking cup. These included the signature hand painted butterfly design by Zoe Bradley for this special commission which meant the public could take a little piece of the Social Butterflies campaign home with them!
Below: one of the two designs Zoe Bradley for Harrods Tote bags:
The Social Butterfly campaign is in store until 20th June. Harrods will be hosting a series of in-store events and special promotions during this period to highlight the store wide campaign. The limited edition Zoe Bradley + Harrods merchandise is available from the gift area and online at www.harrods.com.
Much like Charles Dicken's protagonist in his novel, A Christmas Carol, the big luxury department stores have focused on Christmas past, present and future, when they unveiled their all important windows, to an ever expectant audience this month.
Zoe Bradley's Christmas Window for Tiffany & Co 2009
It's the one time of year, that the bricks and mortar of retail can seize their chance of creating something truly magical to engage with the passing public.
Zoe Bradley's first Christmas Window for Liberty department store 2005
Despite the rising significance of digital touchpoints, where consumers are increasingly switched onto their mobile devices to purchase goods, brands continue to pour money and creativity into their elaborate Christmas windows. The stakes have never been higher.
It will certainly take more than a few switched on twinkly lights in the window to entice prospective shoppers over this festive season.
Christmas All Wrapped Up? Zoe Bradley installation for Lane Crawford Hong Kong for Christmas 2006
Christmas windows have become a popular attraction in London, with many people flocking to see the festive displays every year. Its a chance for stores to really turn on the theatre and create drama and storytelling. Consumers want to be taken on a journey, whether that's through nostalgia and sentiment or into the future with technology and wonderment. America has long held this tradition of making family outings to view the magic of the Holiday windows.
Windows at Christmas is all part of the bigger brand story. Brands need to show a sense of escapism and capture the spirit of Christmas. At the very least create a narrative. Tell a story. Take those customers into another world. It should encourage a smile, a sense of revelation. A sense of fun and childlike amusement. It is Christmas after all.
We take a look at those that have caught our attention and impressed with their creative dialogue, along with revisiting some of our own windows from Christmas past.
The Knightsbridge based department store created the drama of the Italian Renaissance for their Christmas window offering, even down to the marble effect front facade.
It captures all the drama we have come to expect from this store, along with lots of detail, props and styling. There are 100,000 glittering ice white balls that form into clouds, elaborate suspended chandeliers and over 90 hand made stars decorating the ceiling.
The windows feature a sizeable 1300 kg of paper, scrunched up to make props. Around 500 litres of paint was used for the marble-effect columns.
Janet Wardley, head of visual display at Harvey Nichols for the past 20 years, says “It has been an exciting challenge to transform the store’s facade with marbled panels inspired by the Italian Renaissance architecture to bring Italy to our UK and Ireland sites this year. “The use of lighting effects to create two different night and day displays highlights our iconic, playful and daring brand identity' offers Wardley.
Perhaps the worlds most iconic store, Harrods has teamed up with another very iconic British brand, Burberry for their window campaign, titled A Very British Fairy Tale, this wonderfully visual tale, tells the story of two children on an enchanting adventure through a snow-swept English country house.
The impressive display occupies the store’s 29 windows, complete with flying cars, floating bathtubs and secret passageways. What is very impressive in this partnership, is the clever mix of old fashioned story telling with state of the art technology, where the tale can be bought to life by the passing public.
Visitors can interact with a sensory window using a motion sensor, through which they can experiment with the lighting and music. This is when the adults become kids again. Who doesn't love playing with a new gadget at Christmas time?
Director of Creative Marketing at Harrods, Deborah Bee, told the Evening Standard last week,“Innovation is very important for our customers. We wanted the windows to be visually stimulating and adding a digital element allows visitors to engage with the installation in a more meaningful way.”
We couldn't agree more, and if that wasn't enough to engage all those SW1 Christmas shoppers, this genius collaboration have created a short animated film. As a paper artist, I was struck by how detailed and effective the paper characters and scenes looked. It wonderfully captures this fairytale through the imagination of the children.
Situated on one of London's prime retail sites, these windows offer up the cheeky side of Santa Claus. It's definitely party time for Santa in his full sequinned sparkly red suits. Having taken a two year sabbatical from the iconic Selfridges windows, he's back with a party bang and shows his irreverent side, mischiellously mixing with a host of penguins, poodles and polar bears, not to mention some 70's Disco divas.
Santa feature's in five windows along Oxford Street, where each set took over 100 hours to make and include 90 mirrored disco balls. It should be noted that no Polar Bears or Penguins were harmed in the making of these windows.
The store has also added a fun interactive feature for the estimated 100,000 passing public. A revolutionary speaker system which vibrates the window glass to produce unique soundtracks for the display behind. It really is the season to be jolly.
Selfridges Creative Director, Linda Hewson comments"We are very excited about our Christmas displays this year. We've been thinking of creatively expressing the idea of party and togetherness at the heart of the well-known phrase 'celebrating Christmas' for a while now.”
You could argue Liberty is retail's spiritual home of Christmas and perhaps looking to Christmas past, its fitting that the world famous Tudor building collaborated in an exclusive partnership with The Royal Ballet this season. Showcasing the enchanting story & well known ballet, The Nutcracker.
Carved wood ballerinas and toy soldiers stand proudly amongst the turning cogs of clocks and piles of presents in the Liberty windows.
Each of its windows is themed around a different scene from Drosselmeyer the magician’s magical kingdom to the Nutcracker’s battle with the Mouse King.
Liz Silvester, Head of Visual Identity at Liberty commented: “This year it was decided that music, dance and drama would be used to bring out the spirit and charm of an exciting and emotive Christmas time: The Nutcracker was the perfect choice!”
Across the pond in New York City, the story of Christmas is big business and is the most important time of year for the big named department stores.
The luxury retailer’s overall theme this year is "Land of 1000 Delights," which includes magical landscapes of colourful sweets and festive fashion. There is larger than life lollipops swirls, skyscraper size sticks of stripy rock, that will have the kids eyes and tongues pressed against the Fifth Avenue windows.
Saks Fifth Avenue also features six windows along Fifth Avenue titled, "The Nutcracker Sweet," where you'll find Clara and the Mouse King frolicking amongst a luscious playground filled with treats. The multicoloured ten-story tall light show, which the department store is most known for during the holidays, is not to be missed. It play's daily from 5 to11pm every ten minutes until 2nd January.
Nancy Hansell, senior strategist at branding firm Siegel+Gale, comments the importance of this time of year for department stores like this. "Window displays, and holiday windows in particular, are really effective in helping brands elevate themselves beyond a transactional experience and remind people of the wonders of shopping," she says.
If we are referencing the Dicken's Christmas Carol, then world famous store Bloomingdales have looked to the Christmas future with their collaboration. Teaming up with a group of young dynamic artist's in aid of The Child Mind Institute. These creative visual artists have produced one-of-a-kind chandeliers that are works of their artistic expression based on a word about “light", the stores holiday campaign theme.
These works of art will be auctioned off for charity as “Bloomingdale’s Lights Up A Young Mind”. In the spirit of giving, Abby Modell, Allison Eden, Susanne Bartsch, Inma Barrero, Sean Augustine March, Erika deVries, Jonan Meyer, George Kroenert and Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos gave much of their time and their passion to support these children and the Child Mind Institute.
Bloomingdale's operating VP of Visual Merchandising says "Holiday windows are a big part of Bloomingdale's heritage and an annual tradition for so many of our customers," he says. "Our goal is to create a unique holiday experience that is like no other store in the world."
We were certainly transported with the magical theme of 'Destination Extraordinary' with luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman. We can completely relate to this other world at Zoe Bradley, taking the viewer on a journey of discovery and getting lost in another world.
David Hoey, Senior Director of Visual Presentation, characterises the department store's displays as "delirious remakes of the classic dioramas seen in natural history museums."
He cites the work of Henri Rousseau and 12th-century Chinese water-colour mountainscapes as inspiration for the lush, larger-than-life windows, each of which depicts a unique destination.
A special highlight is the wonderful work of New York based paper artist Daniel Sean Murphy,creating the 10 foot pair of praying mantis.
Are you counting down to Black Friday and Cyber Monday? We know your inbox is filling up with discount codes and once in a lifetime offers, so we'll keep this brief.
We'd like to offer you FREE global shipping AND a 10% discount when you purchase one of Zoe Bradley's hand made paper Christmas Wreaths. Whether its for your own personal use at home, or to attract customers to your restaurant, shop, cafe or art gallery. These show stopping Waterproof paper wreaths are certain to attract attention.
This limited offer will start this Friday 25th November and will close at the end of Monday 28th November. This offer will run across the weekend to include Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th November, to give you some extra days to decide which one you'd like to impress your neighbours with.
We have our busy paper elves in our studio, cutting, scoring, folding and fixing these wonderful delicate paper wreaths that are all WATERPROOF, so they can be displayed on your outside or inside door. They really are that good, that you'll want to look at them as much as your neighbours and the postman!
It's all very simple. Select the wreath or wreaths that you most admire and add to the cart. Upon check out simply add the discount code Blackwreath into the discount box and proceed to final payment.
We've added FREE Global Shipping on all orders over £100, which covers everything.
Each wreath is made to order. If you have any questions please drop us an email at email@example.com and we'd be happy to help with your enquire.
To celebrate the launch of our new range of Hand Made Christmas Wreaths, we are offering an introductory 10% discount on all five designs.
To pre order your hand made Christmas Wreath now for this limited offer, select the design that you want from the shop www.zoebradleyshop.com
Enter wreath10 in the discount code on check out of the shop.
This offer starts today Friday 11th November and ends next Saturday 19th November.
These beautiful wreaths are all hand made and cut and crafted in our UK studio. They have been designed and created by celebrated Paper Artist Zoe Bradley.
These really are more than just your average Christmas wreath and look just as good hanging inside your home as outside on your door.
The wreaths have been made in a specialised plastic coated paper, so are totally showerproof and won't wilt and go soggy on bad weather days!
The gold paper has all the same qualities as the rich luxurious iridescent papers we use for our boxed roses and lots our big special project installation work. Yet it also has the same plastic coated treatment as the white paper, making it waterproof and weather resistant for use outside.
We're pretty certain decorating your door with a hand crafted paper wreath this season will certainly get the neighbours the talking.
We look forward to receiving your order and we wish you happy shopping from all of us at Zoe Bradley Design.
Fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones will have a chance to visit an art gallery next week filled with a huge range of artwork inspired by the award winning programme. We are delighted that celebrated paper artist Zoe Bradley has been asked to take part in this exciting Pop Up exhibition in East London. Celebrating the release of Season 6 available now on Digital download and releasing on Blue-Ray & DVD on 14th November, Game of Thrones, fans will get the opportunity to see original pieces of work and inspirational pieces from the characters to never seen before storyboards, along with an exclusive look at costume sketches and other behind the scenes material.
Kit Harrington's character Jon Snow returns to Season 6
A number of ambitious and innovative creations inspired by the characters and themes of the TV show will be on display in the Game of Thrones Art Gallery at 135 Bethnal Green Road in London’s Shoreditch from Thursday 10th – Sunday 13th November.
Costume Designers from GoT from Season 1 - 5 from L: Michele Clapton & Michele Carragher. Photo: Perry Ogden
The exhibition will also feature never before seen sketches from the shows creators, including original storyboards from the series story boarder William Simpson and costume sketches and jewellery by Michelle Clapton, including the MEY for Game of Thrones
Installations and artwork will feature a variety of materials including wood, paper, embroidery, chain mail and mosaic tiles to large-scale prints from illustrators, painters and graphic designers.
The Red Rose Corset made entirely from paper
Zoe Bradley has chosen to exhibit her Red Rose corset, first commissioned by Sotheby’s London earlier this year, as an inspired piece of costume from Game of Thrones Season 4 and in particular the Purple Wedding. The blood red rose corset (part of a much bigger dress) is a tribute to Natalie Dormer’s character Margaery Tyrell, in which the rose is used to represent the House of Tyrell.
The detailed hand rolled Rose train of Margaery Tyrell Wedding Dress
The Red rose paper corset, adorned with red Swarovski crystals is an exaggerated silhouette to create more drama and theatre than Margaery’s actual wedding dress. However the detail of the hand rolled Briar Roses that crept around her dress in the Lion and the Rose episode in Season 4 is full of dark symbolism.
The Red Rose & ruffle dress as it first appeared on show at Sotheby's
Zoe Bradley’s creation echoes this symbolism with the red blood paper roses, marking the imminent bloody death of Margaery’s husband King Joffrey.
The variety of work on display from talented UK artist will ensure this is a must visit exhibition by any Game of Thrones fan or general art enthusiast.
A Fan Art competition that ran on the HBO UK website invited fans of the show to awaken their artistic flair and ten talented winners were chosen by Issac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark in the show) and these will be displayed alongside the working artist creations.
Winter is Coming: Bran Stark played by actor Issac Hempstead Wright elected some art pieces that will be on show at the Pop Up exhibition
'Fashion can create a dream, create fantasy. Its a kind of theatre'. says American Vogue Editor in Chief Anna Wintour and we couldn't agree more with her. British paper artist and former fashion designer Zoe Bradley has created a large scale piece of theatre with her most recent commission the Red Rose Dress. Asked by prestige shopping centre, Chatswood Chase in Sydney to create a special piece of paper art that reflected the new season of Spring fashion collections, Zoe and her team got to work on designing and making the bespoke paper gown back in August.
It's not the first time of course that Bradley has created something so spectacular and theatrical. Previous couture style creations have been installed both in Sotheby's London and Chelsea Design Centre, London. What always surprises the people that come to view these applied art pieces is the fact they are made entirely from paper. A material Bradley has built her name and brand on over the last decade, since leaving the house of the late great designer, Alexander McQueen, where creating wearable art with unconventional materials was seen as ground breaking.
The dress was designed in the UK and the metal framework that supports the 3 metre high and 4 metre long dress was manufactured in Sydney under Zoe Bradley's design and specifications. 'My aim was to create a modern topiary like floral gown created entirely from red roses' comments Bradley.
Decorated with 392 individual rose's and with over 12,000 petals individually hand curled, it took Zoe and her team over 100 hours of work both in the UK and Sydney to produce the breathtaking gown.
John Klein, Marketing Manager for Chatswood Chase, comments 'Our customers are absolutely loving it'. The Red Rose dress will be on display until the 30th November.
The entrance to British House with Zoe Bradley's paper chandelier greeted Team GB & guest's.
After Team GB's most successful Olympic Games to date, we reflect on the last incredible 16 days in Rio and like a ripple effect, the feel good factor its left in its wake, that will inspire a whole new generation of sporting talent. Team GB won medals in 19 events, more than they achieved in London four years ago. Since last weekend British athletes have appeared unstoppable in their quest to attain or in many cases retain Olympic medals. It has been an incredible sporting event to witness and we have been honoured to have had a piece of Zoe Bradley paper art hanging within the beautifully transformed space of British House.
A view from underneath the Zoe Bradley chandelier at British House
Olympic Canoe Slalom Gold medallist Joe Clarke.
The old colonial style architecture of the building set within Rio's Botanical Gardens in Parque Lage could not have been better placed. In the shadow of the iconic and monumental Christ the Redeemer it has been Team GB's hospitality residence during the Games. We couldn't have possible predicted before these Games in Rio that so many British athletes would be collecting such an impressive medal haul and having their photo taken in front of our paper floral chandelier.
Olympic Gold medallist's Katie Archibald & Elinor Barker for Team Pursuit Cycling
It was the very impressive and decorative doomed entrance that the hundreds of paper floral garlands hung from a circular structure. Made up of three rings, that decreased in size, rather than the more symbolic interlocking five rings, the colourful iridescent paper was illuminated both day and night, welcoming Team GB athletes their families and guest's into a home from home environment where they could relax and share their success and most importantly switch off from the pressures of competing within the Olympic Park or other competing venues.
Olympic Medallist's David Florence & Richard Hounslow won Silver in the Men's double Canoe Slalom
A delighted Bryony Page jumps for joy after winning a Silver medal in Trampolining
Perhaps now the very late nights of the past fortnight have been put to rest and the many dark circles that hung less graciously than the Olympic flag from our eyes have started to lift, we can truly appreciate what coming second on the medal board, ahead of vast nations such as China and Russia means to our small but great nation.
We hoped by adding the colour gold into the paper floral garlands that it would offer some incentive and inspiration to our athletes. Little did we know when it was hung in place 2 weeks ago, just how symbolic the gold would become and how dominant the colour would be for our most inspiringTeam GB yet.
Golden Olympians: Team GB success in the rowing both in the Men's Fours and the women's pairs. From Left to Right: Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash, Helen Glover, Heather Stanning, Alex Gregson, Constantine Louloudis
It seems the chandelier that everyone has had to pass under into British House reflected some of its glory and colour, namely gold onto Team GB, bringing them Olympic success.
We are only into Day 5 at the Rio Olympic Games in Brazil and @TeamGB have edged ahead of their Olympic medal haul from London 2012. The sunny feel good factor emanating from Brazil is a welcome tonic to our dull British summer back home. Naturally the team at Zoe Bradley have another reason to be cheerful along with Team GB bringing back the medal hardware from Brazil, as we celebrate with them over at British House Rio, where the athletes and invited guests can take some much need time out and enjoy the historic house's temporary refit with comfortable furnishings from a host of British brands.
View from below the Zoe Bradley floral paper chandelier at the entrance to British House. Team GB's hospitality venue for Rio 2016. Photo Credit: Nina Pennick
In case you have missed it (our advice is to simply look up) on entering up from the steps to the impressive entrance, you are faced with a huge circular chandelier. Its bright, its cheerful and will hopefully only add to the warm celebratory glow of those fortunate enough to visit Team GB's British House.
Close up detail of the hundreds of hand curled paper petals that make up the cascading paper chandelier in Team GB's British House. Photo credit: Nina Pennick
We were delighted to take on this very special commission when Zoe Bradley was asked to design and create a chandelier that was 'colourful, inspiring, something that evoked a celebration'.
Zoe Bradley paper ring chandelier hanging in the entrance of British House, Parque Lage, Rio de Janerio Brazil.
We understand athletes and guest's have been impressed by the scale of the hundreds of drops of brightly coloured flowers. The hand curled paper flower heads, based on the local Bougainvillea plant, was created and made from our studio in Wales UK and exported to Rio.
Each day it gives us a smile and a sense of true patriotism as the coverage of @teamGB hard work and achievements get the rewards and recognition they all so deserve.
The colourful chandelier made up of hundreds of hand curled paper flowers hangs in the entrance to British House, Rio Brazil. Photo Credit: Nina Pennick
Realising this large scale hanging piece, required long hours, attention to detail, execution of finish and an impressive presentation. These same qualities reflect the dedication from our own talented athletes, yet it would be churlish to compare an athletes years of hard work and determination with our own efforts of raising the chandelier in British House. We however, are incredibly proud and privileged to be a part of this global sporting event in Rio and wish every athlete that has to walk under our chandelier that it gives each and every one an extra bit of luck and inspiration to go out and enjoy their Olympic experience.
Some weeks ago, Zoe Bradley Design studio was asked to design and create a paper sculpture for Team GB's hospitality venue in Rio de Janerio for the Olympic Games. Known as British House, the venue is to provide a relaxed sanctuary for Team GB and their VIP guest's away from the sporting venue's.
The exterior of British House. Home to Team GB during the Rio Olympics in Parque Lage.
It's not the sort of commission you get everyday, while at least not for every four years. Bradley set to work on designing a show stopping large floral chandelier to celebrate Team GB's new home in Rio. It was certainly a challenge! The studio had to cut and curl hundreds of flowers with less than 4 weeks until the structure had to be shipped from London to Rio.
The entrance to British House in Parque Lage situated opposite the iconic Christ the Redeemer.
‘I wanted to create a piece that celebrated the rich tropical colours that are synonymous with Brazil, and capture the exotic nature of the host country’s flowers.’ comments Bradley.
The design studio was poised to create something quite special. It required Bradley's renowned paper sculpting skills to produce a floral chandelier on an Olympic scale.
Artistic rendering of how the paper floral chandler will appear.
‘I wanted the floral chandelier to engulf the space and draw you into the building, which can be viewed from many angles. I want the athletes and guests to be inspired and uplifted as they walk through the entrance.’ says Bradley
Hundreds of paper flower garlands waiting to be hand curled.
The result was a dense cascading paper floral chandelier that will take pride of place in the entrance to the impressive Parque Lage building. Inspired by Rio's native Bougainvillea plant, the design has been created from over 2500 hand curled flowers in fuchsia pink, burnt orange, deep violet, lilac, and, of course, gold to symbolise the ultimate achievement. Hundreds of florals cascade down from three separate circular rings inside one another.The piece measures 2.5 metres in diameter and 2.8 metres in hanging length.
The final Zoe Bradley Paper Chandelier ready to be raised up
Zoe Bradley's work is aimed at bringing awareness to cultural events, and she believes that art can enhance environments in which we work and live. Bradley recognises 'This is a great opportunity to take a contemporary art installation outside the usual gallery walls. Hanging the chandelier at the entrance to Team GB British House I hope, will provide a warm and uplifting welcome to the athletes and invited guest's over the coming weeks.'
Paper Artist Zoe Bradley describes in her own words how her collaboration with auction house Sotheby’s produced some of her most memorable and challenging works to date. The recent success of this collaboration in London has meant that the Zoe Bradley pieces are likely to be shown in more of Sotheby's markets, including Paris, Milan, New York and Hong Kong throughout 2016
'Sotheby's contacted my studio as they were looking for a collaboration with an artist that could use the stark simplicity of paper to compliment the artistry of the Old Masters period. They wanted to bring awareness to their forthcoming Of Royal & Noble Descent exhibition and auction alongside a contemporary artist.
I met with Sotheby’s Old Master paintings specialist and magazine columnist Jonquil O’Reilly. A resident fashion historian and style ambassador. She inspired me with stories behind the paintings of the Old Masters and the traditions behind the garments and reasons for the styles of the fashion pieces. This proved a springboard for my own research. I began looking into paintings and costume books of etchings that documented the fashions of the time. I found the opulent wigs adorned with feathers, flowers, birds, and powdered with wheat flour stories fascinating. Visually these looked like works of art themselves! The enormous dresses with metres upon metres of the finest silks were tremendous fashion statements. Covered in ruffles, bows, fine lace work and jewels. We worked on scoring techniques with the papers to recreate the fine silks that were used in the court dress to emulate the luxurious nature of the fabric. A challenging but an exciting brief.
THE RED DRESS: EAST GALLERY This monumental dress is 6m in length and 2.5m in height. It consist's of over 6000 hand sculpted paper ruffles and was adorned with magenta Swarovski crystals along with individual hand crafted roses and ribbons. The symbolism of using red and the shear scale of the piece was created for its symbolism, relating to vast wealth in the 17th and 18th Century. Inspired by the Elizabethan period and the Spanish court dresses, the designs began with the Farthindales (the distinctive shape that goes underneath the dress) and commonly associated with the Tudor's and worked up to the plunging neckline of a corseted bodice complete with large puff sleeves. The paper ruffle textile was created by hand folding each ruffle and fixing into place to create a delicate shell like textile, that reflected the ornate dress style of the period. The metallic finished paper was chosen for it’s luminous silky quality.
SHOE: EAST GALLERY These gold shoe’s were based upon a Venetian shoe, from 1700. Often heels would be worn by men as well as women. A fine and expensive shoe always had red heels and soles - the dye was expensive and carried a martial overtone. This fashion soon spread overseas - Charles II of England Coronation portrait of 1661 features him wearing a pair of enormous red, French style heels - although he was over 6ft (1.85m) to begin with. It was also indicative of how the wearer of a red sole or heeled shoes was part of the elite inner court circle.
The texture of the chinese silk was recreated through scoring by hand a scratched line across the metallic card to emulate this fine surface texture. The carnation and blossom flowers and 3D scroll effect were brought to life through pressing textures into the paper to bring these details to life. Every part of the shoe was recreated in acute detail, plaited edging and rolled strips make up the carved paper heals. The paper shoes were finished with a row of clear cut crystals that were placed around a paper buckle. A truly detailed work of art, if only they could be worn!
CROWN: NORTH GALLERY This majestic sculpture was based upon Elizabeth I crown from the Tudor era. The crown is clad with over 3000 hand cut gold leaves and scored by hand 36,000 times. We finished this very fine detailed crown off by adorning it with Swarovski crystals and pearls. The detail in this piece really has to be seen to be believed.
NECK RUFF: NEW GALLERY With a diameter of 100cm, which allegedly was the largest size neck ruffs were ever made to, this was technically the most challenging piece . The 1580s saw the increasing use of lace in ruffs, it was a symbolic fashion accessory that showed wealth & status. The bigger and more frivolous these lacy wheels were the more ostentatious and vain the wearer appeared. We created a repeat laser-cut artwork inspired by Elizabeth I neck ruff, the finely cut details referred back to intricate lace designs of the Elizabethan era. We tried to emulate this detail through the laser cut design. The Ruff is created from over 30 metres of paper. The edges were finely cut to create opulence and delicate edging. Edges were historically kept crisp with straightening irons and we used the same method to give the paper a crisp finish.
WIG: WILSON GALLERY The 18th Century was the era of big hair for both men and women alike. Women's hair was piled up into towering mounds, helped by padding and hair pieces and added chignons and this was to be my approach in creating the paper wig. Building the strands of paper hair onto an exaggerated mould, I was then able to build up the wig using all the decorations synonymous with this period, from ornament feathered birds, clusters of roses and bows with jewelled centres. Flower chains held in place by Swarovski coloured pearls were placed either side while a plume of feathers jutted from the back of the wig into the air. The fine ringlets at the back of the wig were twisted and rolled around modern day curling tongs, but that's about where any similarity with today's hair preparation ended!
'Craftmanship combined with silhouette is the handwriting of Zoe Bradley.'
"My precious experience working with Alexander McQueen at such a seminal moment in his career, ignited in me a real love of craftsmanship and detail' says paper artist Zoe Bradley.
This really is where her career path took a left field turn. Instead of pursuing the normal route of ready to wear design, Bradley found a love and passion for creating extreme silhouettes in unusual materials. Working at McQueen's studio led Bradley into sourcing materials, such as wood, metal and raffia. Today, Bradley choice of material is paper. She has developed her techniques over the past 10 years in what she describes as "A truly unique hand sculpted product that celebrates the beautiful and natural forms found in nature."
The winged plywood corset designed by Alexander McQueen and created by Bradley for his no 13 show 1999
Ahead of this Friday's Talk at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Zoe Bradley will be discussing her journey from it's humble beginning to where she is today.
Fashion Editor and muse, Isabella Blow, championed Bradley's early work. Blow loved her final graduate collection. She made her stamp of approval by photographing it for the cover of the Sunday Times Style magazine.
Zoe Bradley's final Graduate Collection as featured in The Sunday Times Style by Isabella Blow
'I was drawn to the spectacle of the fashion show that bordered on performance art' says Bradley. She cites Hussein Chalayan, Comme des Garcon, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen as inspirational designers. Mavericks in their design field, who were the exception. Not content with just showing their collections up and down a runway, they pushed boundaries and created theatre. Bradley knew she HAD to work with McQueen, whose vision she admired, respected and above all felt emotionally inspired by.
After joining the team as an intern in 1997, Bradley was given the role of showpiece maker working exclusively on the more unusual commissioned pieces that were very often not from fabric. Working closely from his sketches and specialist craft makers she assisted in creating some of the most iconic pieces in fashion, most recently seen in the exhibition Savage Beauty at New York's Metropolitan Museum and more recently at the sell out show in London's V&A museum.
As Bradley will explain in this Friday's talk at the Royal Academy of Arts, these were defining moments in creating the spectacle and drama out of an everyday material. Paper.
The pleated paper dress designed and created by Zoe Bradley for Michiko Koschino show 2005. Photo courtesy of Ram Shergill
From pleated showpieces for Michiko Koschino to creating a magical christmas window for London store Liberty, Bradley's path was set to become a paper visionary designer offering a bit of magic into the world of retail.
Work in progress: Creating one of the paper headpieces for Liberty of London Christmas window 2005
Other commissions followed from Tiffany & Co, where Bradley designed and created 146 bespoke windows for their global christmas campaign. Inspired by Fairytales, the work resulted in a perfectly executed story book in a glass box.
One of the five Fairytale scenes, designed and created in paper by Zoe Bradley for Tiffany & Co Global window campaign for Christmas 2009
From International windows that span from New York to Berlin, London to Hong Kong, Bradley has worked on creating some magical sets for advertising campaigns and produced detailed paper works of art for some of the best and well known magazines in publishing. Her work has been exhibited in Amsterdam and London's Sotheby's and appeared in numerous books on paper art.
A pair of gold paper shoes created by Zoe Bradley with Swarovski crystals for Sotheby's London for their Royal & Noble Descent exhibition. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's.
The 6 metre long Red Ruffle paper dress. Designed and created by Zoe Bradley for Sotheby's Royal and Noble Descent exhibition and auction 2016
If you'd like to hear Zoe Bradley talk more in detail about her life in paper and how fashion and art have really had a lasting influence on her work, please secure your place for this Friday's insightful 'In Conversation with …'event at Royal Academy of Art. Places are limited and the event would normally be open only to Friends of the Academy, who this week have been celebrating with all kinds of inspiring events from Talks to Workshops. The Zoe Bradley Talk takes place this Friday 20th May from 7pm - 8.30pm.
The Floral paper chandelier designed and created by Bradley for Burlington Arcade 2015. Photo courtesy of Jamie McGregor Smith
You can confirm your attendance by sending an email to the link below stating its for the Zoe Bradley Talk this Friday.
Zoe Bradley was honoured to be asked by the Royal Academy of Arts in London to come and talk about her career in fashion and art for their Friends Week (Monday 16th May - Sunday 22nd May)
Above: Zoe Bradley at work in her studio.
A series of events will take place during Friends Week at the Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly. Zoe will be talking on Friday 20th May from 7pm - 8.30pm in the Sir Hugh Casson Room, The Keeper's House, Burlington House.
Above: Exterior shot of the front & courtyard of the RA.
Its a week of events dedicated to the loyal Friends of the RA and a great way to thank them for their continued support. It's also a chance for them to experience events, workshops, activities and tours from around the Academy and beyond.
Above: The white 'Cinderella' shoe by Zoe Bradley. Commissioned by Sotheby's for their Christmas window 2015 will be on show at the RA event.
Be inspired by a visit to the RA library, the oldest fine art library in the UK, with a significant collection of books. Get creative with RA practical workshops from floristry to photography with expert tutors, working in the industry.
Above: Friends will be able to access the stunning Library room at the RA.
Above: Work by Columbia Creative who will be conducting floristry workshops on Sunday 22nd May from 1.30pm.
Zoe's talk will focus on the link between fashion and art and how it has inspired and influenced many of her paper sculptures, from the couture style larger than life dresses, to the magical headpieces and her most recent work for Sotheby's which involved creating a pair of gold paper shoes and gold paper crown encrusted with Swarovski gems.
Above: The Gold Paper Crown by Zoe Bradley. Commissioned by Sotheby's London for the exhibition and auction of Royal & Noble Descent in January 2016. Adorned with Swarovski crystals and 3,000 hand cut leaves.
Above: The Gold paper shoes created by Zoe Bradley were based on an pair of men's original Venetian court shoes from 1700.
Above: The red ruffle paper dress created with 6,000 ruffles and red Swarovski crystals. On display here at Sotheby's for Royal & Descent auction in January 2016.
There are also talks from the worlds of film, music and poetry. Enthusiasts of fine food and wine can enjoy a selection of tastings that will evoke Italian excellence drawing inspiration form the Age of Giorgione.
Above: Floristry and Fashion - workshop with florist & illustrator Harriet Parry will be on 21st May 10.30am - 12.30am.
For creative professionals looking to connect with like minded Friends, the RA will be premiering a short series of breakfast talks, covering subjects from business incubation to creating your personal brand on line.
There really is something for everyone and as the RA celebrate a milestone of over 96,000 Friends, its sure to be a vibrant and busy week.
Above: One of the 'Ugly Sisters' created in paper by Bradley for Sotheby's London will be on display at the RA on Friday 20th May.
Above: Unpacking one of the 'Ugly Sisters' who will also be on display at the RA for Friends Week.
For more information on the vent programme for Friends Week please click on the link below: