Paper Artist Zoe Bradley Talks on How Fashion & Art Inspire her Work at Royal Academy of Art May 18, 2016 17:39

'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.

friends.events@royalacademy.org.uk

Places are STRICTLY limited.

There is also this link to our Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/events/176437826085716/