Paper Chase

Artful fashion unfolds from careful tearing, creasing and cutting.

Photographer: Paige Peterson
Paper Clothing and Accessories: Molly Spain
Stylist: Courtney Conlin
Hair: Brianne Cummins
Makeup: Kelsi Ziemann
Styling Assistant: Meredith Brown

Models: Lexie Tapper, Nathan Boehmer, Michelle Nouchanthavong

“Paper has so many possibilities,” says artist Molly Spain. “Depending on how you fold it, it takes on a whole new life.” 

Indeed, a leftover roll of paper sitting idly in Spain’s Mainframe studio was transformed into the clothing and accessory creations featured in this story, the result of Spain and photographer Paige Peterson “bouncing ideas off each other,” Spain says. “When I said it could be fun to do something with paper clothing, Paige said, ‘Great idea; let’s do it!’ ”

Influenced and inspired by origami artists, Spain created many of the pieces by tearing or folding paper; the collar on the cover, for example, started as three long sheets of tissue paper that Spain then repeatedly folded.

“Once you fold paper, it takes on memory,” she explains. “At first, you force [the paper] to do what you want it to do, but after a while, it does it by itself. … It springs to life.” For some of the work, such as the hat on the opposite page, she used scissors.

The biggest challenge, she says, was “knowing when to stop. I uncovered so many possibilities, and it was such a playful process. I feel I barely scratched the surface of what could be done.”

Express Slim Fit Performance Pants.

Strappy camisole from Banana Republic.

J. Crew body suit.

David Learner pants from Blond Genius. 

H&M leather pants.

BCBG blazer from Dillard’s BCBG.

LACA USA black tank from Preservation; David Learner pants from Blond Genius.


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