Geographical dresses by Elisabeth Lecourt

Left: dress “La Souris et son Baluchon”, map of New York. Right: dress “L’Aventure Peter Pan”, Voyage of Sir Francis Drake. Cartagena Columbia map rep. 1585. Photo © elisabethlecourt.com

French artist Elisabeth Lecourt who currently lives and works in London transforms antique maps into dresses. Unfortunately, you can’t wear for now them but see these contemporary art pieces at the galleries and art fairs.

How did you start making geographical dresses?
– I was making portraits of people with paper clothes, like if the clothes were a print of the inside of the body, where the feelings were coming out on the garments. I made my self portrait using muslin and paper, it was a 2 meter dress with all the worries I had at the time written down with words and drawings. Then I came across a story on the Newspaper about a man who was going to prison, he was a Londoner and he had a six year old little girl so I decided to make her portrait, her dress, folding a map of London that my cousin left behind and I put the prison Wormwood Scrub where the heart is on the bodice of the dress. That was my first ever dress with maps.

Almost all geographical dresses have a childish style. How do you choose the design for the dress?
– The designs are usually little classic dresses, designed for a girl who wants to be seen as a good girl would like to wear, immaculate and polite, It emphasizes the power of parents and the pressure on the child to reach perfection, her way to be loved. Of course this is relevant to my own childhood!

Is it difficult to work with the paper?
– Paper is seen fragile but it is very strong, I don’t find difficult to work with it, paper is my ally, we are working together. I think it is similar to the making of the sculpture, there is a building aspect of it.

Do you have dresses with the map of Russia?
– I went to Saint Petersburg in the winter of 1996. I loved every moments I’ve spend there, it was during an Erasmus exchange. I remember thinking that everything was alive, the trees, the sky, the Hermitage, but especially the people. It was like I was Sleeping Beauty waking up from a too long sleep, the snow was everywhere, the spirit, the strength, the joy and hardship of the people, their stories, the way they were living their life was magical to me and I very often think of that trip, like if it was one of my favorite book, which indeed, shaped my life.

Would you like to collaborate with any fashion brand to make your map dresses real?
– I would love to work with Hussein Chalayan who inspired me with his Envelop dress, I love his ideas and his vision.

Do you like to wear dresses?
– I love dresses. I just bought a long vintage dress from Afghanistan, the fabric is amazingly soft, it has two fabulous blue buttons on the back and embroideries on the front, I love the details and you can tell it was made with love. I also like to imagine the woman who made it and who worn it, it looks like a happy and a lucky dress to me.


Subscribe to newsletter:

Photo: Timur Artamonov for Elle-Russia

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial