Fashion has played a big role in human culture since ancient times. People have always enjoyed and paid great attention to their appearance and their clothes.
Today, in times of “fast fashion,” secondhand shops and large-scale producers of clothes for any taste or “social pedigree,” fashion is mainly considered a means of personal expression.
This notion can take fashion designers to a different level of thinking and creativity. They may choose to present their art to the public through extravagant and out-of-the-ordinary creations.
Among those designers who succeed to shock, yet attract, their audience is the French creator and designer Sylvie Facon who sews dresses and gowns from her custom-made fabrics.
The intricate details are not thoughtless embellishments of her creations — each piece tells a different story that makes Facon’s dresses real artworks.
According to Architecture and Design, one of the most impressive outfits by Facon was crafted from the spines of old books, a project made in collaboration with costume designer Morgane E. Grosdemang.
The fascinating “dress book” gave life to old books left forgotten on shelves. Its popularity was intense enough to be put on display in the La Grand Librairie in Arras, France and make a grand online tour with over 9,000 views.
The dress was posted by various fashion bloggers and influencers. As described by Actualitte, when Facon posted a photo on Facebook of her latest fashion achievement, she received over 700 shares and thousands of likes, as well as emails from all over France.
The book-gown became a real hit and it didn’t take long before many potential buyers, and even one bride-to-be in search of the perfect wedding dress, expressed their desire to own Facon’s wearable library.
Many may wonder what is the story behind Sylvie Facon’s talent and creativity. It may come as surprise to find out that 30 years ago she started out as a social worker who eventually discovered a passion for design.
She took her first steps in the fashion industry by learning the basics of the craft in a haute couture workshop and then carried on learning by herself.
In 2009, Facon decided to focus on creating unique dresses and gowns. Several personal projects have been included in fashion and art exhibitions, such as the exhibition of vintage dresses at the Arras Museum of Fine Arts, Roulez Carrosses, in 2012.
Regarding the process of creating, this French designer explains that it takes over 200 hours in total to combine the carefully chosen fabrics and lace with other elements and accessories.
It may seem like a lot of time but for Facon time is no limit when she wants to embody her creative dreams. She said for Actualitte that every time she comes across a new, beautiful material she feels like “a new door is opened.”
According to My Modern Met the book-gown, also known as “Hommage a Arras” (Homage to Arras), is an exquisite evening gown that pays tribute to the historic town in northern France.
The dress ensemble presents captivating illustrations combined with shimmering lace and pearls that provide an unusual, almost fictional view. Nevertheless, a second look on the gown reveals factual depictions of the town’s most notable landmarks.
The bust of the attire depicts the Baroque town square lined with Flemish-inspired architecture, while on the hips, one can notice the Medieval statues “Angels of Saudemont.” On the shoulder can be seen a representation of the sculpture known as the “Lion of Arras.”
Aside from the town’s landmarks, the dress contains numerous other appealing mini-features and details of Arras. The director of the Great Librare in Aras, Arnaud Derville, reported that Facon spent almost three years working on the project.
Derville himself was impressed by Facon’s idea and let her peek into the bookstore’s stash of old books which were later used for the making of the dress — though both the designer and the director later encountered criticism for their attempt because, as some argued, “they used real centuries-old literature”.
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“These are books that nobody wanted, not even booksellers, and they tend to deteriorate. At least they had a new life” said the director. Facon commented: “All the difficulty was to undress the books of their cover without damaging them and then apply them to a very fine corset.”