Paper Couturiers

For just one dollar and two Campbell’s Vegetable Soup can labels – Old-fashioned Vegetable, Vegetable Beef, Turkey Vegetable, you choose! –  the Campbell’s Soup Company would mail you this ‘smashing paper put-on’ dress in small, medium or large.

It is likely the most famous paper dress ever made. The Souper Dress was inspired by Andy Warhol, whose 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings had already been released to much debate in 1962. In 1966, Campbell’s decided to take advantage of the soup can art frenzy and release the paper dresses as an advertising campaign.

The Souper Dress Ad

The back of the dress read: ‘The Souper Dress/No Cleaning/ No Washing/ It’s carefree fire resistant unless washed or cleaned/To refreshen, press lightly with warm iron/80% Cellulose, 20% Cotton.’

Little could these Campbell’s customers imagine that, in 1995, one of the M’m M’m Good Dresses would be purchased for New York’s Met Museum, where it hangs today.

Since that time, paper dresses have featured in fashion displays, shows and challenges worldwide. Those who watch Project Runway will remember Unconventional Challenge winners like Irina Shabayeva and her newspaper coat in Season 6.

irina coatLifetime

Now, students from Langara College’s innovative Design Formation program have their Brown Paper Couture dresses on display at Oakridge Mall in Vancouver. Their brief was to recreate iconic haute couture dresses, using simple materials such as craft paper, coffee filters, cardboard, tape, string, tissue and thumbtacks.

A sampling..

Dress 1Brown Paper Couture Designer: Paige Buhr
Inspiration: Abed Mahfouz. Spring 2013


The Dress 2Brown Paper Couture Designer: Matthew Scott
Inspiration: Alexander McQueen. Spring 2008


The Dress 3Brown Paper Couture Designer: Arina Vorobeva
Inspiration: Vivienne Westwood. Summer 2012


Dress 4Brown Paper Couture Designer: Maryah Paul
Inspiration: The House of Chanel. Spring/Summer 1963


coat 1Brown Paper Couture Designer: Jean Mougeolle
Inspiration: Viktor & Rolf. 2003


dress 6Brown Paper Couture Designer:  Ramona Ramsay
Inspiration: Rami Kadi. Spring 2014


Dress 7Brown Paper Couture Designer: Breno Gaulter
Inspiration: Balmain. Spring/Summer 2016


Written by Elizabeth Newton





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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton