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"Clothes fascinate...clothes speak. What they say is direct and subtle, convoluted , equivocal. The messages they give out are often more complex than the individual wearer consciously intends or intended... [especially] when an attempt is made to hear messages across the generations, messages significantly more resonant than they were in their own time...In the long-run all wearers of clothes are dead. Most clothes have an even shorter life. They get altered, cut up, or cut down, re-accessorised, re-jigged to suit new fashion, given a new lease of life...they eventually wear out, and are cast off, becoming rags, some of which, traditionally, were re-cycled into paper, the paper on which the conventional sources for the historians are inscribed. "

-The Guide to Historic Costume - Karen Baclawski

This blog deals with surviving clothes, items that indeed speak to us and which have helped inspire the garments made from paper by 

The House of Embroidered Paper

The Hidden Wardrobe is a digital wardrobe, of historical garments, held in private collections and museum stores. It is created, in part, as a research project but also partly as a visual reference point (in the manner of a note book) for her own work, by the artist Stephanie Smart Some posts include observation and historical detail, from whatever is known about the item shown. But in some posts the images are left to speak for themselves, as Stephanie has taken ideas from them and gone off to design and make her own paper versions! 

Thank you to all the venues involved.

"Clothes made of fabric have warp and weft threads of silk, cotton, linen or wool woven through them. 

I believe that as soon as they are worn they also have, running them, threads of their owner's life story."

- Stephanie Smart -


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