How much for that paper in the window?

Masterful window displays at Clotheshorse Anonymous fool even the savviest Dallas shoppers

Masterful window displays at Clotheshorse Anonymous fool even the savviest Dallas shoppers

Balenciaga at Clotheshorse
The bodice of the Balenciaga bridal gown is made from yarn wrapped around wire.  Photo by Julie Hogg
Balenciaga at Clotheshorse
Designer Celesta Segerstrom makes the gowns from gossamer, paper and other materials.  Photo by Julie Hogg
Balenciaga at Clotheshorse
Each of these Balenciaga-inspired gowns took about 30 hours to create.  Photo by Julie Hogg
Balenciaga at Clotheshorse
Balenciaga at Clotheshorse
Balenciaga at Clotheshorse

Have you seen the couture dresses in the windows at Clotheshorse Anonymous? Did you know they are actually made from paper? (If you thought they were real, no worries. We were fooled too.)

We decided to get to the bottom of this very clever ruse, to learn more about the genesis of these magnificent window displays and the design culprit responsible for the trompe l'oeil.

"Celesta Segerstrom and I met three years ago in the waiting room of a garage, while both getting our tires change," says Julie Hogg, who works in advertising at the consignment store. "We started talking about our businesses. At the time, Clotheshorse had just moved to a new location [at Preston Road and Forest Lane] with major power windows. We came up with the idea of mixing fashion and art through paper."  

Segerstrom went to design school in California and worked as a television art director and, later, as an advertising director here in Dallas. "I also did freelance illustrations for album covers. I had a very varied career," Segerstrom says. 

It wasn't until fate (or flat tires) brought Segerstrom and Hogg together that Segerstrom began her career as a paper sculptor. "I did the first set of windows for Clotheshorse in 2009. I made silvery tops and recovered mannequins in fabric just in time for Christmas," she says. "I had to come up with something that said 'high-end-couture' and symbolized real clothing. As a result, I began doing paper sculptures for a lot of other people." 

In addition to the windows at Clotheshorse, Segerstrom co-designed the Christmas windows for Neiman Marcus Downtown in 2009 and, more recently, created the black and white penguins for Stanley Korshak for this past holiday season.

"Valentino, Gucci, Chanel, Gaultier and YSL have all graced our windows," Hogg says. And when Diana Vreeland's The Eye Has To Travel premiered during the Dallas International Film Festival last year, Segerstrom designed the windows as an homage to the editor's days at Vogue and Harper's Bazaar

Where does the master designer begin? "There are certain things I look for in the design to make the dresses," she says. "Many times it's the pattern in the fabric and the texture that makes the display so interesting."

The latest displays reflect the designs of Balenciaga and the fashion house's newest creative director, Alexander Wang. "I did them all in white and made the background look Spanish," Segerstrom says.

Her usual routine begins with finding pictures of dresses or key pieces that she and Hogg both like. And then she starts dumpster diving and visiting Home Depot for unique materials.

"I say I'm a paper sculptor, but this kind of work forces me to use other materials, to make it look like fabric," Segerstrom says. She used gossamer for the hooded dress; gossamer for the bridal gown with wire and yarn for the bodice; and, for the lace-top dress, lace-like floral paper to replicate the kind of lace Jason Wu uses. Each dress in the Balenciaga window display took about 30 hours to create.

Segerstrom admits she loves fooling window shoppers, and she says seeing a dismantled window display makes her feel like she has succeeded, "because people keep touching it." For her Chanel display, Segerstrom used shelf liner to make the iconic quilted purse.

"There was a customer that did not believe it was not real," she says. "She finally ripped the purse open because she just wouldn't let it go. I really succeeded with that one."

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The Balenciaga-inspired gowns will be on display at Clotheshorse Anonymous through mid-summer.