Trained as a painter and fashion illustrator, Eloise Corr Danch took a professional detour and found success with her exuberant paper flowers
In 2001, art student Eloise Corr Danch put herself through the exercise of making a five-year plan, in which she aimed to have her fashion illustrations appear in Nylon and W magazines. This year, only slightly behind schedule, she will have achieved her goals, but not for her intended profession. W magazine recently featured a fashion spread of models posing with large paper flowers, designed and created by Eloise Corr Danch. A fortuitous detour took her into the realm of paper sculpture, for which she is receiving national attention and lavish praise from, ironically, the fashion press.
Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Eloise was encouraged to pursue whatever artistic impulses caught her fancy. “I grew up in a creative family,” she says. “My dad does carpentry work; Mom is a free spirit, a photographer. Art was encouraged. In the summers, I took painting classes.” She went on to get a B.F.A. from the University of Montana-Missoula and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, all the while focusing on painting and illustration. She got her Master of Arts in Illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2007 and soon began working with fashion lines like Ruffian and the store Anthropologie.
For the latter’s flagship in Rockefeller Center, she created a frothy, life-sized paper dress named “Lady Dulcinea,” which caught the attention of magazines including TimeOut New York and Real Simple. Macy’s window design director saw it and contacted her to ask whether she’d ever tried making paper flowers. Like any ambitious young artist, she leapt at the challenge. For their 2009 Flower Show, Eloise fashioned 2,500 paper flowers into garlands and headdresses to festoon the Herald Square windows. “The Macy’s project definitely changed my life,” she says. The swirling strands of colorful, abstract flowers were a hit and earned her an invitation to appear on Martha Stewart’s television show, where she taught the home diva how to assemble the blooms.