Papyrus Partnered With a Designer at Fashion Week to Create a Beautiful, Immersive Runway Experience

The brand added some extra flair to Adam Selman's show

Papyrus is all over New York Fashion Week this year. Getty Images
Headshot of Katie Richards

Beautifully crafted greeting cards at a fashion event makes sense, but a greeting card brand partnering with a designer? That’s something you don’t see every day.

At this year’s New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Papyrus, an American Greetings brand, partnered with fashion designer Adam Selman (known for his work with denim) to bring his newest collection to life. The duo tapped artist Daniel Sean Murphy to create an immersive set design that paired perfectly with Selman’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection.

Murphy, Selman and Papyrus used a striking blue paper to create the entire set for the show, which took place Thursday evening. They used the paper to make big beautiful blue flowers, patches of grass and 100 Papyrus hummingbirds that were scattered throughout the venue. The grass and floral motif in the set design was inspired by the hand-painted iris flowers that appear on several pieces from Selman’s new line.

“This is really historic. Integration into a show has never really happened before as far as we know,” Alex Ho, CMO of American Greetings, said. “It’s a testament to the traction we’ve had over the years and the tie to fashion.”

Photos by Maria Valentino

Papyrus worked with creative agency MullenLowe on the effort.

So how did the whole thing come together?

Selman had been a longtime fan of Papyrus and loved some of the products and designs. He approached IMG because he wanted the brand to be involved in his runway show. “Papyrus is a premium brand with products that are masterfully crafted with a lot of embellishments and details and layers. So we took the brand aesthetic and adapted it. It’s a piece of paper that looks like a bandana in a denim pocket,” Ho said.

Selman even designed his own Papyrus card that was placed on each seat at the show on Thursday night. The card had a custom haiku poem inside from Selman about his love for denim and a short thank you to all who attended the show. The haiku reads: “Denim persuasion high-waisted haiku, my blue to you I’ll be true.”

Papyrus has partnered with IMG in some capacity for NYFW for 11 years (this year being the 11th). Typically that manifests in the Café by Papyrus–a pop-up style cafe where attendees can grab a decadent lavender latte or cold brew and send intricately designed greeting cards from Papyrus. This year Papyrus had its café in the NYFW event space with its typical cards and coffees (as well as custom macarons served with the iconic hummingbird on it), creating the perfect space for attendees to experience the brand and relax during the fashion mayhem.

American Greetings carefully chooses where to activate, from SXSW to CES, but fashion week is always an easy fit for Papyrus, according to Ho.

“The tie that Papyrus is also fashion and art in a card form is one that consumers already playback and the hope is that they continue to see that reinforcement and that they continue to engage with fashion as well as with Papyrus. It’s a similar audience,” Ho said.

Getty Images

Increasingly, Ho explained, Papyrus fans are buying cards to send to friends and family, but also to keep as collectibles or to frame as artwork. Just like a well-designed, beautiful piece of clothing, a well-designed and beautiful card is something that people want to maintain, save and show off.

Added Ho: “There is an assumption out there that greeting cards have been replaced by digital communications, so we always want to remind and reinforce that greeting cards in fact have remained stable, with 85 percent household penetration throughout the rise of social media and that they still have a role in today’s communication world. The use and the purchase behavior of greeting cards has changed. Because it’s special, handmade and a very personal, tangible thing, a greeting card has been elevated to gift level status which is why Papyrus is growing so fast among millennials.”

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.