Une valeur sûre

I’m pretty much guaranteed to find a special exhibit to enjoy at the musée des Arts Décoratifs. It’s une valeur sûre (oon valur soor), a “secure value” or we’d say “a sure thing.” This year, there were three interesting exhibits to enjoy.  The biggest, and most impressive was Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs (until September 16, 2012), the most charming exhibit was Les Histoires de Babar (until September 2), and the Trompe l’oeil exhibit will run the longest (until November 15, 2013). I’ll just talk about the first one today and save the rest for another day.

The Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs exhibit was presented on two floors: one dedicated to the founder of the famous monogram-bedecked brand, and the second devoted to the current artistic director. Personally, I was far more interested in the Louis Vuitton floor. The exhibit did a great job of showing the luggage maker’s genius in seizing upon the birth of haute couture to propose the proper box to store all those complicated clothing items. The first windows used doll clothes to illustrate the staggering array of dresses and accessories required by a member of the bourgeoisie.  I couldn’t help thinking of my favorite childhood book A is for Annabelle that taught the alphabet through all the various items in a doll’s trunk.

The exhibit showed the 30 (!) different trunks Monsieur et Madame would have needed for a typical journey. There was even a specialized trunk to hold a folding cot. The Marc Jacobs floor presented highlights from the last 15 years. It was interesting to see how he worked the LV logo into various pieces of clothing; sometimes the effect was almost subliminal instead of the overt display I usually associate with the brand.

Louis Vuitton – Marc Jacobs: In Association with the musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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14 Responses to Une valeur sûre

  1. theinkbrain says:

    I wonder why they didn’t sew the sleeves on to the blouses…. it looks like they just packed extra sleeves and collars… how odd.

    • I’d noticed that too. I suppose the idea was that some items needed to be laundered more frequently, but that’s only conjecture on my part. Does anyone out there know for sure?

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  3. Cliff Gilbert says:

    Well, dipping into that great pool of knowledge that I have acquired over the years, the result of being married to an absolutely fabulous woman, I believe that the detachable sleeves are what are called “Engageantes” and they are meant to be worn under the pagoda sleeved dresses. The green and while striped dress and the blue velvet dress in the picture are pagoda sleeved dresses.

  4. Cliff Gilbert says:

    Oh and yes, they were generally made of a lighter material and easier to launder.

  5. Cliff Gilbert says:

    Well, another update to this fascinating topic. In a nutshell I no longer think the detachable sleeves shown in the picture are engageantes. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC has pictures and they are not anything like your photo. After a very fascinating morning of google-browsing through the history of women’s fashion, civil rights and the like, I think detachable sleeves pictured were a 19th century European “innovation” intended to make it easier to wash and iron dresses and shirtwaists . They show up in advertising in the USA (see Philadelphia Record June 10, 1896 page 7) and also in advertising from 1931. They also existed in Elizabethan times too…

  6. Cliff Gilbert says:

    I thought I was “buying your chairs”…

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  8. Pingback: Un emballeur | One quality, the finest.

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