A new exhibit has opened at one of my favorite Paris museums – and I might even have a chance to see this one. The musée des Arts Décoratifs is presenting Fashioning Fashion: deux siècles de mode européen 1700 – 1915 until April 14, 2013. One hundred outfits display the development of style and tastes while focusing on the details of the garments. The clothes are drawn from the personal collection of Martin Kamer of London and Wolfgang Ruf of Switzerland. This is the third stop for the exhibit that has already been seen in Los Angeles and Berlin.
The garments are displayed fully accessorized, the better to understand how they would have been worn. Many show the fascination of the West for the styles of the East, featuring beautifully embroidered fabrics from India or China. They also show the inter-relationship between fashion and politics; for example, the dress à la polonaise from 1772 has a skirt divided into three parts to represent the division of Poland between Austria, Russia, and Prussia. Changes in technology are also reflected in the clothing, such as the traveling costumes inspired by the invention of the train. Leisure activities require special clothes, such as the early tennis wear on display. Men’s fashions show the influence of English dandy Beau Brummel all around the world.
Today’s expression, la dernière mode (lah der-knee-air mowed), means “the latest style.” Over 200 years, the definition of what the latest style should be has certainly changed dramatically. I’m glad they stopped the fashion parade before the aerobics fashions of the 80s. Leg warmers and head-bands anyone?
If you can’t get there, here’s the exhibit catalog from LA: Fashioning Fashion
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- ‘Model, The Body Of Fashion’ Exhibition Opens At Paris’ Musée Galliera (styleblazer.com)