La Dernière mode

Fashioning Fashion 3

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.

Fashioning FashionThe 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.

Fashioning Fashion 2

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?

61H0Y0SUBWL__SL75_If you can’t get there, here’s the exhibit catalog from LA: Fashioning Fashion

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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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2 Responses to La Dernière mode

  1. I so wish I could see that show! The super-exaggerated hips of the 1700s must have proven a challenge for getting in and out of carriages and doors!

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