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August 25

Day 5 in France: Fashion Forward Exhibition

After hanging out all Sunday morning at the flea market at Porte de Vanves, I went back to the hotel and took a much needed nap.  From there, I refreshed myself and headed out to the Fashion Forward special exhibit within Les Arts Decoratifs (Decorative Arts Museum).

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The museum is in the same area as the Louvre and opens up into the same green space/courtyard area.  You can just make out the glass pyramid in the right of the image below.

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I was lucky enough to be able to attend Fashion Forward, as it closed on August 14th, 2016, one week after I was there.

The exhibit displays a collection of 300 garments from the last 3 centuries, as part of a celebration of the museum’s 30th birthday.  All of the garments are displayed chronologically of course, starting from 1715 all the way to this year, 2016.

I took lots of photos, mainly of what inspired or intrigued me the most- but could have spent all afternoon taking detailed photos of each and every garment as they were all phenomenal.

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This is not a dyed nor an embroidered floral design but a woven one, in silk taffeta from 1760.

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I like seeing how/if edges are finished in couture garments and I found that this one was not.  While the edges looked pinked, they were just ever so slightly frayed from wear.

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I’m always smitten when florals and stripes are combined – and this men’s vest in a pink and white stripe, from long ago, is lovely inspiration for me.

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The beading on this white silk wedding dress and train was amazing.  The photos do not do this any justice.

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This periwinkle blue and white striped number (from 1868-1872 in cotton organdy) caught my eye – namely the peplum with a lace-finished edge.

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Edges finished here in some silk (bias?) binding.

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Silk satin 1885 gown by Charles Frederick Worth:

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The blue pleated silk gown below is the Delphos Dress by Mariano Fortuny (1905-07):

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Evening dress by Callot Soeurs (1909-1913) in silk satin, metallic tulle and silk tulle:

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Changing eras meant stepping into a novel exhibit space; there were nooks and crannies in the wall that was also covered with mirrors.  It appeared as if there were layer upon layer of gowns, but you could see them all at various angles as well.

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The space was quite dark to capture the garments on camera.  But this Esla Schiaparelli Phoebus Cape from 1938 popped out from one of the nooks.

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Then one more bright exhibit space followed, opening with 40’s and 50’s gowns, which flowed into 2016.

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Dreams in the form of dresses:

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Dior’s New Look from 1947:

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Gold dress is Charles James:

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My (blurry) attempts to sneak a peek of the inner construction:

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It was really quite a wonderful experience to see some of these gowns from the 20’s through the 50’s in person (my favorite eras).  I’ve long seen many of these garments online, in fashion magazines, pinterest boards, etc.  To see them up close and be able to stand in awe of the embroidery and beading, as I attempt to understand their construction was a singular experience.

As the rest of my group went to stand in front of the Mona Lisa (which is wonderful too but I’ve already seen it) – I was able to stand in front of Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Balmain, Madame Gres, Cristobal Balenciaga, Esla Schiaparelli, Charles James and many, many more.

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This was a delightful end to my last day in Paris.

  1. llynnda / Aug 25 2016

    Thank you for all pictures but especially the fashion shoot. I just wish I could have been there to “feel” the impact. Your pictures were fantastic.

  2. Dee / Aug 25 2016

    So many great things! Thank you for sharing the photos. That is a lovely chine’ dress at the top.

  3. Michelle / Aug 26 2016

    OH, HOW GORGEOUS! And, how fortuitous that the exhibit was there while you were! I’m drooling over here. :-D

  4. Jessica / Aug 26 2016

    What a fantastic show–thanks for the photos! I saw the Dries Van Noten show there a couple of years ago. Great museum.

  5. M. / Aug 27 2016

    Hi Liz,
    thanks for the gorgeous pictures! Love the amazing dresses from the 20s-50s! And the silk gowns! Especially the new look and the black dress with the large opening on the back are stunning. You surely need a masterly construction of the pattern to make the back sit nice and tight without gaping in any position. Oh, how I would love to take a closer look at all these lovely dresses and their construction!
    Thank you so much for sharing,
    Cheers,
    M.

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