"Fashion Forward" at Les Arts Décoratifs

Thursday, September 8

As some of you may know, I'm currently obtaining a bachelor's degree in Theory & History of Arts. Naturally, before coming to Paris I was excited to visit some exhibitions - and although I didn't get to do everything that I planned, I did go to Les Arts Décoratifs to see the absolutely marvelous "Fashion Forward: 3 Siècles de Mode".

The exhibition lasted from April to August and celebrated the 30th anniversary of Musée des Arts Décoratifs' fashion collection. Sponsored by H&M, this fashion panorama showcased around 300 women's, men's and children's items from the late 17th century to Autumn/Winter 2016 collections: from embroidered juste-au-corps to Vetements' "May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way" sweatshirt quoting 90's TV sex symbol Dylan McKay. What's interesting, the items were complemented by the objects of decorative arts that helped get a better understanding of the costume - and the costumes themselves were freed from the glass cases. Thanks to the latter and the wonderful artistic direction and scenography, at times I almost felt as if the mannequins were about to jump down and start waltzing (or just go out to Champs-Elysées in a colorful Comme des Garçons ensemble).

I especially enjoyed two rooms. Firstly, the one that featured the creations of Paul Poiret - which would suddenly disappear when the light changed revealing Paul Iribe's illustrations. Secondly, the breathtaking la nef, where the modern fashions (1940's-2016) were gathered together. Here you could see Paquin and Grès, Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga, André Courrèges and Sonia Rykiel, Yves Saint Laurent and Issey Miyake, Martin Margiela and Dries van Noten, Alexander McQueen for Givenchy and Albez Elbaz for Lanvin, Raf Simons for Dior and Nicolas Ghesquière for Louis Vuitton, Karl Lagerfeld for H&M and latest H&M Conscious Exclusive collection (which patterns were inspired by the museum's archives).

What I love the most, is that Pamela Golbin (general curator of the exhibition and the chief curator of Fashion & Textiles - aka the woman I'm greatly inspired by) sees fashion exhibitions not as a retrospective, but rather as a perspective. Thanks to this revolutionary approach, Les Arts Décoratifs presents us the idea that fashion museums shouldn't just collect the items of the past - but should also collect contemporary clothes and accessories, analyze what they're influenced by and what they reflect, as well as create various educational programs. "3 Siècles de Mode" demonstrated that although nowadays fashion is a multi-billion-dollar industry, it's also still art and there's very much still place for innovation, creativity, and passion. Fashion forward!

I hope you'll enjoy this fraction of the photos I took. Bonne journée!

Photos by me. Editing by Sergey Povoroznyuk


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