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April 19 2014

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4 posts tagged "Madame Gres"

Sculpting Fashion: Olivier Saillard Talks Alaïa at the Musée Galliera

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Azzedine Alaia by Patrick DemarchelierFor the past four years, Paris’ famed Musée Galliera has been closed for renovations. This week, the historic fashion museum reopens with Alaïa—the first Parisian retrospective dedicated to Azzedine Alaïa’s work. “For me, Alaïa was the obvious choice—he stands alone,” offered the Galliera’s director, Olivier Saillard, who has curated the museum’s roving shows since 2010. (The 2011 Madame Grès show—hosted by the Musée Bourdelle—as well as Tilda Swinton’s mesmerizing Spring ’13 performance, The Impossible Wardrobe, were both Saillard’s work.) Here, in an exclusive preview, the curator speaks to Style.com about bringing a “new-old” museum back to life, what sets Alaïa apart, and how Swinton has inspired him to take up sewing.

How did your vision for the Musée Galliera take shape?
It was a funny situation because I was named the museum’s director after it closed for renovations, so I started doing outside shows. In my mind, the “new-old” Galliera—I call it that because we’ve restored it to its nineteenth-century appearance—really began to take shape with the 2011 Madame Grès exhibit at the Musée Bourdelle. We did it on a shoestring budget. You could say that Madame Grès changed my idea of what the Galliera should be. Ever since then, I’ve been convinced that an exhibition’s power comes solely from how you see the clothes. When you look at a dress by Alaïa, you don’t need anything else.

How did you approach Alaïa about the exhibition?
I first mentioned it to him years ago. Two years later, he invited me to dinner. I don’t really remember when he said yes, because he never says no, even if that’s what he means. Then, a year ago, he put his collection on hold because this exhibition was coming up. I’ve never met another designer who would do that. What’s interesting about Alaïa is that he takes the time to understand and see things. He approaches his clothes like a sculptor or an architect or a writer, and he often says, “I make clothes; women make fashion.” Continue Reading “Sculpting Fashion: Olivier Saillard Talks Alaïa at the Musée Galliera” »

Two Centuries Of Fashion History, Starring Tilda Swinton

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Christian Lacroix, Haider Ackermann, Martine Sitbon, Bruno Frisoni. They all gathered at the Palais de Tokyo last night for a one-of-a-kind, one-woman fashion show: The Impossible Wardrobe, conceived and curated by the Musée Galliera’s Olivier Saillard and starring none other than Tilda Swinton. The performance lasted nearly 40 minutes, or about four times the normal length of a fashion show. No one minded. On the contrary, the crowd gave the duo a standing ovation.

Wearing white gloves, a lab coat, and beige suede pumps, Swinton variously carried, clutched, and presented vintage clothes and accessories up and down the runway, making eye contact with the audience along the way and pausing in front of a mirror to measure up how she might look if she was allowed to put them on. “It’s not possible to wear the clothes in a museum,” Saillard said, by way of explaining the show’s concept and name. “If Tilda hadn’t accepted our proposal, we wouldn’t have done it.” Above Swinton, a news ticker spelled put the pieces’ provenance, and there were some truly special items here: a 1968 Paco Rabanne dress worn by Brigitte Bardot, Elsa Schiaparelli-designed gloves with built-in gold talons from 1936, an embroidered top that belonged to Isadora Duncan in the 1920s, even a tailcoat covered in gold bullion worn by Napoleon. The Oscar winner actually sniffed the collar on that one, as if to get a sense of his essence. “C’est sublime,” said Bouchra Jarrar afterward. “A new way to talk about the history of fashion. One must never forget history.” In the history of this season, this will rank as one of its most fabulous moments.

CLICK HERE for a slideshow of Swinton wearing some of the pieces from the Musée Galliera collection >


Photo: Piero Biasion

The Original Minimalist? A Paris Exhibition Reintroduces Couture Pioneer Madame Grès

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Madame Grès: Couture at Work, curated by Olivier Saillard, the new director of Paris’ Musée Galliera, sheds light on one of the most enigmatic designers in twentieth-century fashion. The designer (born Germaine Krebs) originally wanted to be a sculptor, but her family had other ideas; she trained instead in haute couture. Described by French Vogue‘s editor Edmonde Charles-Roux as “a dictator disguised as a mouse,” Grès (left, in 1946) went on to revolutionize couture by refining her unique draping techniques over six decades—as she said, “like someone who didn’t know how.” The show, held at the Bourdelle museum (the former studio of the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle) while the Musée Galliera is under construction, makes a case for the timelessness of Grès’ designs. Style.com spoke with Saillard about Grès’ prescient minimalism, her timeless style, and her modern-day successors (Azzedine Alaïa and Rei Kawakubo among them).

Madame Grès: Couture at Work runs through July 24 at the Musée Bourdelle, 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle, Paris, 33-01-49-54-73-73.

Why did you decide to do your first Galliera exhibition on Madame Grès?
While doing part one of “The Ideal History of Contemporary Fashion,” covering the seventies and eighties at the [Musée des] Arts Décoratifs, I wanted to show Madame Grès’ work from the 1970′s. She was a very old woman by then, with 50 years’ experience, but her dresses from that period were astounding. Many designers’ work plunges a bit by the end of their career, but Grès had a nervous quality one associates with breakthroughs. The problem was we had very few pieces of hers in the collection, so I wasn’t able to do anything. When I arrived at Galliera I found that the museum has 250 pieces of Grès, so I said, let’s do it right away.

What interests you about Grès?
Her work is very classic and elegant, but it’s also a precursor. She is a bit minimal, before fashion used the word—a bit Belgian, a bit Japanese. For me, doing the show was like becoming immersed in a biography. I began looking at Guy Bourdin’s photos of Grès in the seventies for French Vogue, which heralded a comeback. That’s what I personally adored. This was fashion that wasn’t fashionable. Madame Grès is like an outlaw, she’s beyond fashion, or as the Americans say, she is a “designer’s designer.” Continue Reading “The Original Minimalist? A Paris Exhibition Reintroduces Couture Pioneer Madame Grès” »

Tom’s On Top, Giovanna ♥ New York,
Grès Gets Her Due, And More…

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Everything’s (still) coming up Tom. Mr. Ford’s hot streak continues, as the designer is the only fashion designer named to the annual Time 100 list, out today. Guess even a faux used-car commercial or two can’t keep the guy down. [WWD]

Fashion editrix and street-style star Giovanna Battaglia has relocated to New York, which gave the party set more than enough reason to throw a fête. Eddie Borgo (who cast Battaglia as his latest lookbook star, left) and boyfriend Keegan Singh threw GB a welcome dinner at Cipriani this week, where Gaia Repossi, It boys Stavros Niarchos, PC and Andy Valmorbida, and Joseph Altuzarra toasted her in style. Battaglia wore an I ♥ New York T-shirt for the occasion—fully studded, of course. [W]

Couture pioneer Madame Grès gets a retrospective in Paris. Suzy Menkes calls the show “exceptional”; “the dresses,” she says, “especially the goddess evening gowns, could walk right out of the museum and onto the red carpet.” [IHT]

And meet an unlikely fashion upstart: architecture professor Richard Weston, whose printed scarves have attracted wide notice since the good professor made a star turn on Britain’s reality show The Next Big Thing. [Vogue U.K.]

Photo: Courtesy of Eddie Borgo