3 posts tagged "Musee des Arts Decoratifs"
When he walked me around his exhibition this morning, Dries Van Noten wanted to make one thing clear. The show—which runs at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris until August 31—is emphatically not a career retrospective. Instead, it’s a sumptuous meditation on creativity, a idea summed up by its title, Inspirations. Every room is a multilayered inroad into Van Noten’s thought processes, and, like the McQueen exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the show is so rich that it will have the power to enthrall people who have no prior engagement with fashion. But among the many provocative juxtapositions of past, present, and future, one stands out as a singular piece of mind-fuckery. To illuminate Van Noten’s fascination with the front and back of things (something which has sparked some of his most interesting fashion statements), Bronzino’s exquisite Portrait of a Man Holding a Statuette, on loan from the Louvre, is juxtaposed with an abstract painting by Gerhard Richter. You can imagine the Richter as the back of the Bronzino, Van Noten mused. Suddenly, I saw the world through his eyes.
Have you ever wondered what the fourteenth-century fashion set’s unmentionables looked like? We hadn’t, either, but thanks to the latest exhibit at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs, La Mécanique des Dessous, we’re now very well informed. The show examines the body-altering world of men’s and women’s undergarments from the 1300s onward. Showcasing everything from elasticized cummerbunds to iron-turned-whalebone corsets, the exhibition aims to convey both the technical underside of fashion’s evolution and the societal cues woven into underthings (for example, seventeenth-century codpieces and doublets straightened the upper posture—a sign of an aristocratic upbringing).
As one might expect, oddities abound—look no further than clunky brassieres with breast-feeding flaps (allegedly a marvelous feat of engineering at the time) and gentlemen’s padded socks (fattened calves expressed virility in the later 1800s) for proof. Luckily for neophytes, the expo tracks modern underdressing as well: Wonderbras, Kangaroo briefs, and Jean Paul Gaultier’s famous cone-shaped bustiers are all included. La Mécanique also boasts a “fitting” room, in which visitors may try on replicas of panniers and bustles. As Suzy Menkes noted in her New York Times article, a costume gallery owner named Guillaume François Roger Molé once said (perhaps ahead of his time in 1797): “It is important to understand the inside pieces: Often they are what make fashion prestigious.”
La Mécanique des Dessous at Paris’ Musée des Arts Décoratifs is on display until November 24, 2013.
When we set out to tell the story of 2011 by the numbers, one loomed especially large: 661,509, the record-breaking number of visitors who lined up, often for hours at a time, to see the Costume Institute’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (left) at the Met.
But it wasn’t just a banner year for the Met and the late, great McQueen; designers and museums forged a strong bond this year, one that looks likely to continue well into the next. Museums across the globe invited designers into their halls and the results have made for some of the best exhibitions in memory.
During Couture week, Hussein Chalayan opened a retrospective at Paris’ Musée des Arts Decoratifs, where next year, Marc Jacobs and his work for Louis Vuitton will take up residence. The City of Light also played host to Ralph Lauren and his collection of automobiles (it also now boasts an enormous new RL store and restaurant, one of the town’s new favorite spots for burgers). And Florence is the new home of the Museo Gucci, opened during Milan’s Spring 2012 week with all due fanfare, and a Blondie performance to boot.
In America, socials flocked to San Francisco for the opening of Balenciaga and Spain (which also traveled to New York) and to Dallas for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, which debuted earlier this year at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts. Just this month, Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte opened RODARTE: Fra Angelico, a show of the dresses their created for their June presentation at Pitti, at L.A.’s LACMA.
Farther afield, Dior went to Russia, where house jewelry designer Camille Micelli sent us this postcard, for Inspiration Dior, attended, naturally, by a lavish party. And the Netherlands continues to be a slightly off-the-radar destination for fashion’s cultural tourists. A retrospective of the work of Azzedine Alaïa is now on view in Gronningen, outside Amsterdam, and the capital’s contemporary-photo museum, FOAM, which hosted the likes of Jefferson Hack for a panel on What’s Next, which followed a retrospective of work by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin—one which eventually became the germ of their new career-spanning anthology, Pretty Much Everything.
Here in New York, the more traditional homes of fashion, like FIT’s Fashion Museum, were busy, too. The museum recently opened the first part of The Great Designers, including Armani, Dior, Givenchy, and McQueen, and plans to open part two in March. Chief curator and museum director Valerie Steele also worked with clotheshorse and collector Daphne Guinness on an exhibition of her own holdings—which, it turns out, Guinness keeps organized via computer database.
Next year, all eyes will be on Miuccia Prada for the next Costume Institute exhibition, Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada on Fashion. But before then, there’s a Louboutin retrospective in London to look forward to, on the heels of the shoemaker’s victory-lap 20th anniversary year. And WWD reports today that several fashion labels are taking a renewed interest in their own histories, too. Balmain is ramping up its archival holdings, and Chloé recently brought on an in-house archivist, in anticipation of a retrospective planned for its 60th anniversary next year.