6 posts tagged "Musee Galliera"
For 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” »
It’s ready-to-wear time, but the fashion set will fete made-to-measure clothes tonight when Paris Haute Couture opens at the Hôtel de Ville. The Swarovski-sponsored exhibition showcases one hundred pieces from the Musée Galliera’s archives and a few loans from private collections. According to curator Olivier Saillard, the Galliera’s director, it tells a chronological story, starting with Charles Frederick Worth at the turn of the century (the show’s first dress was owned by the Comtesse Greffulhe, who inspired Marcel Proust’s Duchesse de Guermantes) and ending with one of the final pieces Cristóbal Balenciaga made before he shuttered his couture business in 1968.
Many of the dresses are juxtaposed with contemporary pieces; “For me, haute couture is not a discipline slave to the present,” Saillard explained. A Galliano-designed Dior, for example, is matched with Paul Poiret, while a 1920s Chanel is paired with a dress from Bouchra Jarrar’s latest couture collection. Saillard has affection for every piece in the show, but he’s partial to the 1930s. “The thirties is the most elegant period. There were a lot of women designers: Vionnet, Chanel, Schiaparelli—that means something,” he said. “They didn’t see back to the past, they see only the future.” As for couture’s future, Saillard says it’s not dead. “There are a lot of designers interested in haute couture: Raf Simons at Dior; Comme des Garçons is doing another kind of couture; Nicolas Ghesquière was, for me, a good designer who could make haute couture.”
Paris Haute Couture is free to the public from March 2 through July 6, at the Hôtel de Ville.
In French, mannequin is used to describe flesh-and-blood models; in English, it means the artificial dummies used to display clothes. Rarely do the two mannequins exist side by side—except in Kim Cattrall eighties hits—but they will in an upcoming exhibition at the Les Docks space of Paris’ Musée Galliera, Mannequin—Le corps de la mode (“Model: The Body of Fashion”). The exhibition traces the development of the model throughout time, much as the Costume Institute’s 2009 show, “The Model as Muse,” did, and includes both physical mannequins (in the English sense) and photographs by Horst P. Horst, Juergen Teller, Corinne Day, and Nick Knight—and some line-straddlers, like the photo by Guy Bourdin above. She’s alive!
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 >
Behind any great designer stand his influences. Behind Cristóbal Balenciaga stands a collection of clothing spanning 300 years. The new exhibition Cristóbal Balenciaga, Collector of Fashion, opening today at Paris’ Musée Galliera, takes a look at the great creator through the lens of his collection.
“The items from Cristóbal Balenciaga may be seen as poetic inventory covering three centuries, from the seventeenth to the beginning of the twentieth, and basically two countries, Spain and France,” says Galliera director Olivier Saillard, who curated the show. “The oldest pieces are certainly a pair of French bead-embroidered shoes from 1730, the latest clothes the Spanish folkloric ornaments from the 1910′s. It is a mix of Parisian fashion and Spanish traditional garments or sometimes unusual objects like head ornaments for donkeys.” It’s as notable for what it doesn’t include as for what it does: in this grouping, no pieces from the famous couturiers who were Balenciaga’s contemporaries and predecessors, but “less important labels, nowadays forgotten though interesting to his eyes.”
The exhibit juxtaposes more than 70 costumes and pieces of clothing with Balenciaga haute couture from 1937 to 1968, some from the museum’s own collection, some on loan from Maison Balenciaga, which is supporting the show along with its parent company PPR. The comparison, says Saillard, is illuminating. “The themes in his collection are quite constitutive of his style,” the curator explains. “Black color, especially for lace and embroidery; the shapes of the nineteenth-century garments; historicism in general; the extremely vigorous creativity of Spanish folk art in terms of shapes and colors. [It is] a sort of miscellaneous jigsaw on which he built his modernity.”
“This exhibition may be an invitation to discover, or more precisely imagine, how a fashion designer might build a collection,” he goes on. “Perhaps [it's] evidence a couture collection doesn’t come out of nowhere, that the own culture and history of a creator is always present in his work.”
Cristóbal Balenciaga, Collector of Fashion opens today at Galliera’s temporary space Les Docks, 34 quai d’Austerlitz, Paris, 01-76-77-25-30.
Pictured: An exhibition display (top). Pieces from Balenciaga’s collection: Traditional Andalucian men’s ballet costume in wool with silk passementerie, circa 1850-1900; wool, silk, and tulle cape, circa 1895 (middle). Pieces from Balenciaga Haute Couture collections: Evening look from Spring 1947; Evening look from Fall 1951 (bottom).