15 posts tagged "Olivier Saillard"
Long before Olivier Saillard arrived to shake things up as director of the Palais Galliera, the fashion museum of the City of Paris had established a tradition of mounting exhibitions around a given decade, such as the twenties or thirties.
With The 50s: Fashion in France, 1947-1957, which opens on July 12, Saillard sought to honor that heritage and also remind the world that the fifties, at least in fashion terms, was a few years ahead of the Gregorian calendar. “It was really that revolutionary bomb of Christian Dior’s New Look in 1947 that brought the decade into the fifties,” Saillard commented during a preview. A decade later, Mr. Dior died suddenly and his young assistant, Yves Saint Laurent, moved to the helm. In between those bookends flourished what was arguably the last golden era of couture. “I like the idea of putting the couture heritage out there, because right now we’re seeing several young designers who are redeveloping it in their own way,” observed Saillard. “It’s also an era that’s joliment scandaleuse [prettily scandalous] as much at the beginning as the end.”
The Galliera’s considerable trove includes a lot of Dior. (Consider for a moment that by the mid-fifties, Dior alone accounted for 49 percent of French fashion’s total exports.) A Bar suit stands sentry at the entrance, followed swiftly by the rose pink Bonbon dress from Dior’s first collection and the asymmetrical peplumed Bernique (Winter ’50-’51), a recent discovery. But Saillard and his team bring to the fore other remarkable, iconic wares, including a 1954 Chanel suit (a look the Americans were quicker than the French to embrace, he noted, precisely because it was made to be worn from morning to cocktail hour). Elsewhere, a 1954 black Balenciaga suit that looks as though it could have stepped off the runway yesterday keeps company with pieces by Carven, Balmain, Fath, Givenchy, Cardin, Schiaparelli, and Saint Laurent, among others. All-but-unknowns get play, too, such as Jean Dessès, Grès, Henry a la Pensée, and Jacques Heim, a star of the time who costumed films such as Falbalas (known in English as Paris Frills).
“There’s a real feeling of destiny about this decade,” observed Saillard. “When you map out the stars, there are so many houses we still talk about. Givenchy, Saint Laurent, and Karl Lagerfeld were taking their first steps in fashion, and it’s also a time when future greats, such as Christian Lacroix and Jean Paul Gaultier, were born. So many names are anchored in that decade in one way or another, it’s very strange.”
The show’s staging resurrects old nuggets from fashion’s lexicon (day suit, day dress, late-afternoon dress, city dress, tea dress, travel coat, etc.), a reminder of how much things have changed. “Today it’s just a dress,” quipped Saillard, rattling off a few numbers that speak volumes, too: There were 106 couture houses in Paris in 1946, a number that had dwindled to thirty-six by 1958.
Given that there are more than a hundred pieces displayed, highlights are too numerous to list here, but they include clever beachwear (a yellow popover by Hermès practically begs for re-edition), accessories, and evening dresses once worn by style icons: the Duchess of Windsor’s Palmyre dress by Dior (1952) is one of the museum’s most precious pieces. Nearby, the 1957 Opium dress from Dior’s last collection (Winter 1957) was donated by Best Dressed legend Jacqueline de Ribes, who will be the subject of her own exhibition at the Met next year.
The 50s: Fashion in France, 1947-1957 runs from July 12 to November 2 at Paris’ Palais Galliera
Olivier Saillard has struck again. For Papier Glacé, the second exhibition he has curated at Paris’ newly renovated Musée Galliera, Saillard riffled through one hundred years of Condé Nast’s photography archives, pulling mainly from a handful of international Vogues (American, British, German, French, and Italian), to spin a selective history of fashion-as-dialogue. The 150-image show scans like a who’s who of 20th-century lensmen: Images by De Meyer, Horst, Clark (above, right), Schatzberg, Penn, Man Ray, Parkinson (above, left), Beaton, Blumenfeld, Lindbergh, Meisel, Turbeville (below), and Weber, among others, feature in the show. The snaps are accompanied by a dozen or so dresses and accessories, such as an evening coat by Doucet (1913), a Mondrian cocktail dress by Yves Saint Laurent (1965), and a red molded bustier on loan from Issey Miyake (1980).
“Fashion-related exhibitions so often tend to run chronologically, looking toward the past,” offered Paris Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt, “whereas a magazine comes out every month, it’s life, and it’s constantly changing. [With this show] you see what each brings to the other.” Saillard concurred, noting that fashion magazines are akin to archeologists.
For Alt and for Paris Vogue, the eighteen months spent collaborating on Papier Glacé was far from an end in itself. Rather, it marked the beginning of a new chapter for the nearly one hundred-year-old publication, with the establishment of the Vogue Paris Fashion Fund—a new initiative that will allow the Galliera to make new acquisitions, be they photographs, garments, accessories, or beyond. Launched with a contribution of 100,000 euros, the fund will be renewed annually and receive additional backing via fundraising.
When asked for his wish list, Saillard offered names ranging from Margiela to Corinne Day, Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Iris van Herpen, and Jurgen Teller. “I am always interested in auteurs. To look at our archives, you’d think that everyone has always worn Balenciaga,” he quipped. “I plan to shop myopically: Sometimes the exceptional can be found in an ‘ordinary’ shirt.”
It’s a fair bet that spending the Galliera’s first windfall won’t be too difficult for Saillard, but new acquisitions will be kept under wraps until July 9, the night of the first Vogue Paris Fashion Fund gala event, during haute couture.
In less than four short years, designer Bouchra Jarrar has quietly accumulated a major following. Last year, she received the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres medal for her contribution to the French arts. No less an expert than Olivier Saillard has likened her to a “modern Vionnet.” And, as those who are smitten by Jarrar’s take on urban dressing (a killer Perfecto, a mean pair of trousers, an understated dress that needs no further embellishment) can attest, the designer is truly a couturière at heart.
Today, the Commission de Classement Couture—the body in charge of deciding who makes the grade as a Couture house—made it official: Jarrar is now a member of the Couture elite, and, it’s worth emphasizing, she’s the only female designer in the bunch. Indeed, her presence is a welcomed one in this male-dominated class of masters, and we can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
If Paris has an answer to Williamsburg, it would be the area around the Rue Lucien Sampaix in the 10th arrondissement. The neighborhood’s epicenter is the Tuck Shop, the retro-chic vegetarian eatery and gourmet coffee bar opened last year by a trio of hip Australian girls: Anna Rice, Stella Rice, and Rain Laurent. Last night they added “art gallery” to their roster as they feted an impromptu first show by a fellow Aussie, Leo Greenfield, who’s been hanging around Paris since fashion week and working on what he calls “observational illustration.”
“I’m interested in the language of drawing. I look at [my work] as social portraits combined with journalism,” the artist said, surveying walls lined with breezy drawings of Haider Ackermann, Diane Pernet, and Alber Elbaz. Greenfield sketched these from memory after Olivier Saillard and Tilda Swinton’s recent Eternity Dress performance. Pretty good access for someone who showed up in Paris cold a couple of years back and just happened to benefit from the kindness of strangers, like Damir Doma and Joel Arthur Rosenthal.
Asked what impressed him the most about the Spring shows, Greenfield replied, “Comme des Garçons for its graphic impact. And at Haider Ackermann I saw colors I had never seen before, and it was all so fast I couldn’t draw it!” In any case, all indications point to Greenfield closing in on his dream life as an artist in residence: He has just wrapped a weeklong stint in Martin Grant’s atelier. “It was amazing,” the artist said. “He’s all about minimalism without losing luxury.”
Olivier Saillard—author, poet, star fashion curator—tends to prefer a contemplative moment over a grand event. He is also fond of saying that, had he ever studied fashion design, he would have done “just one dress” and then retired his tape measure.
Last night in Paris, he offered both. Eternity Dress, a fifty-one-minute performance starring Tilda Swinton, sponsored by Chloé, and staged at the École des Beaux-Arts this week as part of the city’s fall festival, has been sold out for months. In it, Saillard and Swinton explore the art of dressmaking, starting with lines and measurements (waist: 28 inches, and so forth) working up through flat patterns and the beginnings of a dress, which Swinton took a moment to sew on herself. As the dress took form, Swinton recited a litany of collar styles in French and released a world of emotion in the turn of a sleeve, finally draping herself in rich-hued chiffon and velvet unfurled from bolts lined up on the floor.
Ultimately, The Dress—a black sheath with long sleeves and an open back—was a stand-in for a century of fashion history, from Paul Poiret to Comme des Garçons. One of the show’s high points, as well as its biggest laugh, showed Swinton striking a series of emblematic poses for houses from Poiret to Yohji Yamamoto, by way of Chanel, Dior, Mugler, YSL, and Jean Paul Gaultier. Among a roomful of designers including Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Bouchra Jarrar, Martine Sitbon, and Clare Waight Keller, Haider Ackermann was first on his feet for the ovation. “It’s absolutely a piece of my life,” said Waight Keller. “They’ve taken everyday materials like tape and chalk and elevated them to an art form about designing a dress from scratch. It’s about craft, measuring, and a considered approach. It’s poetry.”
“One of the things about Tilda is that she can do anything,” noted Saillard after the performance. “She’s not a ‘fashion girl,’ so she can be a sculpture, an actress, a woman, a man, she can be 18 or 75 years old. It was like we were in a bubble, and the experience gave us lots of new ideas. Fashion has to be surprising.”
At the small cocktail party held afterward at Lapérouse, Swinton added, “Olivier is a playmate. We work and play together and come up with crackers ideas for some other time—it’s wonderful to be able to play off of someone like that.” Asked whether she realizes that she would be any designer’s dream to work with, Swinton let loose a small bombshell: “Maybe it’s because I know nothing about fashion!”