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August 30 2014

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13 posts tagged "Pierre Cardin"

A Pretty Scandal: Revisiting the Fifties at the Palais Galliera

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Fifties dresses

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

Photo: Courtesy Photo

Maison Michel’s Head Space

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Maison Michel's Paris Pop Up

One of fashion’s most beloved milliners, Maison Michel, whose black felt Virginie fedora is a perennial favorite, finally has a place to, well, hang its hats. Founded in 1936, Maison Michel catered to houses like Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, and Christian Lacroix before permanently joining the Chanel galaxy sixty years later. Thanks to the ministrations of Laetitia Crahay, the house now channels Parisian chic through all manner of headgear, from headbands with veils and sassy little rabbit ears to paint-splattered straw boaters and one-off exclusives in croc or full-on feathers. These are now artfully arranged in an intimate and colorful pop-up “apartment” that quietly opened last month just down the street from the mother ship on the Rue Cambon. Here, Maison Michel is also offering a demi-mesure service for customized pieces, and already its success has been such that the closing date, originally set for March, has been pushed back until late June. More permanent digs are said to be in the works for later this year.

Maison Michel, 19 Rue Cambon, 75001 Paris. www.michel-paris.com

Photo: Courtesy of Maison Michel

Drawing the Bold and the Beautiful

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An Illustration by Tony Viramontes

In September, just before Milan fashion week, 10 Corso Como’s Galleria Carla Sozzani will pay tribute to Tony Viramontes, one of the most revered fashion illustrators of the seventies and eighties. Hailing from Los Angeles, Viramontes worked with everyone from Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, and the House of Dior to Donna Summer, Duran Duran, Janet Jackson, and Paloma Picasso. His high-impact drawings—a product of what the artist, who died of AIDS in 1988, once described as “a state of creative anxiety and insecurity”—stood out for their sassy, sensual punch, and his images’ vivid palettes, moody shading, and extreme expressions seamlessly captured the glamour of the era. Titled “Tony Viramontes: Bold, Beautiful, and Damned,” the exhibition will run from September 6 to November 3, 2013.

Photo: Tony Viramontes, courtesy of Galleria Carla Sozzani

French Castle, American Story

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2013 marks the fortieth anniversary of Le Grand Divertissement è Versailles, the runway battle royal that took place in 1973 between French fashion houses (Givenchy, Dior, Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent, and Pierre Cardin) and American designers (Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Anne Klein, Stephen Burrows, and Bill Blass). Held as a fundraiser to restore the palace, the evening was attended by everyone from Andy Warhol to Princess Grace of Monaco, and, in addition to a bevy of couture, featured performances by the likes of Liza Minnelli and Josephine Baker (above).

But aside from being, perhaps, the most epic runway spectacle to date, Versailles marked the first time African-American models took a prominent place on the European fashion stage. Last night, in honor of the anniversary, and in celebration of Women’s History Month, the Fashion Institute of Technology hosted a screening of Deborah Riley Draper’s 2012 documentary, Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution. And the historic event’s stars, like Pat Cleveland (below, right), Billie Blair, Norma Jean Darden, and Bethann Hardison, among others, turned out for the film and a lively panel discussion. Continue Reading “French Castle, American Story” »

Plugged In: High Tech Fashion at The Museum at FIT

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When side by side, the words fashion and technology oft conjure images of barely wearable ensembles destined for Lady Gaga. But at the Museum at FIT’s latest exhibition, Fashion and Technology, which opened yesterday, co-curators Ariele Elia and Emma McClendon reveal that technology is a crucial part of our ordinary wares. Spanning 250 years of innovation, the show covers such everyday inventions as the washing machine, rayon, and the zipper. But that’s not to say it’s without sci-fi novelties. For instance, there are jazzy space race-era looks by the likes of Pierre Cardin and Emilio Pucci. Also on display are garments by André Courrèges, who, convinced that space would soon become a hot holiday destination, developed an entire intergalactic wardrobe, complete with a sleek PVC helmet and moon boots.

However, as Diane von Furstenberg notes in a video playing at the exhibition, “Things we thought would be sci-fi exist.” Case in point, von Furstenberg’s Spring ’13 collaboration with Google Glass. Of course, she’s not the only Internet-savvy designer. In 1996, Jean Paul Gaultier created a cyberspace-inspired jumpsuit (pictured above). And don’t even get us started on social media’s fashion influence. Remember the frenzy Burberry caused when it released its Spring ’12 collection on Twitter before it hit the runway?

Perhaps most high-tech is the exhibition’s tiny LilyPad Arduino circuit board, which, when sewn into clothing, is pretty much a wearable computer. “You first see things like wearable electronics in places like athletic wear and the military,” said McClendon, explaining that it’s only later that most designers realize tech-fashion’s artistic potential. A cutting-edge innovation that may take a little longer to catch on? Clothing “grown” from bacteria. Not sure if we’re ready for a “BioCouture” top just yet.

Fashion and Technology is on display at the Museum at FIT from December 4 to May 8.

Photo: Courtesy of The Museum at FIT