And here comes the next one! This was the exhibition that made me want to go to Paris in the first (as if I needed much of a reason anyway...): Les Années 50 at Palais Galliera.
Though the title says "50s", it's actually about the the years from 1947 to 1957, from when Dior created the New Look and with it the silhouette of the 50s. The exhibits are not arranged in a chronological fashion, but like a fashion magazine, by theme. The great thing is, nothing is behind glass, and you can get really up close to a lot of the exhibits, and of some things like the evening dresses, you can also see the back of the dress - which is often just as interesting!
So it starts with the iconic design that today is seen as what started the New Look - Dior's "Bar" suit, together with two other late 40s designs that already show the typical line. One is a delicious redingote coat dress by Jacques Fath, that once belonged to none other than Lily Daché. Wow. After that follows a big line-up of day wear - suits, dresses and coats for all seasons. Some are accompanied by photos of models wearing them, one was worn in a French film... All this is accompanied by old fashion magazine covers that also set the scene, small displays of matchin accessories like hats, gloves, shoes and handbags and there's also a nice display of French sewing patterns of the time. The other rooms show cocktail dresses, grand evening gowns (what a joy - the embroidery work on some of them is just crazy, like the "Palmyre" dress by Dior!), a few items of lingerie (a guepière of course!) and stockings, and casual / beach fashion / swimwear. Most items are Haute Couture, but there are a few mass produced items as well as early Prêt-à-Porter, which also started at the time. So there's plenty to see - give it two hours, even though it isn't big by way of rooms. I am also totally in love now with Fath's designs - they were among my favourites in the exhibition. Also, the wonderfully draped, timeless evening and cocktail dresses by Dessès - just breathtaking.
If you want to get a bit of a look, this little film gives you a good glimpse at the exhibition. There are also some great images on this page, just click on the photo on the right at the bottom.
There is also an excellent book to go with the exibition that is well worth the price. One of the two dresses on the book's cover is shown in Vogue of October 1954, the issue of which I have:
If you go, I recommend to buy the ticket online, you can print it at home. It's set to a specific entry time. That way the can make sure that not too many people get in a the same time. As everything stands free and is mostly not behind glass, it is understandable that they don't want too many people go in at once. And the nice thing is, as high-profile exhibitions go, this is not expensive at all - the admission is only 8 Euros!
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