FASHION

One Exhibition, Three Centuries of Fashion


The fashion ideal is a constantly shifting notion, reflecting historical and social mores. “Fashion Forward: Three Centuries of Fashion (1715–2015),” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in Paris (April 7 through August 14), takes us chronologically through 300 emblematic men’s, women’s, and children’s silhouettes. Selected from the museum’s formidable national collection, the looks include whalebone stays, panniers, hoop underskirts, corsets, and bustles. In an effort to free exhibition mannequins from their frozen poses, Pamela Golbin, the museum’s chief curator of fashion and textiles, tapped the choreographer Christopher Wheeldon to arrange them in ways that convey how people moved and interacted in period clothes. Wheeldon, who won a Tony award for his Broadway adaptation of An American in Paris, has also choreographed nine films for the exhibition, featuring dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet. “Without bodies, clothes don’t work,” Golbin says, noting the garments’ impact on posture, attitude, and mobility—both social and physical. “The history of fashion is also a history of the body.”

1

Dress and Petticoat (robe à la française), around 1760.

Courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

2

Two-piece gown, 1868-1872.

Courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

3

Dolman-mantle, 1870-1890.

Courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

4

Paul Poiret “Josephine” dress , 1907. Courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

5

Mariano Fortuny’s Delphos, 1910–1915.

Courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris/Collections UFAC.

6

Gabrielle Chanel, evening gown, 1925. Courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

7

Elsa Schiaparelli’s Mantle of the Evening, Haute Couture fall/winter 1938-1939. Photo by Jean Tholance, courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

8

Emilio Pucci haute couture, 1967. Courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

9

A design by Comme des Garçons, spring 2015.

Jean Tholance/Courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

10

Dresses on view in “Fashion Forward: Three Centuries of Fashion (1715–2015).”

Courtesy of Musée des Arts Décoratifs.