If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that living in the fashion capital of the world is wasted on me. Yes, I love looking at beautiful clothes, and every so often I will spend a morning window licking shopping – I love that the french phrase; lèche-vitrines for this translates as window licking- and I love nothing more than sitting at a pavement café, nursing a café, people watching and admiring the many and varying fashion styles of the Parisians, but I have yet to understand the obsession with Fashion Week.
As it happens, it is almost that time of the year again when the city is abuzz with events that herald in what fashion-savvy people will be wearing next Spring, or is it Summer? What fascinates me most is the excitement around an event that will showcase clothing which the fashion-savvy will declare as so very last year, next year this time.
I am not that much of a fashion neanderthal though. I was completely awed by the Paris Haute Couture exhibition that was on at Hôtel de Ville almost three months ago. Yes, this is a very retrospective post. I had wanted to take my daughter – she has the fashion gene – to the Musée Galliera, but it was,and is still being renovated.
This exhibit proved to be the perfect vintage fashion lover’s paradise. The entire ground floor of the Hôtel de Ville was laid out with designs from yesteryear, cleverly juxtapositioned with those of more recent times.
Clothes by designers from as early as the early 1800s; Paquin, Madeleine Vionnet, Augusta Bernard sharing display cases with Thierry Mugler, Christian Lacroix, and Dior by John Galliano.
Designers that have shown the most longevity: Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne and Yves Saint Laurent together with Balenciaga gowns, circa 1968, Marcelle Divres,1948 and the really early trailblazers like Worth & Bobergh, 1869.
From the satin, velvet and high collars of Worth & Bobergh; through the rising hems of Jean Patou, Michelle Goma and Paco Rabanne in the late 1960s; to the sequined, bejewelled looks of Paquin, circa 1900, Pierre Balmain, 1954 and Valentino, 1986. It was the perfect exhibition confirming that age old statement that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Schiaparelli was colour blocking in the late 1930s with rich, lustrous gold, burgundy and navy, way before Pierre Cardin in the mid 60s with his “cible” design and the current bold displays of today’s designers.
The second floor of the exhibition was equally fascinating, displaying the actual drawings and cut-outs of the designers – from Chanel’s sketches (before and after Lagerfeld) to photographs of earlier day ateliers. I must confess that as much as I loved this section of the exhibition – I enjoyed looking at the dresses below even more. Perhaps there’s hope for me yet.
I will update you once the Musée Galliera has reopened its doors, but I will not be keeping updates on what’s on at Paris Fashion Week. This event runs from tomorrow, Wednesday 18th to Monday 23rd September.