|John Galliano for Christian Dior Haute Couture|
lucky to be there in person just parlez-vous over to the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) where the recently opened exhibition, PARIS Capital of Fashion, is not only a spectacular tribute to haute couture but a history lesson in itself. On view through January 4, 2020.
The dazzling 100 garments and accessories on display date from the 1700s to today. According to The NewYorker, "Paris remains despite the competition, the most glamorous and competitive of the world's fashion capitals." Image: John Galliano for Christian Dior Haute Couture, autumn/winter 2000-2001 collection was inspired gy Marie-Antoinette; on the runway the model was bewigged and befeathered. Photo by Guy Marineau,.
Valerie Steele director of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and curator of the exhibition said, "This is the first exhibition that really looks at Paris in a global context and unique in the entire history and explains, historically, how it became so important, so really unique in the history of fashion and also how it creates and maintains an aura with a kind of brand image of Paris as the ultimate fashion city. The rise of the haute couture was crucially important to the consolidation of Paris as a modern fashion capital. HAUTE COUTURE It all started with Louis XIV, who viewed magnificent personal attire as as part of the grandeur of Versailles. "Fashion is to France what the gold mines of Peru are to Spain," declared Louis XIV's minister of finance Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The splendor of the French royal court at Versailles ignited the fashion explosion for
opulence and French fashion prestige.
|Robe a la francaise, 1755-1780, France|
Worth created top of the line, "plus grande" Haute (high) couture. Elite women were attracted to the prestige of Paris fashion, and Worth recognized their importance as clients saying they had "the faces, the figures, and the francs." With seemingly demand- ing social engagements elite women changed their dresses up to four times a day, some purchasing their entire wardrobes from Worth. They paid homage to Worth as if he was the ruler of the fashion world and Worth did not disappoint but held court to an admiring entourage of faithful clients.
Moving into the 20th century during World War II
when Paris was occupied by the Nazis, they threatened to fold Paris's couture industry into an organization of their own headquartered in Berlin and Vienna. Of special note, after the war,
the Chambre worked to revive its battered industry by launching Theatre de la Mode, a touring
exhibition of some 200 27-inch couture clad dolls dressed by prominent couture designers in
fashions and accessories, "la dernier cri de la mode." They were posed in elaborate sets, one, I remember, featured dolls in couture gowns among the ruins of a boomed out sitting room.
|Jacques Fath for Joseph Halpert 1952|