No longer the lucrative preserve of fashion stores, clothes are boosting museum ticket sales and fetching record prices at auctions. From early-century couturiers to present-day designers, sartorial shows are all the rage. Is fashion becoming an art form in its own right?
Ninety-four year old American legend and hyperactive fashionista, Iris Apfel is putting her thoroughly eccentric world on display in the windows of the Bon Marché department store, where you can buy objects, bracelets, necklaces and umbrellas bearing her iconic image. Peering out from XXL specs, her white hair cut short, and dressed in outlandish, colorful outfits, the interior designer can currently be seen at the wheel of the DS3 as part of its latest advertising campaign. An icon? Of course! Born at the heart of New York, this old woman who doesn’t behave like one, is no stranger to prestigious customers either, having worked for nine presidents of the United States. Her motto? “I don’t have any rules, they are just a waste of time!” In another nod to the vintage wave, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its fashion collection this year. It’s a great opportunity to explore, for the first time, the history of fashion from 1715 to 2006, through nearly 300 items displayed in chronological order. The aim is to create a sort of ideal fashion museum, with silk pekin court dresses from 1778, evening gowns by Jeanne Lanvin from 1923 and Madeleine Vionnet from 1935, and dresses by Martin Margiela and Comme des Garcons from 2015. Simply stunning. The impeccable and original exhibition design by dancer and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is further enhanced by dancers from the Paris opera. Who wears what? This is the question asked by the “Anatomie” exhibition at the Palais Galliera. Like the display at the Arts Décoratifs, the first garments here date from the 18th century and include Marie-Antoinette’s corset, the exhibition’s centerpiece. Among the hundreds of items of clothing and accessories on display, visitors can also see Napoleon’s vest, dresses worn by Empress Joséphine and George Sand, Audrey Hepburn’s suit and an evening pajama set worn by Tilda Swinton.