Two exhibitions about famous designers Cristobal Balenciaga and Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons) are presented at the City of Fashion and Design, at the Docks de Paris, from April 13th to October 7th 2012, on the initiative of the Musée Galliera (Fashion museum), run by Olivier Saillard and currently closed for renovations.
The rare and delicate art of showing fashion is about presenting it to a vast public and at the same time keeping it alive. The set design is not easy to achieve : unworn clothe can seem lifeless to some, as if “wrecked“. But as explained Olivier Saillard on BFM on March 3rd 2012, cultivating this lack of body is revealing its poetry, and thus gives way to the “brilliant expressions” of the designs.
It’s on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of his death that the Musée Galliera will pay tribute to the great « fashion architect » Critobal Balenciaga, designer in the noble sense of the word.
The exhibition displays dresses and coats of his creation (from 1937 to 1968), but above all a collection of costumes from the 18th and 19th century he assembled as a source of inspiration. Stays and casaquins, satin torrero costumes, bustle dresses, lace mantillas… Among the different scenes, a 30-metre-long huge metal wardrobe displays garments presented on hangers or laid in precious drawers. Capes and mantelets of velvet and black satin from the 19th century converse with the lighter and elegant capes from the 1950s. Thus, Balenciaga unveiled other fields of expression by making these almost « destructured » designs.
Let us now move on from the blackness of these past collections to the whiteness of Comme des Garçons’s latest fashion show for spring-summer 2012. The famous designer of the Japanese brand, Rei Kawabuko, froze it for you. Here, you will find neither numbered seats, nor catwalk or timing. The visitor is completely free to give a close look at the designs.
A wedding gown like the silky cocoon of an insect, blossoming florals and white-flecked materials, lace insets inspired from christening robes … With « White Drama », Rei Kawabuko presents a completely white collection which draws its inspiration from life’s marking events : birth, marriage, and death. A poetic creation presented by 30 wooden mannequins, « so far from an assimilated idea of fashion » according to Olivier Saillard, greeting the « never at rest » virtuosity of the fashion « author ».
And about the next designer the curator wishes to present ? A certain Ezzedine Alaya.
Nathalia Bienvenu-Kapferer, March 2012
Translation : Julie Carpentier
Photos credits : Musée Galliera
1-4 : Cristobal Balenciaga, Master of Fashion © Stéphane Piera / Roger-Viollet
5-6 : Comme des Garçons, White Drama © Jean-François José
Galliera extra-mural at Les Docks en Seine - Cité of Fashion and Design
34, quai d’Austerlitz, 75013 Paris - Open from Tuesday to Sunday (except public holidays)
April 13 – October 7, 2012