Former minister of culture Jack Lang was visiting the exhibition with a following of admirers and I am glad I started the visit in reverse, escaping all the politics of the Mitterrand years which are the prologue to the show. Instead, I immediately ran into the heart of the subject, the craziness in design, fashion and advertising of the 1980’s in France, well represented by Jean Paul Goude whose video of the défilé on the Champs Elysées of the Bicentennial of the French Revolution, is a grand historical moment. Emmanuel Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, Thierry Mugler and Agnès B represent fashion, Kenzo Takada, Fiorucci and Castelbajac, were my favorites. Musée des Arts Décoratifs owns all of their costumes of course.
In furniture design, Philippe Starck was the new king with café Costes at Beaubourg in 1984, Olivier Gagnère started also in 1984, with his screen for Galerie Lamouric after training with Ettore Sotsass who is also very present in the show. He will become famous for his decor of the Café Marly at the Louvre. Sylvain Dubuisson has some lamps produced by Andrée Putman, Pierre Sala creates a desk-cahier Clairefontaine held on pencils, the two Italians Popy Moreni and Pucci de Rossi have a room to themselves in black and white.
I loved wondering along the two galleries and central Nef, reuniting with my first experiences at Vogue Hommes when men’s fashion and beauty creams became popular. But Was very disappointed by the lack of space devoted to Le Palace, teh theatre night club where everything was happening in teh early 80’s. A dark corner with a prominent fire extinguisher is devoted to Elisabeth Garouste and Mattia Bonetti’s first pieces of furniture and Gérard Garouste’s decor for the Privilège. The extraordinary photographs by Philippe Morillon hardly appear and Guy Cuevas, the genius D.J. ‘s records hardly appear. This heart of Parisian life which was modeled on Studio 54 by Fabrice Emaer, would have deserved a large space
The winner of those years was certainly Christian Lacroix who was designing for Patou until he created his own company in 1987. His elegance and huge imagination were unrivaled for many years. He still creates amazing stage costumes today. Azzedine Alaïa is also present in the show but not well represented enough.
The event in advertising in 1981 was the publicity on teh walls of Paris for Avenir Publicité, who used “Myriam” a very pretty girl who appeared wearing a bikini and announced that on September 2, she would take her top off. Two days later, showing the most grandiose tits, she announced that she would take the bottom off on September 4. On that date, she was seen from the back with a superb ass, and it said: Avenir, l’afficheur qui tient ses promesses. (Avenir, the poster display firm who keeps its promises). People were fascinated on the streets and everyone immediately talked about this campaign. Car accidents also occurred.
The photographer Jean François Jonvelle was one of the most sensuous at the time. Another advertisement conceived by CLM/BBDO with Jean Paul Goude called Lee Cooper jeans, “The skin of your skin” in 1988. This golden age of publicity which included Feldman Calleux and other beautiful agencies, served the Aids years and Jean Jacques Beinex’ film is one of tehstgong images devoted to this disease which killed so many brilliant actors of the 1980’s.
The newspaper Libération is in prominent view with the Mitterrand years and one has to admit that Jack Lang did a lot for contemporary art and design, theater and press during the almost 9 years that he was Minister of Culture.
Until April 16 at MAD.
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