Musée Bourdelle, in Montparnasse, is one of the hidden treasures of Paris. Its director, Amélie Simier, runs it with enthusiasm and has clever initiatives for its twice a year shows. One of which is to have joined forces with Palais Galliera (under renovations at the moment) to exhibit part of their fashion collections in the monumental sculpture halls. This summer, “Back Side, Dos à la mode” puts forward all the famous dresses with a bare back by contemporary designers. With its lush garden, the museum is a perfect summer visit if you are staying in Paris.
Walking through the garden with its monumental horse and hydrangeas is already a treat but when you discover the meticulously set show, your spirits go up! The sexy theme of “Seen from the back”, which includes Mireille Darc’s famous dress by Guy Laroche, revealing her beautifully curved back, is a great way to wake up Bourdelle’s voluptuous sculptures. The choice of the curators was to turn most sculptures around so that they would also be seen from the back and some were especially taken out of the reserves for this purpose.
The first successful exhibition of this kind was “Madame Grès” curated by Olivier Saillard in 2011. Then “Balenciaga, l’Oeuvre au noir”, two years ago, was another success. His then assistant, Alexandre Samson, curator of contemporary fashion at Galliera, is responsible for the new show. The galleries downstairs designed by Christian de Portzamparc are staged by Jean Julien Simonot who did a fantastic job at including chefs d’oeuvres of sculpture and couture as well as more trivial Zara or Monoprix dresses. Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Arabesque penchée” and Balenciaga’s 1961-61 Couture dress are among the sculpted fashion… Jean Loup Sieff‘s photographies for Vogue are also true sculptures.
A series of three light colored evening gowns by Rick Owens, Jean Paul Gaultier and wedding specialist Maggy Rouff (in 1934), is spectacular in the black galleries. Two great outfits by Comme des Garçons and Alexander McQueen are just as architecturally striking. The combination of sculpture and fashion never seems exaggerated because the show is so intelligently conceived.
This exhibition will appeal to different stratas of visitors. Young fashion addicts of course, who discover the Couture geniuses of the 80’s and the 90’s, but also all art lovers and anyone curious of “rapprochements” (convergences) between the 1900 sculptures of backs and nowadays fashion.
At a time when Musée Galliera is expanding its ground floor galleries thanks to a large funding by Chanel, Musée Bourdelle is definitely getting younger by the minute and its dedicated team overflows with ideas and talent.
Do not miss this new show…(until November 17, 18 rue Antoine Bourdelle)
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