Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog at www.eyepreferparis.com.
As the fashion capital of the world, Paris has been the inspiration for designers for centuries, attracting some of fashion's top talent to the city. In 2015 Paris celebrates the masters of fashion with an exceptional plethora of fashion exhibits. Here is a comprehensive list of them.
Before Coco Chanel there was Jeanne Lanvin, one of the first female fashion designers in Paris. She set up her couture house in 1909 and later followed with shops featuring menswear, furs, and lingerie. Her breakthrough product was the world popular Arpege perfume introduced in 1927, inspired by the sound of her daughter Marguerite practicing her piano scales. Today Lanvin is the oldest French fashion house still in existence and the Musée Palais Galliera has organized the first full-scale exhibition of the designer, with over 100 garments from its own archives and Lanvin Heritage. Alber Elbaz, the current artistic director of Lanvin, worked closely with the museum in curating and creating the show.
Till August 23
10, rue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75116
Yves Saint Laurent 1971: The Scandal Collection
Already a fashion innovator and provocateur with his groundbreaking designs, Yves Saint Laurent shocked the fashion world in 1971 with his spring collection. Known as The Liberation/Forties collection, the clothes were inspired by wartime looks, which included short skirts, platform shoes, garish makeup and square-padded shoulders. It was nicknamed the Scandal Collection by journalists because to many it was a painful and too-recent reminder of the harsh realities of the war.
Vilified by the press, eventually the collection was the gateway to the streetwear look that influenced so many fashion designers working today. In response to the collection, Yves Saint Laurent said, “What do I want? To shock people, to force them to think. What I make is very much connected to contemporary art … Young people, they don’t have any memories.”
Till July 19, 2015
3 rue Léonce Reynaud, 75116
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
The extraordinary show that has dazzled over a million visitors worldwide, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk arrives in in the designer’s hometown with a special edition.
One of the longest-enduring icons of fashion, Jean Paul Gaultier is considered the original bad boy of Paris street fashion. The exhibition covers his incredible success, from haute couture to pret a porter. The multimedia show includes sketches, archives, stage costumes, film footage, fashion shows, concerts, video clips, dance and television shows.
Till August 3
Grand Palais, les Galeries Nationales
3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008
Déboutonner la Mode
Loic Allo is beyond crazy about buttons. The new exhibition Déboutonner la Mode is a collection of over 3,000 buttons Allo has gathered over a number of decades. It tells the history and importance of buttons in fashion, starting with the 1800s and continuing to the present day. Artisans including embroiderers, glass makers, ceramicists, jewelers and silversmiths producing exquisite buttons are represented in the show, and many artist and sculptors, including Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Sonia Delaunay, and Jean Arp, designed exclusive collections of button for fashion houses. The upstairs level of the exhibition covers the 20th century and the rise of button usage with designers such as Chanel, Dior, Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli, Mme Grès, Givenchy, Balmain, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Yves Saint Laurent.
Don’t miss Allo’s book Boutons with a forward by Hubert Givenchy sold in the gift shop.
Till July 19
Musée des Arts Decoratifs
107 rue de Rivoli, 75001