Monday, March 31, 2014

Fashion in the Museum: Dries van Noten Inspirations

 "I make clothes people can wear; I don't make art. There is no point to clothes that don't sell."
                          Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten Garden Inspirations
Where does the spark of inspiration come from? For Dries Van Noten, the sources of inspiration seem to be as varied as the multitudes of flowers that fill his garden (both real and imagined).

The exhibition Dries Van Noten: Inspirations at the Musée Les Art Decoratifs offers a sensory immersion into the designer's oeuvre by presenting his garments alongside a selection of objects that he has either used or linked to his work. Those objects are varied and include paintings, film, video, sculptures, as well as garments from the museum fashion archives including selections by Christian Dior, Elsa Schiaparelli, Thierry Mugler, Paul Poiret, Callot Soeurs, and Chanel.

Dries van Noten Inspirations, Gallery Shot 
The room is very dark and labelling is minimal, but is provided in both French and English.

Dries van Noten Inspirations, Gallery Shot
Some of the artworks presented in the exhibition included:

Gorden Anthony Portrait of Cecil Beaton in costume (1937)
Nick Cave  Bunny Boy video
Yves Klein Blue Venus (1966)
Elizabeth Peyton Silver Bosie (1998)
John Singer Sargent Portrait of Gabriel Faure (1889)
Kees van Dongen Portrait of Madame Jasmy Alvin (1925)
Anthony van Dyck Portrait of a Man (XVIII century)
Victor Vassely Opus III (1976)
Li Xiaofeng's Porcelain Lacoste Polo (2010)

John Singer Sargent Painting of Gabriel Faure from 1889 in "Foppish" Gallery
The exhibit is a joyful exploration of a living designer's work, offering visual links between inspiration and product.  It was evident to me that Dries van Noten's garments are unique garments that are reflective of a post-modern design sensibility that dips in and out of time, mashing up imagery, silhouettes, textures and styles into a unique pastiche for the modern man and woman. 

Dries Van Noten Inspirations, Garden Gallery
Exhibition Summary: 

What: 180 garments by designer Dries Van Noten + 100 other artifacts (paintings, sculptures, videos and other objects) juxtaposed to showcase the links between inspiration and garment.

Where: Musée des Arts Decoratifs; 107 rue de Rivoli, Paris.

Curated by: Pamela Gobelin in conjunction with Dries Van Noten

Premise: Seeking connections between the garments created by Dries Van Noten and the inspirational spark that fuelled his creative process, including paintings, film, video, and the work of other designers such as Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Jeanne Lanvin, Elsa Schiaparelli, Charles Frederick Worth.

Organization: Thematic. Displays are grouped into galleries with titles like Gold, Graphic, Uniform, Foppish, Iconoclast, The Garden

Mannequins: Abstracted mannequin forms in black with no faces or hair. Many have articulated wooden arms with hands.

Displays: Behind glass cases with lighting emphasizing the forms.

When: March 1st to August 31st, 2014.

Price: 8 Euros (Advance tickets available online). 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fashion in the Museum: Upcoming exhibitions for Spring 2014

There can be no doubt that fashion exhibitions are in fashion, and the list of upcoming exhibitions of fashion in the museum is long.  I've highlighted some the exhibits that I am keen to see in spring 2014. 

Charles James Gowns photographed by Cecil Beaton, 1948

Charles James: Beyond Fashion
May 5 - August 10, 2014
Curators: Harold Koda and Jan Glier Reeder
Premise: “Charles James was a wildly idiosyncratic, emotionally fraught fashion genius who was also committed to teaching. He dreamt that his lifetime of personal creative evolution and the continuous metamorphosis of his designs would be preserved as a study resource for students.  In our renovated galleries, we will fulfill his goal and illuminate his design process as a synthesis of dressmaking, art, math, and science.” (Harold Koda) 
On display: 75 notable garments created by James from 1920 until his death in 1978
Exhibition Catalogue link here

Cover of Dries van Noten - Inspirations
Dries van Noten -- Inspirations
March 1 - August 31, 2014
Curator: Pamela Gobelin
Premise: "about everything that sparks the creative process" (Pamela Gobelin) 
On display: 150 garments paired with 200 artworks, photographs, film clips "that have triggered the designer’s imagination throughout his life and career"
Exhibition Catalogue link here

Cover of Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography
Papier glacé or A Century of Fashion Photography at Conde Nast
March 1st to May 25, 2014
Curated by: Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis. 
Premise: thematically considers the links between photographers that have shaped the images of Vogue magazine
On display: 150 original prints from leading fashion photographers from 1918 to today plus 15 ensembles of haute couture from the Palais Galliera
Exhibition link here

Cover of Elegance in a Time of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s
Elegance in a Time of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s 
February 7 - April 19, 2014
Curator: FIT Deputy Director Patricia Mears and special consultant G. Bruce Boyer
Premise: "how clothing creators of the 1930s, despite the crippling financial crisis and dire political environment, spearheaded new stylistic ideas and wed them to emerging technologies"
On display:  Womenswear and menswear from the 1930s
Online exhibition link here
Exhibition link here