#ParisRefashioned at The Museum at FIT // Trench coats by Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) and Courregès
Striving to rival stylistic counterparts London and New York, Paris reinvents "fashion" in a post-World War 2 economy. Between 1957 and 1968, an emergence of fresh designers capitalizing on pop culture's influence--and answering the demand of prêt-a-porter--begins to alter the Parisian trademark of haute couture. Coinciding with Paris Fashion Week, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) fêtes the opening of its latest endeavor Paris Refashioned: 1957-1968. Reaching into collection archives, FIT Museum curator Colleen Hill conjures a surprisingly respectable exhibit of clothing by French designers changing the fashion climate at the time. Keep reading for a look inside...
Introductory Gallery: Christian Dior "Trapeze" dress (by Yves Saint Laurent) - 1958
1957--the year marking the passing of Christian Dior--is the starting point of #ParisRefashioned. As guests descend into a dimly lit introductory gallery, haute couture garments and accessories from 1957 to 1960 surround. Yves Saint Laurent's "trapeze" dress and Cristóbal Balenziaga's "Baby Doll" dress take center stage as prime examples of how French couture houses transition into an era where haute designers begin presenting both couture and casual collections.
Couture gowns by celebrated French designers
A thoughtfully crafted set by Ackert Architects stages the main gallery space to "suggest [both] building edifices and dressing room screens" (Colleen Hill); jagged platforms, grid-like partitions and colored lighting divide mannequins like boutiques along a Parisian street. Eighty ensembles and accessories from 1961 to 1968 are styled in an almost indistinguishable blend of couture and prêt-a-porter. Curator Colleen Hill notes, "Both galleries include work from several of the same designers, emphasizing the evolution of their styles during this vital eleven-year period."
[L-first 2 ensembles] Mme Grés -1964 // [M-L] Gérard Pipart for Nina Ricci evening dress - 1965 // [M-R] Karl Lagerfeld evening dress -1967
The exhibit focuses on the evolution of emerging designers--the likes of Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and André Courrèges--and their early experiences with established fashion houses. Hubert de Givenchy and Cristóbal Balenciaga worked closely together (but never for each other) and the similarity of their collections are apparent. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin both designed for Christian Dior before launching their own namesake labels. Gaby Aghion of Chloe is considered the pioneer of luxury ready-to-wear for French women; she employed a host of esteemed designers upon establishing the Chloé label in 1952 including Karl Lagerfeld, Gérard Pipart (designer for Nina Ricci) and Michèle Rosier (founder of V de V). All of the showcased French designers ultimately mature into the recognizable ateliers whose status has peaked in the modern era.
[L] Orange Chloé ensemble
Exhibit favorites include a red Chanel suit with tulip pockets and a hand-painted dress by a young Karl Lagerfeld. Space age designs by Courrèges and Cardin exemplify the influence of a Cold War era. The iconic yellow and white striped "Op Art" 1966 dress by Emanuelle Khanh exemplify a groundbreaking tailored fit. Yves Saint Laurent's yellow raincoat with wool sleeves stands out purely on account of its vibrant color. The exhibit is ostensibly worth visiting and open until April 15th.
[L] Purple jacket by Pilippe Venet - 1963 // [R] Powder blue jacket by Cristobal Balenciaga - 1963
[M] Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche raincoat (yellow vinyl + wool) and peacoat [R] - 1966
Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche -1968
Installation view from the front
[L] Pierre Cardin - 1967 // [R] Daniel Hechter Brown Leather coat - 1968
YSL, Pierre Cardin Couture, Paco Rabanne
[L] YSL Suit // [M] Courregès orange pantsuit - 1966
Prêt-a-porter...edgy, striped and modular
Suiting and dresses
Installation view from the back