Have you ever dreamed of being part of any couture house’s process? This 2020 is assuredly the year to offer you the opportunity to explore the universe and the methods of several fashion stars, through different retrospectives of their artworks, presented in the crème of Parisian museums.
From the high heel shoes of Christian Louboutin running through the Palais de la Porte Dorée, passing by the countless pages of the Harper’s Magazine to turn in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, until the combined exhibition of the fashion creations of the two mentors, Azzedine Alaïa and Balenciaga, in the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation, you would have a real patchwork sightseeing, in order to leave a footprint for your spring. By Alexis Lery
Between February 26th and July 26th, 2020, the Palais de la Porte Dorée presents an exhibition, L’Exhibitioniste dedicated to the work and imagination of the Louboutin shoes designer, a fashion key figure. Divided into ten chapters, the exhibition‘s route covers nearly thirty years of its career. Thus, you may explore all the facets of his inspiration with multiple references, in a place, dear to this creator, and which even saw the birth of his vocation. Unveiling the inspirations and creative process of the French stylist Christian Louboutin, this retrospective exhibition about his artwork, will stage the creator’s vision through some of the most precious works from his personal collection as well as loans from public collections (photo credits: Alexis Lery).
There you would find a wide selection of his mythical high heel shoes presented in different designed spaces, including many models never exhibited until now. Indeed, you would be undoubtedly amazed by the huge selection of those heritage and artistic pieces of art! All are exhibited alongside numerous exclusive collaborations that would underline Louboutin‘s attachment to a certain French luxury savoir-faire and artistic crafts, such as stained glassed windows made by the Maison du Vitrail, a Sevillian traditional silver palanquin or another wooden cabaret carved in the pure Bhutan style, acquired by Louboutin himself.
Along your visit, this exhibition will also unveil new projects with some of the artists who are most dear to him, such as director and photographer David Lynch, New Zealand artist Lisa Reihana, English designer duo Whitaker Malem, Spanish choreographer Blanca Li, the Pakistani visual artist Imran Qureshi, and many others…
Born in Paris, Christian Louboutin, was already since a young age, fascinated by the ornamental richness of the Palais de la Porte Dorée, which always nourished his love of art. Then, he developed it from a repertoire of shapes and patterns, that you could easily notice from his first creations, including the Maquereau shoe, made of metallic leather and directly inspired by the iridescence of fishes, omnipresent in the tropical Aquarium, located in the basement of this Art-Deco edifice. From those past passages, where the young Christian Louboutin was seized by a sign, prohibiting the wearing of stilettos, which subsequently inspired the iconic Pigalle shoe and would eventually be reinvented since then.
Palais de la Porte Dorée / 293 Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris (France)
Closer to the Louvre Museum, and on the occasion of the reopening of their fashion galleries, entirely renovated thanks to the patronage of Stephen and Christine Schwarzman, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs immerses you in a large and very illustrated exhibition, until July, 14th 2020, devoted to the famous American fashion Harper’s Bazaar magazine.
In total, sixty Haute Couture and Prêt-À-Porter creations, mainly from the museum’s collections, punctuated by loans of prestigious iconic pieces, are also presented in correspondence with their publication, in this magazine. Launched in 1867 in New York, by the Harper & Brothers, the Harper’s Bazaar entity was ever aimed at educating women in fashion, society, art and literature. Respecting the tradition of European fashion gazettes, this publication presents the originality of a certain commitment to the cause of women. As far as we know their first editor, Mary Louise Booth was an engaged women, since she was both a suffragist, abolitionist and supporter of the Union, during the American Civil War. This passionate character has spilled over into the history of the magazine.
For instance, in the 20th century, Picasso, Cocteau, Matisse were among the many French artists with whom the magazine surrounded itself, for pretty inspired collaborations. The Harper’s Bazaar also devoted a couple of articles to the illustrious American School figures, such as Jackson Pollock, Franck Stella and William Burroughs. This publication also served as a literary review of international scope, which welcomed plenty of writings from those famous authors: Colette, Simone de Beauvoir, Françoise Sagan, Jean Genet, André Malraux, still while paying English writers primary attention, like Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Patricia Highsmith, Truman Capote or even Carson McCullers, wrote in this centenary magazine.
Beyond those editorial contents, you wouldn’t miss the aesthetic aspects of the graphic composition, that ever constituted the richness and the prestige of this revue. From this point of view, a bunch of eyes upcoming from the artworks, realized by notorious photographers and illustrators, who contributed to the Harper’s Bazaar‘s fame, for having highlighted more than a century of fashion. Thus, you may count the work of : Charles-Frederick Worth, Paul Poiret, Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga. All of those fashion players counting part, with their own and unique influence, to the Harper’s Bazaar‘s myth.
Musée des Arts Décoratifs / 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris (France) / Phone : 00 33 (0)1 44 55 57 50
In the heart of the Parisian trendy Marais area, and starting from the January Fashion Week until June 28th, 2020, you could admire timeless fashion masterpieces, as this brand new exhibition, situated in the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation, clearly testifies it. Around 80 silhouettes are presented, for the first time together, highlighting the work of Balenciaga, face to face with the other one of Azzedine Alaia, both extremely equally skilled. From the carefully established archives, over many years by Alaïa, the Balenciaga pieces would be shown in the heart of the Azzedine Alaïa couture house, which today also houses the homonym Azzedine Alaïa Foundation, created to watch over his eternal memory and artwork.
Counting on the visit of the Institut du Monde Arabe president, Jack Lang and the couturier Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, the visitors may have admired, since the premiere, this dialogue freely initiated between the Haute-Couture creations of Azzedine Alaïa, according to a surprising number of shared elements, emanating from two singular creative minds and design processes, that met each other.
This really furnished exhibition would then travel in July 2020, to reach the home town of the Spanish couturier, in the village of Guetaria, where Cristobal Balenciaga was born and which is now home to the Balenciaga Foundation. Then, this exhibition was originally the wish of Hubert de Givenchy. A few months after the death of Azzedine Alaïa, decades after the death of Balenciaga, of whom he was a firm admirer, Givenchy, one of the last great guardians of fashion’s collective memory, had come to speak with the Azzedine Alaïa Foundation about his desire to bring these two great talents together. It is hoped that this original and unprecedented exposition may constitute an affectionate tribute to him.
Fondation Azzedine Alaïa / 18 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris (France) / 00 33 (0)1 87 44 87 75