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The Galliera Museum extends its exhibition programs beyond the walls, at the Docks-cité de la Mode et du Design (Paris, 13th district) where two exhibits are held until October 7th, 2012CRISTÓBAL BALENCIAGA, FASHION COLLECTOR, for the 40th anniversary of the creator’s disappearance, and: Comme des garçons, White Drama, an art installation designed by Rei Kawakubo, inspired by his last Comme des Garçons Spring-Summer 2012 show.


The show features an unpublished, original collection donated to the museum at Balenciaga’s disappearance in 1972. Rare and precious pieces from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries are gathered: more than 70 costumes, embroidery and trimming samples, doll clothes, ceremonial robes and fashion accessories. Along with these pieces, Balenciaga’s couture dresses and coats, personal belongings, pictures and books all reflect the designer’s early passion for fashion and history.

Balenciaga widely collected embroidered shawls, boleros, popular spanish costumes in bright and black-colors, as well as more exotic, Arabic-inspired items.

The show provides an insight on Balenciaga’s artistry: from the creative process and inspirations until the finished product. Each one of the collection’s final pieces is highlighted in a large container, with its inspiration material displayed in drawers.
It shows how, for instance, the 1964 spring-summer bustier dress number 193 (see images below) was inspired from circa late 19th-century, early 20th-century fashion plates.

photos © PeclersParis

A sober, yet luxurious couture spirit infuses from this collection. The style grew over the years, reaching a turning point in 1952 when the spanish designer, untrimming the waistline, decided to strip down clothes and make them more flexible. The style search truly ended in 1967 with the black gazar wedding gown, and the famous minimal, geometric, pyramid hat (see image below), when Balenciaga truly stood out as a precursor of modern fashion.

photo © tendancesdemode.com


A life’s key stages overview 

Olivier Saillard, Director of the Musée Galliera, desired to extend the unforgettable runway show experience beyond the catwalk, beyond the economic system tribulations and its ever shorter production cycles, where podium collections become out of date all too quickly. 

photos © PeclersParis

For this collection Rei Kawakubo, genre-breaker creator, hijacks the couture codes by presenting pure-white, monochrome silhouettes. Dramatizing four stages of life: birth, marriage, death (white in Japan being a death symbol), and transcendence, the Japanese designer superimposes laces, crocheting, organdi veils, blossoming flowers fabric adornment... Thus reviving an unreal, majestic runway show.

Comme des Garçons, White Dramaand Balenciaga, Fashion Collector
Les Docks - Cité de la Mode et du Design
13, Quai d’Austerlitz
75013 PARIS
13 April ‐ 7 October, From Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 6pm.