From scandalous to iconic
> Paris exhibition explores fashion’s shocks and scandals through the ages
The exhibition’s opening section looks at the many “rules” of dress imposed via different means in various historical eras, from the Bible to modern-day makeover shows, to status-related dress codes, such as those for powerful men and women. The wolf whistles and remarks that the French minister for housing, Cécile Duflot, received when she wore a floral dress to speak at the National Assembly in 2012 are the perfect illustration.
While it’s now common to see designers bring menswear garments to womenswear collections, this hasn’t always been the case. The second part of the exhibition delves into fashion’s various gender transgressions, blurring the boundary between menswear and womenswear. In the 1920s, for example, Gabrielle Chanel broke new ground with her simple fussfree suits, drawing on menswear classics. Four decades later, Yves Saint Laurent presented a tuxedo suit for women. These fashion revolutions haven’t always been the subject of praise, raising more than a passing eyebrow when they burst onto the scene. Menswear has also provoked strong reactions over the ages by borrowing feminine twists such as skirts (Jacques Esterel, Jean Paul Gaultier), figure-hugging cuts and makeup.
The show will also look at provocation and excess, exploring garments that were in turn too short, too loose, too transparent, too brightly-coloured, too dark, too scruffy or too tight. From the miniskirt to feathers and fur, skinny-cut trousers and ripped clothes, visitors can relive fashion’s most scandalous creations, and often, by extension, its most groundbreaking evolutions.
The exhibition closes with a roundup of shock catwalk shows from 1980 to 2015, including John Galliano’s spring/summer 2000 collection for Dior inspired by the “homeless look”, and the Rick Owens spring/summer 2015 collection with cutaway tunics revealing the models’ most intimate parts.
“Tenue correcte exigée, quand le vêtement fait scandale” (Appropriate dress required: when clothing causes a scandal) runs Dec 1, 2016, to April 23, 2017, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, France. – AFP Relaxnews
Adonis Bosso, New York City.