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BACK SIDE Dos à la Mode

Show at Musée Bourdelle opens on 5th July.


As Fashion Museum Galliera is closed for renovation, the temporary venue is at Bourdelle Sculpture Museum in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.

2 Juillet 2019 - 15:37
     

BACK SIDE - Dos à la Mode : Show at Musée Bourdelle opens on 5th July.
BACK SIDE - Dos à la Mode : Show at Musée Bourdelle opens on 5th July.

Usually society is obsessed by faces and fashion by the frontal view of clothes, here the difference is that the rear décolleté of outfits is in the spotlight

Alexandre Samson, curator of the show, explained that the history of fashion attributes the nouvel view of the reversed décolleté to Rita de Acosta Lydig. This mondaine personality of the Belle Epoque in New York had such an exceptionally ravishing back that she invented the plunging rear décolleté, until the waist of her evening wear, to emphasize her extraordinary style.

The curator chose to spotlight how the sensuality of the reversed décolleté evolved from the late 18th century to the first two decades of the early 21st century. More than a hundred outfits and accessories from the rich material archives of Palais Galliera are displayed, completed by photos, films or videos. Many of the outfits are juxtaposed with sculptures by Antoine Bourdelle featuring muscular backs and slender profiles.

The exhibition begins in the great hall of the master sculptor's plasterwork and continues through the atelier of the 20th century sculptor into the contemporary extension of the museum by Portzamparc.

The mise-en-scene by Jean-Julien Simonot places outfits on podiums of different heights, respecting the architechtural aspects of the museum and the predominant colours of white, black and grey. Notable is the absence of glass display cases and the use of mirrors reflecting the clothes.

The exhibition is divided into several sections commencing in the Hall of Plasterwork

The hall of plasterwork of the sculptor Bourdelle is dominated by colossal statues, next to which creations of five contemporary fashion designers are featured. Characterized by unusual adornments of the back, these include a Givenchy gown by Claire Waight Keller, a dress by The Row or an outfit by Martine Sitbon. The five reveal unexpected humour in their approach to fashion, nudity and motifs.

The Painting Atelier of the artist contains sculptured fashion similiar to armour, a more anatomic approach (three dimensional aspect) or metamorphosis of the human form is displayed. Here visitors can admire the famous Rose Corset created by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy in 2000.

The actual Atelier of Bourdelle is dedicated to trail-blazing Japanese creator Rai Kawakubo. Garments are embellished with unusual proturberances on hips or back: a reference to the famous Spring Collection of Rai Kawakubo in 1997. This particular Comme des Garçons collection featured varying proturberances wrapped in Pink Vichy material placed on the clothes, a historical reference to how fashion evolved, and again a reference to the three dimensional aspect of fashion creation.

The following space of the Polychrome Hall contains an installation of expressions concerning the Language of the Back in French, English, Italian, Spanish and Japanese, expressions which are mostly negative.
As an example in French - dos au mur (not being able to face a situation) and so forth. The installation faces the sculpture of the Dying Centaur (1914) by Bourdelle.

The Portzamparc annex contains three sections :

1. Absence of the Rear where 79 videos of Spring Fashion 2019 with 3542 silhouettes do not display any hints of the three dimensionality of the garments. The human body wearing these clothes is not shown with the details of the back and side of the creations.

2. The Wake of the Rear with outfits featuring trains or other prolongations of the rear décolleté, used to emphasis the social importance of the wearer at big society weddings - the appendages were an important feature of formal wear. Spanish Cristobal Balenciage was a master of such details.

3. An entire section devoted to famous fashion photographer Jeanloup Sieff's View of the Back of Outfits and models featuring the portfolio of the French photographer. His black and white work between 1960 and 1990 was entitled 'Back is Beautiful' and focused on the neck to the heel of his photographic subjects. The poster of the show features Eve from behind, Kim Islinksi (Top and skirt Martine Sitbon) published in New York in 1997.


Musée Bourdelle
18, rue Antoine Bourdelle, 75015 Paris

Métro 4, 6, 12, 13 metro station Montparnasse-Bienvenue
Bus 28, 58, 82, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96 Montparnasse
Tel : + 33 (01) 49 54 73 73
It is open from tuesday to sunday from 10h to 18h
Closed on Mondays and important holidays
The exhibition runs from 5th July until 17th November 2019
A catalogue under the direction of A. Samson is available
Editions Paris Musées, priced at 35 €.
 



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