Olivier Saillard curates Anatomy of a Collection, an exhibition running until 16 October at Palais Galliera Musée de la mode in Paris. Saillard is probably one of the most innovative and brilliant French fashion curators at the moment.
Ranging from Marie-Antoinette’s corset to Tilda Swinton’s pyjama suit, the exhibition features significant pieces pulled from the Galliera collection, illustrating the evolution of fashion and politics from the 18th century to the present day. The point of view is historical, social and very intelligent.
“When people’s wardrobes enter the collections of fashion museums, these sensations are magnified and institutionalised. The garment, evidence of the passage of time and vanished moments, gains heritage status, acquires historical, social and artistic value. Henceforth, it will never be worn by anyone or be subject to the slightest movement; it will never be exposed to daylight. Its status has changed; it has become a work. The object, so ordinary that one had ended up forgetting it, has been made sacred.” said Laurent Cotta in the exhibition catalogue.
Highlights include an Van Gogh’s Docteur Gachet’s wife wedding dress, Yves Saint Laurent jumpsuit worn by Betty Catroux, Napoleon’s waistcoat, an iconic dress and bonnet by Jean Paul Gaultier – autumn-winter 1984, collection “Barbès”, one of Empress Josephine’s dresses, a dress belonging to George Sand, Sarah Bernhardt’s cape, a Zouave’s colourful uniform, a surrealist shoe-hat worn by Gala and designed by Schiaparelli, in collaboration with Salvador Dalí obviously, a Givenchy two-piece dress worn by Audrey Hepburn, a dress worn by the Duchess of Windsor and many more treasures from the museum’s fantastic archives.