A carelessly arranged collection of historic garments fails to live up to its lofty socio-historical claims.
Despite its best efforts, ‘Anatomie d’une Collection’, the Palais Galliera’s ambitious new fashion exhibit, unfortunately falls short of its lofty claims (to trace a history of clothing from the 18th century all the way up to the present day). The collection does, admittedly, offer some real historic treats, such as the corset of Marie-Antoinette, her son Louis XVII’s trousers and the stunning empire dress of Joséphine de Beauharnais. Meanwhile, in what is a clear attempt to represent the trends and styles exhibited by all social classes, the everyday uniforms of unknown wearers, like a nurse’s blouse and various types of work overalls, are cleverly juxtaposed with elegant celebrity outfits belonging to the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Gala Dalí and Brigitte Bardot.
But the curators have missed a trick. Overall, the exhibition space feels rather confined and the clothes as though they’ve been piled one on top of the other, meaning visitors can’t really appreciate each garment as an artwork in itself. In fact, most items are displayed in a way that doesn’t do justice to their individual beauty, and the exhibition comes off all the worse for it.
TRANSLATION: FLORA HUDSON